Way back when I still lived in my native Germany I owned a 1999 Saab 9-3 2.2TiD with a 5 Speed manual. It was a great car and even though it was clearly lacking in the performance and handling departments, it was a comfortable highway cruiser and with a top speed of ~130mph it was quick enough. With the 116hp/192lb-ft diesel engine it would also easily get 40mpg, which is important when you live in Germany where fuel prices are multiple times higher than here in the US.
Of course as soon as it came out I always wanted the newer second gen 9-3. And of course when it became available in 2007 the 1.9TTiD 178hp/295lb-ft diesel engine would have been the one of my choice, but before I had a chance to upgrade I moved to the US for my employer.
Years later and I am sitting in my basement working from home due to the coronavirus crisis, but still for the same employer. During my lunch break this of course had me go back to looking at what’s going on in the German used car market, trying to find unusual vehicles that are unobtanium in the US or generally interesting to me, because of their rarity even in Germany.
Enter the Cadillac BLS: a rebagded version of the second gen Saab 9-3 that was never sold in the US or Canada and could be had, just like the Saab 9-3, as a sedan or wagon. It came with the same choice of engines as the Saab 9-3, except for the lowest spec 1.8 liter engines (1.8i 120hp/123lb-ft, 1.8t 148hp/177lb-ft), which were not available in the Saabillac.
The Cadillac BLS was similar in design language to the US-spec Cadillac CTS and STS of the time, but about 6" shorter than the CTS. In my opinion the BLS, especially in wagon guise, is is not a terrible looking vehicle, if somewhat bland in the front. The Cadillac version, unlike the Saab afaik came standard with a matte aluminum look roof rail, which I personally believe should be standard on any wagon. It was optional on the Saab
The engine choices ranged from a base 2.0t 173hp/195lb-ft, a midrange 2.0T 207hp/221lb-ft, and a top spec 2.8T V6 247hp/258lb-ft gasoline engine through a base 1.9TiD 148hp/236lb-ft and a top spec 1.9TTiD 178hp/273lb-ft diesel engine to a 2.0t FlexPower 173-197hp/195-221lb-ft E85 gasoline engine (lower power and torque numbers are gas and higher numbers are E 85) which Saab called BioPower.
I prefer the wagon over the sedan for obvious reasons (I am the owner of a different make and model wagon and love it), besides the looks.
Both the sedan and wagon were available with automatic and manual transmissions. Which means there was once a manual wagon diesel Cadillac, people! I guess GM wasn’t completely hopeless at some point in time...
The BLS was the predecessor to the Cadillac ATS which is a US-market vehicle and unfortunately was never sold as a wagon.
If I ever moved back to Germany a Cadillac BLS wagon would definitely be on my list of contenders for a new to me ride.
Stay healthy, everyone!