Want something rather rare that’s practical and economical to run? Have a look at this Cadillac BLS estate…
Car makers don’t often make odd decisions. With all the money and market research that goes into producing a car, you’d think it would be impossible for big manufacturers to make a mistake. But, they can, and the Cadillac BLS is proof that.
One can only surmise that they’d seen the losses made by their floundering Saab division and thought that a quick solution to keep the Trollhattan plant – and their workers – busy was to get them to re-body the 9-3 and turn it into a Cadillac. This would then feature as part of yet another European re-launch of the Cadillac brand. Many in the industry where a little bewildered when the BLS was unveiled at Geneva and couldn’t figure out who would buy a car based on a seven-year-old platform. It was quickly dubbed the Bob Lutz Special.
The saloon came first in 2006, with the estate version following in 2008. In order to turn it from a Swedish Saab into a mutant American/Swedish hybrid, a large egg-crate grill was added to the front and the interior was given a fancy clock and wood smeared across the dashboard of top-of-the-range models. Think of the Roverised Hondas we got in the 90s and you wouldn’t be far from the mark.
To be fair, Cadillac did throw plenty of options at it to entice sceptical buyers. This Elegance model comes with rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, a cooled glovebox for your good ol’ can of American Coke, heated, electric driver and passenger seats along with sat nav and a bangin’ Bose sound system.
You had three different engines to choose from: a 2.0-litre turbo petrol that could be had in three different states of tune; a thirsty 255hp 2.8-litre turbocharged V6 petrol or a 1.9-litre diesel with either a single turbo and 150hp or two turbos and 180hp. Weirdly, the higher powered diesel was the most economical car in the range. Go figure.
This particular example is the least powerful diesel, but it does come with an automatic gearbox, which means you should skirt the dreaded dual-mass flywheel issues some GM cars have suffered with. It’s also covered only 45,000 miles, so as long as you keep on top of servicing and have the gearbox oil flushed in a timely manner, you should have yourself a relatively practical and reliable used car for years to come. And, remember, Cadillac only sold 7,356 BLSes (that’s not a UK sales number, that’s across the whole of Europe) over the course of four years, so you’re unlikely to see another one the road.
SPECIFICATION – CADILLAC BLS ESTATE
Engine: 1,910cc, 4-cyl diesel
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 150@4,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 236@2,000-2,750rpm
CO2: 179 g/km
First registered: 2009
Recorded mileage: 45,000
Price new: £25,395 (inc. £550 for metallic paint and £1,350 for an automatic gearbox)
Yours for: £4,500
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