Downside: If you come to the Cadillac DTS sedan with BMW-type, high-performance expectations, you will be disappointed. This car runs well, but it's built for the boulevard and pleasant mountain curves. It's not for the racetrack.
Ride, acceleration and handling: Excellent in all three categories. It will please most normal drivers, people who want to get from one place to another as safely as possible in maximum comfort at reasonable speeds.
Head-turning quotient: It is a work of pinstriped libido -- conservative, but liberal in all of the right places.
Body style/layout: The Cadillac DTS is a large front-engine, front-wheel-drive, four-door, unitized-body sedan. That means the car's body, floor pan and chassis form a single rigid structure. It is assembled at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant.
Engines/transmission: Two versions of GM's 4.6-liter Northstar V-8 engine are available. One develops 275 horsepower at 5,200 revolutions per minute and 292 foot-pounds of torque at 4,400 rpm. It moves briskly from a standstill, but slows a bit in the long run. The other develops 291 hp at 5,600 rpm and 286 foot-pounds of torque at 4,400 rpm. It launches with less gusto than its sibling, but runs faster and longer in the stretch. Both engines are mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.
Cargo and fuel capacities: The DTS has seating for up to six people, depending on types of seats chosen. Luggage capacity is 18.8 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 18.5 gallons. Cadillac recommends premium unleaded for "best performance." But less-expensive 87 octane unleaded is okay in this one, too.
Mileage: I averaged 24 miles per gallon in highway driving in the 291-hp DTS and 26 miles per gallon in highway driving in the 275-hp version.
Safety: Six standard air bags, including side and head bags; traction and stability control; rigid unitized-body construction.
Price: The 2006 DTS goes on sale this fall. Pricing is not firm at this writing. But, based on interviews with Cadillac executives, it is likely to come in at a base price below the $46,045 charged for the 2005 Cadillac DeVille it replaces. That's right -- below. Cadillac intends to price this one aggressively.
Purse-strings note: The DTS is the classic large American sedan, well done. It is a high-quality work. It's a buy.