As the 1990s trundled along, it was soon clear that the traditional players in the luxury sedan market, Cadillac, BMW and Mercedes-Benz (among others) were no longer comfortably alone, free to treat the market as their own. Newcomers, in the form of Lexus and Infinity, started to crowd them in and something needed to be done to preserve market shares. Of course, Cadillac was the most vulnerable of the bunch, because of its lower build quality and the fact that they were generally huge, a massive (no pun intended) impediment to export. Then came the 1998 Cadillac STS. It was designed specifically to be more export-friendly, being shorter and all, and powered by a truly exceptional engine.
The Cadillac STS was powered by a 4.6-liver, 32-valve V8 engine, named ‘Northstar’, which could pump out an impressive 305 horsepower. These were delivered to the front wheels (yes, the FRONT wheels!) through a necessarily rugged 4-speed automatic transmission. At the time, the Cadillac STS was one of the most powerful front-wheel-drive vehicles ever produced and sold.
The Cadillac STS did not match up to its competition in terms of handling at speed – it needed a little bit more fine-tuning to be in the same league as BMW or Mercedes, but if you were up for it, you could reach a top speed of 152 mph, and accelerate to 60 in less than 7 seconds, both more than respectable numbers for such a big, comfortable car.