January 28, 2018

2006-09 Cadillac BLS sedan

I’ve never seen a Cadillac BLS in person. I live in the United States and, at the time, was thrilled the model was not offered here. Seeing it pictured would make me chuckle, until I’d stop to think about the damage it was doing to the brand’s image, wherever it was being sold. The bittersweet consolation was that wherever it was being sold, there likely wasn’t much of a reputation to damage.

That was more than a decade ago. Things are quite different now with XTS representing a sole vestige of Cadillac’s borrowed-platform, passenger car past; and their new sedans and coupes are starting to establish various benchmarks. While Cadillac has a ways to go with brand marketing, thanks to competent in-house engineering they’ve turned out sufficient thoroughbreds to be taken seriously again.

Thus, my point: suddenly the Cadillac BLS doesn’t seem such an offense to my eyes anymore.

2006-09 Cadillac BLS sedan

Despite embodying so many struggles going on at the time, with the brand stabilized now and on course, I can look back and appreciate it. And it is not half bad with regard to the integration of the then-current Cadillac design DNA.

2006-09 Cadillac BLS sedan

It also integrated Cadillac’s then-current naming scheme, although, with no apparent significance behind the “B” (“LS” presumably stood for “Luxury Sedan”, as it did on the SLS). Besides not being an antonym, the letters BLS never translated politely in my head. Others said it stood for the “Bob Lutz Special”, a reference to his role in the model.

2006-09 Cadillac BLS sedan

The production car went on sale as a 2006 model but was preceded by a concept car in 2005 that looked nearly identical.

2005 Cadillac BLS Concept

2005 Cadillac BLS Concept

2005 Cadillac BLS Concept

And, before that, there was the second-generation Saab 9-3 (and Opel Vectra). If you wonder where some of the odd proportions come from, look no further than GM’s Epsilon platform. In my opinion, Saab did Epsilon the best.

2004 Saab 9-3

Epsilon was used for an array of vehicles, including the Saturn Aura, Pontiac G6, and Chevrolet’s Malibu and Malibu Maxx.

2004 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx

If you’re wondering, there was a Cadillac BLS wagon too. While it looked good going…

2007-09 Cadillac BLS wagon

…in my opinion, it does not appear to look so good coming at you. Rather like a hearse.

2007-09 Cadillac BLS wagon

Oddly enough, Saab again had what I think to be the best execution, in this case, of the wagons. In fact, those 9-3 tail lights would have looked right at home in Cadillac’s future lineup.

2006 Saab 9-3 Aero SportCombi

Sales were rather dismal and the plug was pulled on the Cadillac BLS after 2009.

2006-09 Cadillac BLS sedan

Perhaps, one day, one will be imported and work its way to my neck of the woods so I can confirm with my own eyes it is not mere mythology.