2006 Cadillac Full Line
2006 Cadillac line – resurgence continues with DTS and V-performance
By Vince Bodiford
Cadillac’s “Breakthrough” brand positioning is an understatement. In my view, no automotive brand has achieved what Cadillac has in recent years – a complete product renaissance and extreme makeover of dramatic proportions. All along, Cadillac division’s first and most important objective has been to develop compelling, high-quality vehicles with bold design, breakthrough technology and world-class performance. Where GM may be missing the mark in other areas, Cadillac today is firing on all eight cylinders.
In doing so, Cadillac has re-invented itself and is again living up to its reputation as the “standard of the world,” as many other car brands look to Cadillac as a performance luxury segment leader to follow. For the 2006 model year, the resurgence continues as Cadillac refines its lineup and debuts the all-new DTS, STS-V and XLR-V. The Weekend Drive has seen and driven them all, beginning with the new DTS through the entire line, to the gigantic Escalade ESV Platinum.
DTS is the newest of the original Cadillac passenger cars, the venerable DeVille line that saw the longest product lifecycle of any Cadillac, which the DTS replaces and continues the tradition of symbolizing Cadillac luxury. The new three-letter name designation comes from “Ville Touring Sedan,” and today, the all-new DTS front-wheel drive large luxury sedan features Cadillac-signature exterior styling, a luxurious interior and powerful, refined ride characteristics. It is equipped with the Northstar 4.6L V-8 engine in two configurations and mated to the Hydra-Matic 4T80-E four-speed automatic transmission. The DTS offers a smooth, quiet, refined ride, plentiful comfort, convenience and safety offerings and helps reinforce Cadillac’s long-standing reputation for safe occupant environments in premium vehicles.
On the subject of professional cars, DTS and other Cadillac products have long been the first choice among limousine coachbuilders worldwide due to their luxury, stout construction and reliability. Cadillac itself manufactured factory limousines for years, turning the segment over to coachbuilders in the 1980’s, with many top Cadillac dealers today offering everything from funeral coaches, hearses, flower cars, limousines – to executive and livery vehicles. An interesting and fascinating look at the Cadillac professional car products can be found at this link.
RIVALS: Lincoln Town Car, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8, Lexus LS430, Jaguar XJ, Infinity Q45.
IN MY GARAGE: I owned two DeVille’s over the years; 1976 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, powder blue, white landau top; 1973 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, restoration project, navy blue.
STS and STS-V found its original brand-DNA from the icon that is Seville. So, this is the replacement to the Seville Touring Sedan, thus STS. The all-new Cadillac STS luxury performance sedan delivers precision craftsmanship, outstanding performance and sophisticated luxury in a distinctly American package. For 2006, the STS receives several enhancements. All-wheel drive becomes available on the V-6 models. Bose 5.1 Studio Surround Sound with Navigation is now standard on the V-8 1SE package. In addition, STS has three new exterior colors.
The STS-V carries the craftsmanship and sophistication of its STS sibling, but at an entirely different level. Designed for everyday driving, the STS-V delivers supercharged, rear-drive performance with an elegant design statement that is unmistakably Cadillac.
Its 4.4L supercharged, dual overhead cam Northstar engine produces 469 horsepower at 6400 rpm and 430 lb.-ft. of torque at 3600 rpm (power and torque estimated). Numerous interior and exterior design changes brand it as one of the V-Series performance models.
RIVALS: Lincoln LS, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Lexus GS430, Acura RL, Infinity M35/45, Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Jaguar S-Type.
IN MY GARAGE: I owned a beautiful red-cedar (a metallic copper color) 1979 Cadillac Seville.
XLR and XLR-V could be described as a Corvette in a tuxedo, sporting a dynamic design and advanced technology has brought a striking new presence to the automotive spectrum. A luxury roadster with performance car roots, XLR underscores its visual statement with a performance-oriented chassis and structure, and a 4.6L Northstar V-8 VVT (variable valve timing) rear-wheel drive engine. This combination makes it the lightest, most powerful vehicle in its class.
For 2006, an adaptive forward lighting system, a first-time application for Cadillac, improves night driving vision. In addition, XM Satellite Radio with hidden antenna is now a standard feature on all 2006 XLR models. The center stack includes more wood detail in the areas surrounding the CD opening and HVAC. Gold Mist and Infrared exterior paint colors replace Satin Nickel and Crimson Pearl.
The 2006 Cadillac XLR-V ultra-luxury, high-performance roadster sets new standards in power, performance and personal amenities, combining distinctive, bold styling with contemporary luxury, ingenious technology and rear-wheel drive performance.
Powered by the fire-breathing supercharged Northstar V-8 SC, the XLR-V produces 440 horsepower at 6400 rpm and 425 lb.-ft. torque at 3600 rpm – and the engine’s power is underscored by its ability to deliver 90 percent of its peak torque between 2200 and 6000 rpm. To put that into perspective – that’s just a few horsepower less than the all-new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 – which this car shares some underlying architecture.
RIVALS: (Luxury Roadsters), Mercedes-Benz SL, Lexus SC430, Jaguar XK.
For 2006, the CTS features a new 18-Inch Sport Performance Package and 18-Inch Sport Appearance Package with performance tires and polished nine-spoke wheels; new performance brakes; revised suspension tuning and more. Also, for the first time, Driver Shift Control will be standard on all 2006 CTS models with automatic transmission. The shifter has been specifically designed for precise shifter feel and responsive inputs to commanded shifts. In addition, the power sunroof will now be standard equipment.
