Manufactured from 1998 through 2002 by General Motors at its Fairfax plant in Kansas City, the Oldsmobile Intrigue, a mid-size sedan, was first seen in 1995 as the Oldsmobile Antares concept car. It was designed to compete with Japanese automobiles rather than its US counterparts and was built equipped with standard features such as V6 power, anti-lock brakes, four-wheel independent suspension, dual front airbags, and full power accessories. Possessing no conventional Oldsmobile badges, the Intrigue lived up to its name, much to the delight of its marketers, who wanted the vehicle to be seen as a distinct and special model. Let’s follow the Intrigue’s trail from where it came from to where it is now, tracing its year-to-year changes along the way.
1998: The inception
1998 Intrigue models were introduced as an all-new model and given an Autobahn package which consisted of a 3.29 differential ratio as opposed to the standard 3.05, H-rated tires (16-ply rating), 12-inch front brakes with ceramic pads, and a 128 mile-per-hour speed limiter. They were available in base GX, mid-level GL, and high-end GLS, all of which featured the 3.8-liter V6 engine and four-speed automatic transmission.
On top of the standard features, the GL trim included a six-way power adjustable driver’s seat, six-speaker audio system, foglamps, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Meanwhile, the top-of-the-line GLS trim has a six-way power front passenger seat, faux woodgrain interior trim, steering wheel audio controls, leather seating, and full-function traction control.
1999: The star emerges
For the 1999 model year, a new 3.5-L double overhead camshaft (DOHC) engine was introduced—a six-cylinder design based on Cadillac’s Northstar V8 or the “Shortstar” which was made standard in the top-of-the-line GLS and optional on mid-level GL and base GX models. Decklids now have small Oldsmobile badges as complaints that the Intrigue was not recognizable as an Oldsmobile surfaced. A new offering was the OnStar emergency/communications system, which provides subscription-based communications, in-vehicle security, hands-free calling, turn-by-turn navigation, and remote diagnostics systems.
2000: Engine power at its finest
The 3.5-L engine became standard for the Intrigue in 2000, giving it the most powerful standard engine of any W-body car. New offerings included wheels featuring a six-spoke design and an anti-skid system called Precision Control System, which was designed to help keep the car on its intended path by selective braking of one or more individual wheels.
2002: The classics are archived
Now down to its last products, the Intrigue Final 500 Collector’s Edition cars, which came in Dark Cherry Metallic paint and featured Oldsmobile Aurora-styled 17x7.5-inch chrome wheels, were manufactured.