What's New for 1998
New radios, a revised interior electrochromic mirror, enhanced programmable features, second-generation airbags and the addition of StabiliTrak to the base model's options list are the major improvements for 1998.
One of the models that lured Cadillac back from the brink of becoming a laughingstock was the current edition of the Eldorado. Introduced in 1992 to critical acclaim, and then substantially improved with the introduction of the Northstar V8 in 1993, the Eldorado, and its sister car, the Seville, redefined Cadillac for the world.
However, the Eldorado hasn't been selling well. Seems the market for high-priced, traditional luxury coupes has dried up a bit during the past few years, and pundits began crowing about the death of this luxury coupe before the end of the decade. Not so, according to the latest rumors, which place the Eldo on a rear-drive chassis with a smaller body in the near future. In the meantime, traditional luxo-coupe buyers can contemplate the 1998 models, which gain a few technical and feature improvements.
Inside, the Eldorado's interior, seemingly inspired by Mercedes-Benz and Lexus, is rich with leather and wood. ETC models have memory systems that recall rearview mirror positions, climate control settings, or even what CD and song the driver was listening to last. Optional on both Eldorados is the OnStar Services package, which includes a voice-activated cellular phone. With OnStar, a driver in trouble can alert emergency personnel to his exact location or receive instruction if he is lost. The system can even track your Eldo if it's stolen or locate the nearest ATM. For 1998, new radios are added, and programmable features are enhanced. It all works beautifully, but buyers evidently balk at spending nearly forty grand for an Eldorado.
Mechanically, Eldos are powered by different versions of the 4.6-liter Northstar V8 engine, which sends power to the ground via the front wheels. MagnaSteer variable effort steering gear is standard. Optional on base models and standard on Touring Coupe is StabiliTrak, which includes stability enhancement and road texture detection. Stability enhancement is designed to correct skids automatically, allowing the Eldorado to respond to driver inputs quicker. Road texture detection reads the road surface, leading to better antilock brake performance on rough pavement.
Lincoln's Mark VIII was freshly restyled last year, and performance figures are nearly indistinguishable from the Eldorado, though its retro-futuristic styling themes inside and out do not appeal to us as much as the Eldo's sharper edges and richly-appointed interior. Still, the Lincoln is a sheer blast to drive, with a sweet twin-cam V8 engine, rear-wheel drive and an outstanding optional JBL sound system. The Mark VIII behaves like a luxury Mustang GT, while the Eldorado behaves like a luxury Monte Carlo Z34. Despite the Cadillac's more unique styling, we'd take the hot-to-trot Lincoln.