With the arrival of a new estate variant and new powertrain options, Cadillac has repositioned its BLS premium mid-size car for 2008. With just a single fully-equipped ‘Elegance' specification level, Cadillac is offering a truly unbeatable package.

Rationalised pricing and model line-up

For 2008, the BLS model range of front-wheel drive Wagons and Saloons now comes with almost £4,000 worth of additional equipment. Prices start at £21,495 for the 175 ps (129 kW) petrol and 150 ps (110 kW) diesel models, in both Wagon and Saloon variants, while the range-topping V6-engined 255 ps (188 kW) models are priced £27,495.

"In line with our range simplification, we have banished the traditional ‘price premiums'. Cadillac BLS buyers can enjoy diesel power for the same price as petrol and Wagon body style for the same price as the Saloon," enthuses Nash. "We are convinced that the 2008 Cadillac BLS line-up, with its distinctive styling and relative exclusivity, will be a uniquely persuasive proposition to drivers and will enable us to grow the brand steadily from the bottom up, as part of the long-term journey for Cadillac in the UK."

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Cadillac expects the arrival of the strikingly styled Wagon to attract new customers to the brand and to account for 50% of BLS sales this year.

"Business sales will be an area of focus for Cadillac with the 2008 BLS. The two new engines – the 180 ps diesel (132 kW) and the 200 ps (147 kW) Flexpower petrol/bioethanol unit – give us an opportunity to highlight the upgraded models' attributes to the fleet market. These engines are highly competitive for CO2 and offer BIK (Benefit In Kind) company car tax advantages.

"Industry response to the premium upgraded 2008 BLS range has been extremely positive. CAP, the provider of benchmark used-car valuations, is predicting a boost for residual values because the BLS is so highly equipped as standard," concludes Nash.

Designed in Europe, for European consumers, the premium mid-size Cadillac BLS Wagon and Saloon are manufactured (in right-hand drive for the UK market) at the state-of-the-art GM plant in Trollhättan, Sweden.

Truly distinctive Cadillac styling stands out in premium mid-size segment

Expressive design has always been a Cadillac hallmark and the premium mid-size BLS boasts truly distinctive Cadillac styling in a more compact form, ideally suited to the needs of European consumers.

The ‘look' of the new Cadillac BLS Wagon and the BLS Saloon was conceived by an international team of designers led by Ed Welburn, GM Vice President of Global Design. Both BLS variants present visual cues that are true to Cadillac's unique ‘Art & Science' design language. These cues include vertical headlights and taillights, plus clear, sharply defined body surface contours and a wedge profile.

"The most striking features of BLS are the vertical lines at the front and rear," comments Welburn. "The V-shaped chrome-framed egg-crate grille with prominent badge, a classic Cadillac design signature, is picked up again by the boot lid. In profile, the relatively deep doors and shallow windows convey a sense of strength and solidity, while the high tail and low nose create a sense of forward motion. The BLS's broad stance, with large alloy wheels pushed out to the extremities of the flared wheel arches, endorses the car's road-hugging posture."

Luxurious, premium interior ambience and generous space

The BLS interior creates a 100 percent Cadillac ambience, and for 2008 BLS buyers will enjoy an unprecedented luxury specification with a fully comprehensive range of premium equipment now fitted as standard and a single equipment/trim level named ‘Elegance'.

Every BLS, both Wagon and Saloon, now comes with premium equipment such as leather trim, heated and powered front seats with memory for both driver and passenger, a BOSE Surround Sound 11-speaker audio system, DVD sat-nav, hands-free Bluetooth phone system, dual zone climate control, cruise control, park distance sensors and StabiliTrak electronic dynamic stability control.

Facing the BLS driver is a three-spoke leather-covered steering wheel, framing a three dial instrument panel with white numerals and red needles on a black background. The centre stack features a square analogue clock set between two large fully adjustable air vents, and above the audio system, the heating and ventilation controls. The centre stack, outboard air vents, instrument dials and twin floor console cup holders are all ringed in chrome.

The powered multi-adjustable front seats have a wide range of movement and the BLS cabin will seat up to five adults in considerable comfort. For both Wagon and Saloon, front headroom (988 mm) and rear legroom (892 mm) are the best in its class, while the wagon's raised roofline creates an additional 47 mm of headroom for rear seat occupants.

The new BLS Wagon is the first-ever estate model in Cadillac's long and illustrious history. Longer than the saloon (by 36 mm) and taller (by 72 mm), it boasts an exaggerated wedge-shaped profile that is attractive and aerodynamically efficient, resulting in a drag coefficient of Cd 0.31. With its extended cargo bay, the BLS Wagon can accommodate 419 litres (with rear seats upright) and up to 1273 litres with the rear seat backrest folded down, without obscuring the rear windows.

Superb refinement, fit for a Cadillac

Besides enhancing driving pleasure and safety by engineering a pair of strong and torsionally stiff bodyshells, the Cadillac design team also focused on achieving high levels of refinement and minimum NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). These goals were achieved via a series of measures, including the use of front and rear hydro-formed subframes to mount the engine, transmission and suspension systems, effectively decoupling those components from the bodyshell and isolating them from the vehicle's occupants. Specially developed sound insulation is fitted in the wheel arches, cabin roof and throughout the boot.

Six turbocharged engines from 150 to 225 ps

The entire 2008 Cadillac BLS range is now available with a choice of two advanced common-rail diesel and four petrol engines – all with turbocharging. Engine outputs range from 150 ps (110 kW) to 255 ps ( 188 kW) and every engine is available with manual or automatic transmission.