The first V-Series vehicle, the CTS-V offers high-performance driving enthusiasts a serious, credible alternative to imports in the highly competitive, low-volume luxury performance segment.
For 2006, four-door, rear-wheel drive CTS-V receives a new engine, the overhead valve 6.0L V-8 LS2 engine (replacing the LS6). It produces the same 400 horsepower and 395 lb.-ft. of torque, and I’m pleased to say my test vehicle achieved 0-60 mph in a blistering 4.6 seconds. It does the quarter mile in 13.10 seconds at 109 mph. Ah hem… or so I’ve read.
RIVALS: Lincoln Zephyr, BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus IS300, Infinity G-sedan, Acura TL, Jaguar X-Type.
SRX is the Cadillac that commands consideration by anyone in the market for a premium mid-sized luxury SUV. It delivers performance and flexibility in a distinctive package. Its smooth, nimble handling and cargo-carrying ability combine to create a utility vehicle that drives like a sports sedan. For 2006, SRX features several enhancements, including a standard power rear liftgate; low step-over for easier vehicle exiting and an enhanced optional interior package with wood on the center stack. Also new is Cashmere interior and new exterior colors including Stealth Grey, Radiant Bronze, Blackberry and Infrared. My pick for color in this beauty is triple-black with the big wheels in chrome.
Speaking of big wheels, restyled and very cool 17-inch and 18-inch wheels have an aggressive design with six exposed lugs and prominent wreath and crest center cap.
RIVALS: BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz ML-Class, Lexus RX330, Acura MDX, Infinity FX35/45.
Escalade is the big daddy of them all – the original premium luxury SUV and the brand that defined the whole segment, to which nearly every other brand aspires to become. Now an icon, Cadillac is not resting on its reputation and continues to improve and add value to Escalade. This translates to more “bling.”
The Escalade (the shorter of the two SUV types) symbolizes Cadillac’s commitment to bold, breakthrough products. But perhaps more importantly, it has served as a beacon for new buyers into the division and a symbol of Cadillac’s revitalization.
Its bold design is instantly recognizable as a Cadillac, and its Vortec 6000 6.0L V-8 achieves 345 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 380 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm. The Escalade is fundamentally unchanged for 2006.
Escalade EXT. Like Escalade, the Escalade EXT sport utility truck (SUT) has exposed the division to new generations and categories of buyers who might not have considered Cadillac in the past. Again, this product defined the segment with some followers in the mix. It’s important to understand what this vehicle is all about, and what it is not. It is by no means a heavy-duty Silverado pickup. Instead, it’s an “estate” vehicle that offers up the ability to cart something bulky while offering all its passengers the full entrée of Cadillac luxury.
The most ridiculous auto review I ever read was in that awful Ann Arbor based car buff magazine about the EXT – and the imbecile editor tried unsuccessfully to load a horse in the cargo bay – thereby permitting a thrashing of it as not being a “serious” truck. What a damn fool. Cadillac (nor any other truck maker for that matter) ever said you could load a horse in a pickup bed. In fact, horses go in trailers. And if you happen to have a horse trailer – tandem-axle and air conditioning and all – this Escalade will tow it just fine.
For 2006, two refinements improve the Escalade EXT. First, an optional power sliding tonneau cover opens and closes at a touch of a button. It covers the bed and replaces the three rigid manual tonneau covers that I never liked in the first place. This is a much better setup. Also new is a sliding load floor, which holds about 1,000 pounds of cargo (late introduction). Together these two new features make for huge improvements in the convenience of the cargo carrying ability of this world-class estate vehicle.
EXT is powered by the Vortec 6000 6.0L V-8 that cranks out 345 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 380 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm. The engine links to the Hydra-Matic 4L65-E heavy-duty electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive.
Escalade ESV. We’ve tested the Escalade ESV and Platinum models and I must say, I simply love this vehicle. This comes from my long affinity with Suburban and my inherent passion for Cadillac. When the two came together in this vehicle, I had found my el dorado.
This is as big and as good as it gets in the Cadillac lineup, and the ESV has strongly positioned Cadillac in the large luxury SUV market. Combining power, size and strength with trademark Cadillac styling and technology, the full-size Escalade ESV complements its siblings, the Escalade and Escalade EXT.
Like the EXT, the ESV’s Vortec 6000 6.0L V-8 engine pumps out 345 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 380 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm. That’s more than enough power to handle steep grades or a heavily weighted two-horse trailer, big boat or camping trailer.
Cadillac also has created the ultimate full-size luxury SUV with the Escalade ESV Platinum Edition, featuring a lavish but sophisticated interior, along with power, technology and a new level of sophistication. The Platinum Edition is at the absolute pinnacle of full-size luxury SUV’s. Like all the Escalade line, ESV is essentially unchanged for the 2006 model year.
RIVALS: Lincoln Navigator, Lincoln Mark LT (to Escalade EXT), Mercedes-Benz G500, Ranger Rover HSE, Lexus LX470, Acura QX.
IN SUMMARY, I have never tried to hide my affection for Cadillac. I’ll be the first to point out that they have seen their good years, and their bad years. I can however say that the bad years are behind them, and you are today living in the second Golden Era of Cadillac. It hasn’t been this good for many decades. If you’ve previously written Cadillac off, it’s time to give a serious look at their products today.
VEHICLE PRICINGBase MSRP for Cadillac models and a wide variety of equipment options vary, see Cadillac website or dealer for specific options and pricing.
For pricing, options, more information and to locate your nearest Cadillac dealer, visit www.cadillac.com