More BLS news…BLS Wagon announced

BLSWagonRearIn a move that has the anti-BLS crowd (Saabophiles, mainly) fuming…Cadillac has announced another variant of the Epsilon (Saab 9-3, Pontiac G6, Saturn Aura, Opel Vectra, Chevy Malibu) based BLS – a wagon.

Built alongside the 9-3 in Sweden, the BLS wagon shares a bit of the styling of the recent 9-3 SportCombi wagon, but with a definite Cadillac look. In fact, like the sedan, it is amazing that GM was able to make the changes as profound as they are – styling-wise.

This move is likely intended to help drive what has been, to date, slow BLS sales.

BLSWagonFrontInterestingly, Cadillac is claiming this to be the first wagon in Cadillac’s history. Its success will certainly play into their decision to build or not build a CTS wagon (which would be targeted mainly at the Euro-market.
DETROIT – Cadillac reinforced its commitment to grow its brand in Europe by announcing it will add the BLS Wagon to its portfolio later this year.

“The Cadillac BLS Wagon is an appealing addition to the Cadillac portfolio for customers preferring dramatically designed luxury vehicles that offer versatility and performance along with outstanding ride and handling characteristics,” said Cadillac General Manager Jim Taylor. “This is the first Cadillac wagon in our 104-year history, and we think it will do well in many European markets where consumers desire a high degree of versatility and functionality in their performance luxury vehicles.”

Cadillac signature style

Clear, clean, crisp and sharply defined contours are Cadillac design signatures. An international team of designers, under the leadership of Ed Welburn, GM vice president of Global Design, created a BLS Wagon with a striking wedge shape that is emphasised by the tapered lines of the side windows.

“The whole team was very excited to apply Cadillac’s design language to a wagon for the first time,” said Welburn. “The V-shaped chrome-plated grille, a Cadillac hallmark, is picked up again by the shape of the rear window, and the body side character lines make it unmistakably a Cadillac.”

The BLS Wagon also features jewel-like headlamps, fog lamps integrated into the body-colored bumper and a wide air intake below the grille. A narrow chrome strip runs along the side windows and the latest LED technology is used in the centre high-mounted stop lamp, which is prominently positioned in the rear spoiler. Vertical taillamps, another Cadillac hallmark, play a prominent role in defining the elegant rear proportions of the BLS Wagon.

Luxurious, flexible interior and state-of-the-art infotainment systems

The BLS Wagon interior is highlighted by a three-spoke leather steering wheel and an analog clock in the centre stack. The circular instruments have white numerals and red needles on a black background.

Flexibility and versatility define the rear seats and cargo area, which are designed to support a wide variety of luxury and leisure interests.

State-of-the-art infotainment systems include high-quality audio units from American sound specialist Bose, among others; a DVD navigation system with touch-screen operation; a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone system with a hands-free kit; and remote controls on the steering wheel.

Turbocharged diesel and turbocharged gasoline engines

The front-wheel-drive BLS Wagon is offered with a turbo-diesel and three turbocharged gasoline engines. The 1.9L four-cylinder diesel engine, with common-rail direct-injection technology, is fitted with a maintenance-free particulate filter and delivers 110 kW (150 hp) of power. The range of gasoline engines includes two 2.0L four-cylinder versions (129 kW / 175 hp and 154 kW / 210 hp), and a high-tech, 2.8L V-6 (188 kW / 255 hp) that features a twin-scroll turbocharger and variable phasing of the intake camshafts.

The BLS Wagon offers six-speed manual transmissions and five- or six-speed automatic transmissions, depending on engine. For BLS models equipped with an automatic transmission, a standard Sport Mode button allows the driver to select a sportier transmission shift pattern.

Comfort and driving dynamics

The chassis, which features MacPherson struts in front and a four-link rear axle, is designed to provide the agility customers expect from a luxury wagon. The chassis tuning ensures dynamic handling performance without compromising comfort and load capacity.

Available in Europe in the fourth quarter of 2007

The Cadillac BLS Wagon will be in European Cadillac showrooms in the fourth quarter of 2007.

“The BLS sedan created a significant amount of showroom traffic at Cadillac dealerships across Europe,” said Taylor. “With the new BLS Wagon, we intend to build on this interest and appeal to customers who are looking for more flexibility to meet their individual lifestyles.”

  • Loveldos

    This car does not look too bad, but it lost alot by not having the C-pillar detail of the Sedan. The roof rails look nice on this particular model. However, I previously posted the following link, and it contains a thoughtful article (although not by one of my favorite automotive critics), and it explains why this model should never have existed:

    http://www.forbes.com/columnists/2006/11/12/cadillac-mercedes-bmw-oped-cz_jf_1114flint.html

  • I’m not a big fan of Flint’s and can’t say that this article really changes my mind either.

    If you take the long-term view, the BLS is going to allow Cadillac to rationalize their products to better match the competition.

    They realize, I think, that the CTS is more of a 5-series competitor (or should be). I fully expect with the 2nd generation BLS, that we’ll see it take the new entry-level, 3-series/C-Class/A4, competitor position. This would allow the CTS to go hunting 5-series/E-class/A6 and the CTS-V to go after the M5’s of the world.

    Then the STS can be moved up-market to be more of an 7-series/S-class/A8 type of car.

    The only issue would be if the BLS could be a credible competitor to the 3-Series, etc. if it is based on Epsilon2 (meaning a front-drive chassis w/ all-wheel drive as an option – and likely standard on the BLS).

    I’d rather see GM build the next BLS on the Zeta rear-drive chassis (which is lower cost than the CTS/STS Sigma platform) and therefore a better match to the competition.

    This would also skirt the issue some have with the BLS being too close to a Saab 9-3 in mission (entry-luxury, front drive).

  • Loveldos

    Your comments make many valid points–and I’m definitely not a fan of the author of that article, Flint–but his perspective stuck in my mind from this article several months ago. It seems incredulous that so much money would be spent to “badge engineer” an entry level luxury sedan, with such poor performance in the marketplace. Now, the addition of the “Estate” model made me wonder why GM would put more money into the current BLS, rather than cut their losses and move on towards developing a new, RWD or AWD, entry level platform? It won’t revive sales enough to justify the expense, and with General Motors tight on funds, the new entry-level Cadillac can use all the development dollars it can get! Even as a “stop-gap” measure, in my opinion, this reflects another poor business decision.

  • BigJim

    Do you think this new Caddy wagon will have an AWD version?

  • From what I understand, we won’t see AWD in the BLS until it is redesigned (assuming the next BLS is built on the new Epsilon 2 chassis)…the current chassis doesn’t support AWD.

    A new Saab 9-3 has already been spied in testing that has the AWD system. I wouldn’t expect the new BLS until a year or two after this model goes into production.