Is this new Caddy supposed to be as loud as a Harley?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1995

Dear Tom and Ray:

I am retired, age 75, and I finally splurged on a new car that I have only dreamed about up until now. I figure I only have so many years left, and since you can't take it with you...I bought a new Cadillac Eldorado with the new Northstar engine. It's a beauty, and it lives up to all the hype. I haven't as yet tried out everything they advertise about it, like the 0-60 in seven and a half seconds and the 150 mph top speed (and I probably never will), but it's a terrific car. The only think I don't like is the exhaust sound. If I were in college like my grandsons, I would think it's really cool. It sounds like the muffled hot rods that we used to drive 50 years ago that had special exhaust pipes, except it's not as loud. I notice it mainly when driving at highway speed and then especially when I accelerate at that speed. Now, don't tell me I shouldn't be driving that fast, because if I go any slower almost everyone passes me. The dealer's service department has examined the exhaust system and says there are no leaks--period. At my age, I don't need to listen to that muffled hot rod sound. Is this normal? What would cause it? And can I do anything to eliminate this bothersome sound in an otherwise wonderful car?

TOM: Gee, Joe. I'm afraid it's your own fault. Cadillac makes three similar cars off of this same basic "platform" or "chassis." There's the Eldorado, the Seville STS, and the Seville SLS. And of the three, the Eldorado is the sportiest. It's marketed to swingers....people in their 50s and 60s. Not old geezers like you, Joe.

RAY: And because they're trying to sell it to younger folks, they make the ride a little stiffer, the acceleration a little faster, and the exhaust noise a little louder. They went to great pains and expense to purposely create this throaty exhaust noise because they assume anybody who wants a sporty car would want to hear the engine roar--at least to a point.

TOM: You probably should have gone for the Seville SLS (the "sport-luxury-sedan"), which is a little softer and a little quieter (by the way, STS stands for "sport touring sedan"). The SLS has the same engine as the Eldorado, similar performance, and even a set of back doors. And it's very nice car.

RAY: The only mechanical solution I can think of (other than just turning down your "Miracle Ear"), would be to see if your dealer would be willing to order an SLS exhaust system and try to install it on your Eldorado. It's risky, because taking everything apart and "customizing" it may make the noise worse, and could effect your emissions as well. On the other hand, you WILL have the only 1995 Eldorado RGE on the road (that's the Rube Goldberg Edition).

TOM: Here's my advice. Next time you buy a new car (you sound like you're gonna be around for a long time, Joe), buy an SLS. And don't worry about your losing that sporty image. You'll still be able to pick up plenty of babes in the SLS (you probably called them "chicks" in your day, Joe. But FYI, "babes" is now the politically correct term).

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