Buy/Drive/Burn: A Large, Front-drive Luxury Party in 1999
The other day, among the urbane, informed chatter happening in the TTAC Slack room, Adam Tonge suggested a little Buy/Drive/Burn trio to me. The year is 1999, and the subjects are full-size luxury sedans of the front-drive and comfort variety. Lincoln, Cadillac, and Chrysler are all represented, all wearing their conservative, double-breasted suits.
Come along, and select your turn of the century American luxury sedan.
Cadillac Seville SLS
Up first is Cadillac’s Seville SLS. A new, fifth generation G-body Seville debuted for the 1998 model year, and wore a more modern evolution of the styling which debuted with the fourth generation K-body version in 1992. Again, the Seville was available in two distinct models: SLS and STS. While STS stood for Seville Touring Sedan, SLS meant Seville Luxury Sedan. Softer, less intense, less powerful and less expensive, the SLS is our choice today. Powered by a 4.6-liter Northstar V8, the SLS was de-tuned a bit over the STS version, sending 275 (rather than 300) horsepower through the four-speed automatic.
Chrysler returned to market for a third time with a “300” branded model, after doing it first with the letter cars of the ’50s and ’60s, and then the non-letter (plain number?) cars in the ’60s and ’70s. Today’s subject year of 1999 was the first for the brand new 300M. Sharing the LH platform with the similar Concorde, LHS, and Dodge Intrepid, its siblings were new for 1998. The original run of cab-forward LH vehicles was introduced back in 1993, as Chrysler finally phased out the extended family of K-Car variants. All North American 300M examples shared the 3.5-liter Chrysler-developed V6, itself an iteration of the 3.3-liter introduced in 1990. Aiming for the sporty-comfort class, the 300M was shortened 10 inches over its Concorde brother, making the 255 horses under the hood feel more zesty.
The ninth generation of the Lincoln Continental would be the last for a while, but it’s 1999 and we don’t know that yet. Swapping to a front-drive layout and the D186 Taurus platform for the 1988 model year, a second D186 generation was introduced in 1995. That angular version was revamped for 1998, into the longer, more rounded, and Town Car-familiar shape we have here. A full 208.5 inches in length, the Continental has about seven inches on the Cadillac, and 10 on the Chrysler. Just as well then that it has the benefit of a 4.6-liter InTech V8, producing the same 275 horses as the Seville.
Three big sedans promising comfort. Which goes home with the Buy?
[Images: GM, FCA, Ford]
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