Cadillac BLS: Spotted

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.


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
MPG: 42.2
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

See the full ad here.


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Comments (18) Join the discussion on the forum

  • JMF894 07 Oct 2018

    The Saab was dated by then, this is just horrible. Complete Saab interior with caddy steering wheel badge. Awful. And 4.5k is chancing it too.

    For that price, if you really wanted this set up you can get a nice TTiD 9-3 wagon. At least then it's 'only' a GM/Saab hybrid instead of a GM/Saab/Cadillac monstrosity.

    GM really couldn't be bothered to make any discernable effort could they? They deserved to go bust, shame Saab did. When I look at Volvo and how they have been managed and developed It makes me so angry at GM's utter incompetence and lack of respect.

    Rant over.

  • Tim16V 07 Oct 2018

    I believe some Caddy specific parts are very hard to find for these. Allegedly they used to take parts off brand new ones to keep them running back in the day.

  • dunnoreally 07 Oct 2018

    If you can run it on easily available GM bits, I can see why you would. There's not much similar with mileage this low for this little money. If all you want's a big squidgy estate to lollop about in, this could see you right for many years to come.

    Worthy but dull, in other words.

    EDIT: on the other hand, if it needs a bunch of rare Caddy parts to stay on the road, I have no idea why you wouldn't just buy something higher-mileage from the usual suspects

    Edited by dunnoreally on Sunday 7th October 12:55

  • blearyeyedboy 07 Oct 2018

    Tim16V said:
    I believe some Caddy specific parts are very hard to find for these. Allegedly they used to take parts off brand new ones to keep them running back in the day.
    No "alleged" about it. I had one, and it was kept on the road by a dealer doing this for me. However, that was with the acrimonious Saab/GM divorce, and I suspect oily parts are now easier to come by. Paint, lights and panels are unique to it though, so if you need any then good luck finding a match to repair it with.

    It wasn't that bad for the time. It would have been crap value new, but so cheap second hand that it barely lost me any money in two years of ownership.

    I know the article promotes the joys of the automatic gearbox but be careful coming out of junctions or roundabouts. It was guesswork when the car would move from a standstill after depressing the throttle. Good cruiser, frustrating gearbox around town.

  • delmatt 07 Oct 2018

    I had one of the 180 ttid ones. It was a nice car but it was impossible to get some parts for it. I needed a new key and even when it was still current they were unable to provide one. I sold it to my brother in law who was unfortunate to have someone crunch the rear light....they just did not exist anywhere and I think it was the end of an otherwise good car. There were only a tiny number of estates ever registered(made) as it was launched just as GM stopped the European relationship. From memory it was something like 37 registered.

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