UPDATE 1: Huge gallery of the SLS unveiling in Beijing here.
Yesterday, we published the initial information on the new Cadillac SLS that's going to be built in Shanghai for the Chinese market. Reader response was of the "Are you *&%@#! kidding me? GM has its head up its a-- for not offering this to us!" variety, and understandably so. There are plenty of Americans willing to purchase long-wheelbase sedans, if only they were available. Sure, the Bimmer 750Li and 760Li fit the bill, but those are in a totally different price band.
If the mere existence of a stretched wheelbase Caddy sent people into a tizzy, the shots that follow are going to have them frothing at the mouth, but don't fret -- there's reason to be very excited here at home. The SLS shots show that the Chinese car wears the new-look Cadillac grille, full-color wheel caps (as seen on the '07 SRX Sport), and a redesigned interior that has taken a confident step upmarket, all of which we will most likely see stateside in the future.
Follow along after the jump and see what the General's got cooking.
(Thanks to commenter "Wilhelmina J. Higginbotham" for posting the links to CarSpin and Cheers & Gears for the photos.)
[Sources: CarSpin, Cheers & Gears]
Here we see the interiors of the 2007 Cadillac STS and STS-V for the US market:.
They're both nice cabins typical of the new GM interior approach, but they have nothing ... absolutely nothing ... on the interior of the SLS. Feast your eyes on these:
Note the revamped center stack, and better use of aluminum accenting, which now surrounds the center instruments and frames the nicely restyled HVAC vents. It also looks great on the steering wheel, which additionally benefits from the gorgeous wood that's now liberally applied from front to back. Copious amounts of leather trim are in use as well, covering all the interior surfaces. But that's not new. That's simply the new "Cut & Sew" technique (available now on SRX) applied to the SLS, which is obviously showing off the interior we should expect to see on our 2008 STS. The new CTS will have a similarly swanky interior as well. Remember the mockup Bob Lutz showed on 60 Minutes?
Sure, Cadillac says that some of these interior elements were designed for the Chinese market, but that doesn't mean they can't or won't apply them in ours, nor would it be surprising to see the long-wheelbase car appear in the US sometime during the upcoming show season. If GM is really serious about having Cadillac go up against the likes of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, and reclaiming some of the brand's old "Standard of the World" mystique, it's moves like this -- the tremendously lush interior and the LWB variant -- that will move them closer to those goals.
The SLS also shows us the exterior revisions that are likely in the works for the '08 STS. Here, you see the modestly restyled grille, which features thinned horizontal elements and better-defined vertical bars, all of which are made flush and backed with a dark mesh. Compare it to the current STS (3rd photo down).
2007 Cadillac STS (USDM)
The attention to detail even extends to the wheels (below), where full-color centers are applied. Again, this is a feature that is already available on the SRX Sport. The new SRX is worth revisiting, as it was the vehicle that telegraphed many changes that are obviously making their way into the other Cadillacs now, including this SLS, and, we hope, the next STS. Like I said before: there's reason to be excited.
So, while this is officially showcase of GM's newest Chinese domestic market car, it sure looks like a peek at what's coming with the '08 STS as well. Tell us what you think.