Cadillac BLS Accessories

Cadillac BLS Survey

The BLS is Cadillac's attempt at a medium-sized saloon. It's actually built in the same factory as (and shares many components with) the Saab 9-3, which itself has plenty in common with the Vauxhall Vectra. So despite the all-American name it is developed for European tastes. The styling is distinctive and it's certainly a good choice if you want to stand out from the crowd, while equipment levels are generous too. But there's little else to recommend the BLS. It's dull to drive, looks and feels dated inside with some flimsy switchgear while Cadillac's dealer network is very limited in size. So while the price tag puts it alongside the likes of the BMW 3-Series, the quality and driving experience falls way short.

There are five engine choices in the BLS (all borrowed from the Saab 9-3) starting with the 1.9 D - available in two outputs of 150bhp and 180bhp. It's a fairly refined diesel which is quite punchy with decent in-gear pace while economy is good on both. Surprisingly the more powerful unit is actually more efficient and is capable of 50mpg. The 2.0T petrol is (as the badge suggests) a turbocharged unit and is offered in two outputs of either 175bhp or 210bhp - the more powerful version manages the 0-62mph sprint in 7.7 seconds and is an enjoyable engine to exploit, with a smooth and predictable power delivery. The range topping engine is the 2.8T V6 with 255bhp which sounds wonderful thanks to a distinctive engine note and burbling exhaust.

Cadillac BLS WheelsThe standard gearbox on all models is a six-speed manual, but while precise it lacks feel. An automatic transmission is available as an option - it's a six-speed unit on the diesels and 2.8T V6 and a five-speed on the rest of the range. The BLS is a front-wheel drive car (unlike the larger CTS) but it's capable of comfortably covering ground at a decent pace. However it is far happier as a motorway cruiser and makes easy work of even relatively long journeys. That's because on more demanding and twisty roads it's weaknesses become all too evident - there's too much bodyroll and the steering lacks feel and precision. The pay off for this soft suspension is a very smooth ride and an ability to iron out rough roads.

The top of the range Sport Luxury model has a slightly firmer suspension set-up than the rest of the range but this does little to address the Cadillac's shortcomings in corners. With a generally good ride and lots of interior space the BLS is a comfortable car and good over long distances. It's dimensions are the same as the Saab 9-3 which means good room for front passengers, but a slightly more cramped space for those in the back, with limited legroom for taller passengers. The front seats offer plenty of adjustment (electrically on Luxury and Sport Luxury models) and noise levels are low too. Like the Saab 9-3, the BLS is available as a saloon or estate - but there's no hatchback. Despite that there is a decent amount of luggage space with 425-litres of space - unsurprisingly this is identical to the Saab.

Cadillac BLS ExhaustThe rear seats also have a 60/40 split for added practicality and there are two useful levers in the boot to fold the rear seats down. The BLS launched with three trim levels - SE, Luxury and Sport Luxury. The SE is fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels, climate control, cruise control, electric windows and door mirrors, a seven speaker CD system with an auxiliary input, armrests front and rear and steering wheel-mounted controls for the cruise controls and stereo. The Luxury model adds 17-inch alloys, fog lights and rain sensing wipers, leather trim, dual zone climate control, electric adjustment for driver and front passenger seats and heated front seats. The Sport Luxury model has 18-inch alloys and sports suspension, a Bose branded stereo system with nine speakers and a six-CD autochanger, auto dimming rearview mirrors inside and out and rear parking sensors.

From February 2008 the Sport Luxury specification became standard and was renamed Elegance. The only options on this model are metallic and a sunroof. This is where the Saab influence is most obvious. The BLS basically uses the same interior as the 9-3, albeit with some minor alterations including different dials, steering wheel and a restyled centre console. Unfortunately the layout is drab and doesn't feel particularly sophisticated or tactile. Quality is very good (again thanks to the Saab involvement) and finding a comfortable driving position is easy thanks to outstandingly supportive seats with plenty of adjustment and a multi-position steering wheel. The BLS is closely related to the Saab 9-3 and Vauxhall Vectra, so in theory it should match them in terms of safety - as a guide the Saab received the maximum five star rating while the Vauxhall was awarded four stars.