The Seventies, Eighties and Nineties might not have been the most memorable of decades for Cadillac, but not everything it made until the early 2000s was rubbish. Yes, you had to sift through a lot of poor models before you got to a good one, but the Seville — not the second generation with the bustle-back rear styling, we’re talking about the handsome fourth generation — wasn’t just good. It was great.
Launched in 1992, it ditched the predecessor’s boxy styling for a far more rakish design and benefited from being not one or two but 13 inches longer. It was two inches wider too and the longer bonnet and shorter boot really made it stand out in a segment filled with stalwarts such as the Bonneville, LeSabre and Olds 98.
The previous generation’s chunky cabin made way for a far smarter interior featuring real African Zebrano wood trim. The old crushed-velour seats were gone — the Seville packed soft chairs wrapped in luxurious leather. Even though it gained a 15 per cent stiffer suspension (it had front MacPherson struts and an independent rear suspension with a transverse leaf spring) and 16in wheels, it still afforded that traditional, supple Cadillac ride and great highway demeanour, but it wasn’t restricted to just floating slowly along that, not with a 4.9-litre V8 with 200bhp and 370Nm of torque mated to a silky four-speed automatic. It had the looks and performance to match its excellent handling.
However, it was the following year when Cadillac got really serious about performance. The Northstar V8 introduced in the 1993 Allanté became standard in the front-wheel drive Seville; the double overhead cam, 32-valve motor made a whopping 295bhp and 400Nm of torque. It could hit 100kph from rest in around 7.0 seconds which — for a 1,673kg model in the early Nineties — was plenty fast, and power kept going up; the fifth generation model (1998-2004) may have had 300bhp, but it’s the 1992-1997 cars that really left their mark. Best of all, they can be had today for as little as Dh20,000.