- The Washington Times - Friday, August 4, 2000

The Cadillac DeVille was first introduced as a 1949 Coupe DeVille the first pillarless two-door hardtop design. The Coupe models were constructed by attaching a fixed steel roof structure to existing convertible coach work.

The 1949 Coupe DeVille, powered by Cadillac's new dual-overhead-valve (DOHV), high-compression V-8 engine, won the first-ever Car of the Year title to be awarded by Motor Trend magazine.

Only 2,150 Coupe DeVilles, which sold for $3,497 including power front seat and windows as standard fare, were built at GM's Clark Avenue plant in Detroit due to the late introduction.

Cadillac DeVille has been a dominant luxury segment force ever since and has been the world's best-selling luxury car (nearly 2 million units) for the past 14 years. With no time to rest on its laurels, Cadillac completely redesigned and re-engineered the DeVille for the 2000 model year.

It was moved to a new vehicle architecture a fifth-generation refinement of the G platform, which is notably stiffer in terms of both torsional and bending rigidity, contributing significantly to improved ride and handling characteristics. This latest DeVille will continue as Cadillac's flagship model and will carry on Cadillac's pioneering tradition of incorporating cutting-edge technological innovations into real-world customer benefits.

The DeVille was long held in esteem as a car best appreciated by more mature motorists buyers who wanted a large, safe and luxurious vehicle, that served not only as a mode of transportation, but as a symbol of status.

Unfortunately, mature owners, no matter how brand loyal, unquestionably become progressively older and eventually pass beyond the vehicle-acquisition scenario.

Cadillac's challenging goal was to retain its appeal to traditional patrons, while gaining the interest and approval of younger potential customers. Cadillac has achieved exactly that objective with a new DeVille that is 2 inches shorter and narrower, on a 1.5-inch longer wheelbase than the vehicle it replaces.

Based on a "less is more" approach, the design concept is clean, simple and flows contemporarily from nose to tail, blending and balancing both a sporty and a formal air. Broadening the 2000 DeVille's range of appeal, will be three trim and equipment levels: the DeVille; the DeVille High Luxury Sedan (DHS); and the DeVille Touring Sedan (DTS). Both the DeVille and the DeVille DHS will be powered by a 275-horsepower, DOHC, 32-valve, 4.6 Northstar V-8. The DTS version of the same engine delivers 300 horsepower.

Both engine versions produce lower emissions and improved fuel economy, requiring only regular fuel rather than premium, for an added bonus of reduced operating costs. All models are equipped with a four-speed, electronically controlled automatic transmission. Cadillac's operational theme of combining "Art and Science" is readily apparent in the 2000 DeVille model lineup.

The first automotive application of thermal-imaging, called Night Vision, is capable of assisting drivers to see objects beyond headlamp range when driving at night. Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist is a technology that helps drivers back into parking spaces without contact.

Other electronic innovations include a light-emitting-diode taillight and a navigation system. Chassis developments offered are: active steering effort compensation; four-phase damping; and side-slip rate control. Existing systems have been improved as well, including: StabiliTrak; CVRSS (continuously variable road-sensing suspension); and electronic brake effort distribution. Comfort and convenience are elevated by flex seat adaptive seating, while safety and security improves with the availability of rear-seat side-impact air bags.

I was fortunate enough to be allowed to experience all three models on the road and in "on-track" situations, where all delivered positive but varying impressions.

John F. Smith, GM vice president and general manager of the Cadillac Motor Car Division, in a recent interview, summarily placed Cadillac "Back on track and moving rapidly ahead as the premiere luxury automaker." I must say that the DeVille DTS makes one a believer.

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