Cadillac BLS car review by Jason Dawe

26 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Cadillac BLS car review by Jason Dawe
Cadillac BLS

Forget buying a Porsche or a Bentley: if you want to be really exclusive, choose a Cadillac. In March — when registration plates change and the greatest number of new cars are sold — Bentley registered 125 sales in the UK and Porsche, 930. Cadillac managed 11.

What is bad news for Cadillac is good news for buyers in the second-hand market. In 2008 a top-spec Cadillac BLS 2.8T V6 Elegance automatic had a list price of Ј28,000; today you can buy one with 5,000 miles for Ј11,750. And that’s before you start to haggle.

Buyers should note that the Caddy is not really an American car. The BLS is really a Saab 9-3, sharing its under­pinnings with the Swedish car and built on the same production line.

The distinctively styled saloon has decent equipment and a wide choice of petrol and diesel engines. The petrol units, a 2-litre turbo and 2.8-litre V6 turbo, produce 172bhp and 251bhp respectively. Neither is particularly efficient in terms of economy or emissions but the 2.8 V6 does endow the Cadillac with a fair turn of speed — 0-60mph in 6.5sec — if you can live with a fuel economy around the 20mpg mark.

Diesel power comes in the shape of a 1.9-litre unit. Producing 147bhp, the diesel BLS will easily achieve 40mpg and makes for a relaxed motorway cruiser. This is the pick of the bunch.

At launch the BLS was available in three trim levels — SE, Luxury and Sport Luxury. Every model is well equipped, boasting alloys, cruise control, climate control and a decent CD system. The Luxury gets 17in alloys, leather seats and electric front seat adjustment.

Available with only the V6 petrol engine, the Sport Luxury is a rare beast and adds little more than even bigger alloys and an upgraded sound system. Revisions to the range in March last year saw the introduction of an 180bhp version of the 1.9-litre diesel, although this is rare on the used market.

The Cadillac’s shared underpinnings endow it with driving dynamics that are a far cry from American imports of old. The cabin is quiet and the large seats are comfortable, but rear legroom is modest, while the 425-litre boot is identical in size to that of a Saab 9-3. The busy dashboard is pretty much a direct lift from the Saab 9-3.

The Cadillac BLS is not the worst car money can buy but it lacks personality. Neither big and brash nor svelte and sporty like the German premium machinery, it has struggled to find an identity to compete against cars such as the BMW 3-series and the Saab 9-3.

Check the following:-


Not crash-test-rated by Euro NCAP, but the BLS comes with six airbags, active headrests to help prevent whiplash and traction control

Cadillac BLS


Cadillac dealers are scarce and may soon disappear. A good specialist or a Vauxhall/Saab dealer should know the car’s mechanicals well enough to give an adequate standard of service

Timing Belt

Some owners report timing belt failure at about 40,000 miles so get it changed earlier to avoid a potentially large bill for engine damage


Leather upholstery can wear badly and will need cleaning and feeding regularly

Cadillac BLS
Cadillac BLS
Cadillac BLS
Cadillac BLS
Cadillac BLS

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