Cadillac BLS Estate: Test Drive
12 November 2007
|Category:|| Upper medium|
|Key rival:|| Saab 9-3 Sportwagon |
It's fair to say, that in terms of sales, the launch of Cadillac's BLS has been somewhat low-key. So the arrival of the first-ever Cadillac estate car could help give it a nudge in the right direction, even if bosses are expecting less than 500 units sold next year across saloon and estate, the latter accounting for 40% of volume.
One of the BLS' trump cards is its styling, which in saloon form is seen by many as among the best in the prestige end of the upper medium market. The estate enhances that from most angles, even if the rising window line along the side of the car does leave a bit too much metal, giving it the slabbier look of a larger car. From the rear, however, the BLS wagon looks the part, especially at night where the classy thin horizontal taillights work specifically well.
And it's a good job that the BLS Wagon is a looker, because, seats up at least, it actually has a smaller load area than the saloon, by six litres at 419, although it's obviously more usable thanks to the large tailgate. Seats down, the space extends to 1285 litres. The boot features a handy folding floor that effectively splits it in two to stop half-loads rolling around.
We sampled the BLS with the range's new engine, a 180PS 1.9 two-stage turbodiesel unit also, unsurprisingly, heading for Saab's 9-3. However, vibrations and harshness resonates back through the cabin - it was a surprise to find quite how noisy it was - although performance is adequate given the large power output. The CO2 figures of 175g/km aren't up with the best engines of this power, either.
The BLS Wagon is very similar to its saloon sibling. The plus points include scarcity and therefore car park exclusivity, good looks and decent kit levels. The flip side is below average driving dynamics, below average refinement and some poor interior plastics, as well as worries over residual values.