The all-wheel drive Cadillac Aurora concept allegedly laid the foundation for the boxy front-wheel drive Cadillac DeVille. In contrast to its chassis dispenser, which mounted its engine transversely, the Aurora had a longitudinally oriented 4.5-liter V-8 with 200 hp.
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While the powertrain setup of the Cadillac concept never found its way to a production car, the design has probably proven itself – albeit as an Opel, which later found a home in the Cadillac model range. Yes, we’re talking about the Catera. Do you know the Cadillac that zigzagged?
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Originally introduced across the pond as the Opel Omega, the rear-wheel drive sedan came onto the US market for the 1997 model year as the Cadillac Catera. Despite foregoing the windswept look, aggressively hacked windshield, and integrated rear wheel trims of the Aurora, the Catera still adopted a number of design elements from the Caddy concept, including the oval headlamp shape, grille decor, and pronounced fender-to-fender and taillight body full width.
The Catera, however, was a different animal under the tin. Instead of the Aurora’s V-8 engine, the compact Cadillac sports sedan had a 3.0-liter V-6 that put 200 horses on the car’s rear wheels. Though the combination of Aurora-like design and rear-wheel drive architecture should have made the Catera an enthusiast favorite, the entry-level Cadillac never quite managed to make consumers’ hearts beat faster. In a comparison test from 1997, we preferred the Lexus ES300 to the Catera.
Would the Aurora’s sultry lines or V-8 have overcome the inherent shortcomings of Catera’s production? Who knows. Fortunately, General Motors fans of the time looking for a relatively affordable luxury car with a seemingly wind tunnel-like appearance and a V-8 engine could find such features in the form of the front-wheel drive Oldsmobile Aurora.