SHARP SHARP

Finweek English Edition - - Business strategy -

IN­VARI­ABLY, the first re­sponse when ar­riv­ing in a BLS was: “I thought Cadil­lacs were big cars.” In fact, in its seg­ment the BLS is the roomi­est. With its mas­sive boot and a length of just un­der 4,7m, call­ing it a “com­pact ex­ec­u­tive” doesn’t do it jus­tice. It doesn’t have the sporti­ness of the BMW or the aus­ter­ity of the Merc, but the BLS makes up for it in other ways. First, the price of R250 000 for the base 2l turbo model un­der­cuts the Ger­mans on a fea­ture for fea­ture ba­sis.

I’m not a fan of wood pan­elling but the BLS’s fake wal­nut is the clos­est to the real thing and com­bines beau­ti­fully with the parch­ment leather seats. Some of the plas­tics used in the in­te­rior need some pad­ding, but over­all the cabin is at­trac­tive and well fin­ished.

The en­gine is live­lier than I ex­pected. I’ve driven too many 2 litre-en­gined cars that feel dead un­der the foot, but the BLS re­sponds to a bit of ag­gres­sive­ness. The ride is soft­ish and, to­gether with the low noise lev­els inside, the ef­fect is calm­ing.

But prob­a­bly none of that would make any dif­fer­ence to buy­ers if they didn’t like its dis­tinc­tive, sharp-edged style. From the front its an­gles and folds work for me, but I can’t get past the over­size rear lights and es­pe­cially the boomerang-shaped cen­tre brake light. Judg­ing by the many park­ing lot stares, for oth­ers it’s just what they want.

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