Before I answer them let me tell you that I think that Xara Web Designer would be a great fit for you, for the kinds of sites you build and your creativity.
The image layering that you like to do OUTSIDE of CSB, you would be able to do DIRECTLY INSIDE this program! You can blend, shade, rotate, etc with the original images, and the program will export optimized images if you set that option!
The program is FAST and smooth. You can move things OFF the web page to the side onto the worktable to use later. YOU of all people, would go NUTS with the flexibility that it gives.
1. Does it use style sheets? YES
2. Are templates easily manipulated to "make your own"
You can do ANYTHING you want to them.
Easy? Once you get the knack of it.
You use Paint Shop Pro or other graphic software that uses layers which allows you to group pieces and move things forward and backward so you already understand some of the basic concepts of the Xara family of products (XX, XXP. XWD).
Each template comes with it's own flavor (curved, straight, etc). You can quickly change colors and leave the template as is, changing the title to what you need or remove/replace elements to fit your needs.
3. And are there lot's of them? I will let you decide if this list qualifies as a lot
"...31 themed designs with 10 or more layouts each. The pages can be used individually, but each theme also includes a ready-built, ready-linked 8 page website. Web Designer also includes a wide variety of other individual graphic templates such as NavBars, individual buttons, icons, headings, speech bubbles, photo objects/galleries and text panels." Alpha - 15 layouts
Beta - 13 layouts
Broker - 12 layouts
Butterfly - 12 layouts
Ecostyle - 13 layouts
Ex-associate 2 - 12 layouts
Finance - 12 layouts
Fire Storm - 11 layouts
Fusion - 13 layouts
Gear - 13 layouts
Graphic Device - 10 layouts
Holiday - 12 layouts
Icon - 11 layouts
Infrastructure - 12 layouts
Innovate - 12 layouts
Interface - 12 layouts
Legal - 12 layouts
Lightbox - 11 layouts
Monotone - 12 layouts
Music - 12 layouts
Omega - 13 layouts
Orbit - 12 layouts
Photographer - 12 layouts
Portfolio - 12 layouts
Reflections - 12 layouts
Serenity - 10 layouts
Social Networker - 12 layouts
Trader - 13 layouts
Viewfinder - 13 layouts
Writer - 12 layouts
You can see them here: http://www.xara.com/us/products/webdesigner/templates/
You can click a link on that page to SEE them as published websites.
4. Does it have a flash design option? YES. Even the first version of the program had it. Take a look at my original flash sample tutorial made in XWD last year based on their default templatehttp://www.samisite.com/xwd/xwd_animation_sample.htm
5. Does it have a map option? NO, BUT like PSP layers, you can see each individual page listed on the right side, scroll up and down quickly to find the page you need.
Like CSB, it has a 30 free trial, full functions.
Lots of videos for training, nice forum.