New high-power 180 ps diesel joins the range

The Cadillac BLS offer customers two four-cylinder, 16-valve diesel engines with a variable geometry turbocharger and charge-air cooling, as well as Bosch EDC 16 variable multi-point direct fuel injection and a standard maintenance-free diesel particulate filter system.

The new-for-2008 1.9-litre 180 ps (132 kW) diesel is a highly efficient power unit, producing 400 Nm of torque at just 1850 rpm. With the six-speed manual gearbox, this engine powers the BLS Saloon to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds and records 47.9 mpg (combined cycle) in the BLS Wagon – ensuring an impressive range of more than 600 miles.

The well proven 1.9-litre 150 ps (110 kW) engine delivers a maximum of 320 Nm at 2000 rpm, for responsive acceleration and safe everyday overtaking ability. Acceleration to 60 mph takes just 9.2 seconds, while fuel consumption is 46.3 mpg on the combined cycle (manual transmission) and a competitive 39.2 mpg with the automatic.

New 200 ps Flexpower engine added to petrol line-up

For 2008, Cadillac is introducing a flex-fuel version of the BLS powered by a turbocharged 2-litre engine that develops 200 ps (147 kW) and 300 Nm of torque (at just 2500 rpm) – running on a renewable and sustainable fuel source, bioethanol E85.

The two petrol-only 2-litre four-cylinder turbo engines develop 175 ps (129 kW) / 265 Nm and 210 ps (154 kW) / 300 Nm respectively, with maximum torque at 2500 rpm, which means high pulling power at low and medium engine speeds.

The range-topping 2.8-litre V6 petrol engine has a twin-scroll turbocharger and variable phasing of the intake valves. This state-of-the-art unit, part of a new generation of engines used globally by GM, generates 255 ps (188 kW) and 365 Nm of torque at a low 2000 rpm. With this engine, the BLS Saloon can sprint to 60 mph in just 6.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 155 mph.

Choice of advanced-technology transmissions

The Cadillac BLS range is offered with a choice of advanced-technology transmissions, with proven reliability from extensive experience in other GM premium vehicles.

Every model comes with a fuel-stretching six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with a high top gear ratio to maximise fuel economy in high speed cruising. Every BLS can be equipped with a five-speed or six-speed automatic transmission (depending on model) that adapts its gear-shift patterns to suit driving conditions and driving style, and features Cadillac's ‘Driver Shift Control'. This system gives drivers a choice of fully automatic operation or in DSC mode, sequential manual selection of gears using the steering-wheel mounted paddle shifts.

Sports chassis tuned for responsive handling

The front-wheel drive Cadillac BLS was designed specifically to meet the needs of European consumers and its vehicle dynamics have been tailored to satisfy the requirements of European car drivers with the emphasis on driving enjoyment and chassis agility.

The BLS Wagon and Saloon share a long 2675 mm wheelbase and a wide track that provides an excellent foundation to create balanced handling. The stiff bodyshell creates an ideal base for the fully independent suspension to deliver dynamic handling without compromising ride comfort. The precise, fast-geared (2.97 turns lock-to-lock) rack-and-pinion steering, also ensures plenty of feedback and a rewarding driving experience.

For BLS buyers who prefer an even sharper drive, the range-topping 2.8 T V6 model comes with an enhanced handling package fitted as standard. The package includes a firmer sports suspension, lowered ride height (by 12 mm) and 18-inch diameter alloy wheels with low profile 225/45 R18 tyres.

The Cadillac BLS's sophisticated all-disc braking system features ventilated front and solid rear discs (upgraded to ventilated on the 2.8 V6), plus state-of-the-art electronic aids. In addition to ABS, traction control and electronic brake assist, the Cadillac BLS is also fitted with cornering brake control (CBC). When the brakes are applied on a bend, CBC regulates the brake pressure at each wheel individually, increasing cornering stability.

The StabiliTrak electronic stability system is fitted as standard on all BLS models. In critical driving situations this full-time, automatic ESP-type system assists the driver by correcting understeer and oversteer to ensure that the vehicle follows the intended course.

Although the new BLS Wagon weighs a little more than the Saloon – 55 kg model-for-model – it retains all the handling attributes of the Saloon and closely mirrors both the performance and fuel economy of its sibling.

Maximum protection built-in to BLS

Although the 4.7 metre-long BLS is one of the most compact models ever built by Cadillac, it sets new structural and safety standards in its segment. Its all-steel unitary bodyshell has class-leading torsional rigidity, providing a firm foundation for the fully independent suspension, enhancing comfort and refinement, while resisting impacts.

To create a safety cage around the interior, the passenger compartment is made predominantly of high-strength steel and features extended front chassis rails for extra strength. To protect occupants in side impacts, the central B-pillar functions much like a pendulum, ‘hinging' at the top and swinging in at the base in a controlled movement that deflects impact energy away from the occupants' head and chest.

With its combination of brisk acceleration, powerful performance, agile handling, excellent road holding, traction control, StabiliTrak, and ABS braking system, the Cadillac BLS is fully equipped to enable drivers to avoid everyday motoring hazards.

For 2008, additional ‘active' safety aids fitted as standard include Rear Parking Assist, which emits an audible warning if an obstruction is too close, RainSense automatic windscreen wipers and an Electrochromic rearview mirror that darkens automatically when necessary.

Every BLS features a comprehensive range of ‘passive' safety equipment including: front, side and curtain air bags, ‘Active' headrests on the front seats (reducing the risk of whiplash injuries), head restraints and three-point seatbelts for all five seating positions, plus pyrotechnic seatbelt tensioners and force limiters on the front seats.