FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - I've driven lots of curious vehicles on racetracks, but sliding around the high speed Road Atlanta road course in a Cadillac DeVille Concours was a surprise - and not an unpleasant one. Despite its 2-ton bulk, whenever the behemoth was pushed hard, you could feel StabiliTrak keeping the wheels in line. Plus, in the event I did hit something, I knew the OnStar center would notify the rescue crews before the airbags quit smoking.
When the DeVille went to a new platform two years ago, Cadillac cleaned up the last vestiges of the old engineering. Now it is a fully worthy competitor for any foreign product, but Cadillac has dropped the Coupe DeVille and DeVille Touring. The Touring model’s place is now taken by the Concours models with an uprated 300-horsepower Northstar engine.
While certainly improved, those who were expecting something more in the mold of such cars as the BMW/Mercedes/Lexus/Infiniti group will be disappointed. The current DeVille has been created to continue to attract the traditional gentrified Cadillac buyers.
DeVille devoted to traditional buyers
"Our customers are interested in quality American-made automobiles," observes John Smith, who took over last fall as Cadillac general manager and General Motors vice president. "We have found that they are the most discriminating of the luxury car buyers. Many foreign car owners are showing up in our showroom now - a good indication that our quality is on a par with their expectations. Main objective is safety and security, which fits exactly the desires of our buyers. The six-seat DeVille has an 'air bank' rather than just one or two airbags to protect all front seat passengers, a feature unique to GM products."
The standard 275-horsepower DeVille engine is a refined version of the venerable 4.9-liter Cadillac V-8. The Concours’ 32-valve Northstar V-8 is one of the best engines on the market. Not only does it have power, it is smooth and ultimately reliable. The Northstar can run without water (using a computer monitored get-home mode), and no maintenance is required for the first 100,000 miles.