Cadillac Seville makes HK debut

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 July, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 July, 1998, 12:00am

The United States is producing cars with a more international flavour in line with a global trend.

Gone are the so-called 'gas guzzlers' which were only suited to six-lane freeways or wide open roads.

Instead, America's Big Three - General Motors (GM), Ford and Chrysler - are building cars which will be equally at home in Tokyo or Toronto; London or Lisbon; or, indeed, Hong Kong.

A recent introduction to Hong Kong is the Cadillac Seville which, according to GM, will appeal to export markets more than any previous Cadillac.

It is undoubtedly a luxury car, in the best Cadillac traditions, but it is more the size of a Lexus or BMW and hints at nothing of its heritage in the shape of dinosaurs like the eight-litre Eldorado of the mid-1980s.

The new Seville was introduced at last year's Frankfurt show, the first time a GM car had made its debut anywhere but North America. It was first seen in the Far East a month later at the Tokyo show and arrived in Hong Kong less than three weeks ago.

Built at GM's Hamtramck plant in Detroit, Michigan, about 20 per cent of production is destined for export markets.

Boasting a whole range of hi-tech additions, many of which could be wasted on Hong Kong buyers, the Seville is set to take on the luxury market dominated by Mercedes, BMW and Lexus.

Unique to the Seville is the world's first adaptive seat. Both front seats have built-in fan motors which, with the use of up to 10 air cells, located between the leather upholstery and the foam of the seat, constantly adjust the seat cushion and backrest according to the occupant's weight and position.

Sensors attached to these air cells measure internal air pressure every four minutes and compare the information with the optimum stored in the system's memory.

Powered by a 300-bhp 32-valve 4.6-litre V8, the Seville is capable of a top speed of 240 km/h, while its benchmark 0-100 km/h time is a class-leading 7.9 seconds.

The Seville is a front-wheel drive, whereas the competition is almost universally rear driven, but it is hard to detect in normal driving.

A four-speed electronic automatic transmission with advanced software is fitted, which identifies the driver's style and, GM claims, allows the Seville to change from 'luxury sedan into a performance car'.

Marketed by the quoted Ankor Group, the Seville will be on display at the newly-renovated Saab and Cadillac showroom in Bonaventure House, Causeway Bay.