Car Reviews And

2008 Cadillac CTS

The Good :)   Hot exterior styling. Beautiful interior. High quality parts throughout. Lots of technology like hard drive, real time traffic, turning Xenon headlights, keyless start, voice control, remote start. 

The Bad :(   Seats Have Short Bottom Cushions.  Rear compartment Feels Small.  Suspension is soft. No exhaust sounds.

Engine 6Cyl 3.6 Liter Direct Injection

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Output 304 hp    @6300 rpm
273 lb-ft  @ 5200 rpm
Top Speed 150 mph
0-60 mph 5.9 sec (est.)
Weight 3,874 lbs
Price As Tested $35,045


The all-new 2008 Cadillac CTS is a magnificent car that is beautifully styled inside and out.  Combine this with Lexus like luxury and technology and you have a vehicle that makes you forget all the negative news about GM, or American cars in general.  The all-new CTS has shattered all our preconceived notions and left us drooling like puppy-dogs.  For anyone who has only considered a BMW, Mercedes or Lexus, its time to start paying attention to Cadillac because they are back in a big way. 

The exterior is where Cadillac hit a home run.  The styling on the CTS is quite bold and crisp and in our Crystal Red premium paint it was shockingly beautiful to look at.  The front end is very futuristic with a long sweeping hood that looks like its razor sharp.  Tall flanking headlamps and use of chrome trim makes the CTS glitter like a nicely cut diamond.  Fog lights are wrapped in chrome and the headlights offer nice features as well.  Lots of detail work went into the headlights with tile work in two layers, a tall white beam on the outer edge, a tall yellow reflector, and a turning main beam which has a blue glow when off in the daytime.  Sharp angled fenders give the CTS a muscular look without being overly done.  Fins on the sides mounted high are also quite nice, better placed than the usually position low near the wheels.  Small touches such as a GM chrome logo at the bottom of the front fender all makes the vehicle look that much nicer.  We liked the large optional 18-inch wheels with Cadillac crests in their center.  Smooth body panels with small windows gives the vehicle a more muscular appearance.  The rear end is styled in a bold manner as well with a wedge at the center of the trunk from where things fan out.  The tail lamps and brake light are all LED with a tall red light in each of the two lamps.  At certain angles sunlight shines a wide beam of red light on the pavement from this rear brake lamp.  We also liked the very bright white backup lamps which are visible at night.  The use of a large Cadillac logo in back also looks great.  Rear parking sensors are also mounted into the bumper and dual exhaust pipes offer a final touch.  Overall it is a car that truly gives something back in terms of excitement on the outside.

The interior of the all-new Cadillac CTS is designed superbly.  Real Sapele wood flows away from the central console and sweeps to the doors.  Genuine leather on the dash board and door panels and chrome accents gives you a high quality feeling that was not found in Cadillac before.  Chrome dials on the instrument cluster and on stereo controls as well as ventilation outlet rings all makes you feel special.  The interior is so attractive that we prefer it to the design found in say a BMW 5-Series or an Audi A6. 

The 3 scoped instrument cluster is attractive and slightly slants inward for a periscope effect when looking at the gauges.  Use of glowing needles in the dials looks very impressive at night.  Inside you have a full trip computer with fuel economy shown as well as settings for various features such as seat adjustments and how the lights turn on and off as you leave and enter the car.  We liked the stalks around the steering wheel which offer more feel with ribbed dials and have chrome rings.  This really showed us that Cadillac was paying attention to detail.  The steering wheel is also large and easy to grip and covered in leather and wood.  It offers easy to use buttons for cruise control and stereo as well as the voice control system.  The speech system did not work flawlessly but we have not found one that does yet.

The driver’s seat features two position memory and has 10 way adjustment.  The front windows are automatically lowered and raised with one touch.  The rear windows only lower by one touch, and are not raised by one touch.  A keyless start feature allows you to keep the large key fob in your pocket, open the door and simply turn the ignition knob.  We would have liked a push button instead of a turning ignition knob located right where the key is on the steering stalk.  The key fob also allows you to remote start the vehicle, a handy feature when the car is hot and you need air conditioning turned on before you get in. 

Seats are the only problem in the Cadillac CTS.  Seat bottoms offer too little support on the sides and in fast driving you are not firmly held in place.  The rear seats offer perhaps more side bolstering on the bottom cushion than in the front seats.  In back the roof is also quite low and so you feel a bit cramped.  The seats are also low to the ground and we found ourselves sitting quite a bit back from the dash which reduces leg room for the rear seated persons.  A flaw is that the dash is pushed into the cabin too much and so when you get out of the front seats you hit the B pillar when leaving.  I am surprised Cadillac engineers did not see this when making the vehicle. 

Technology is the strong point in the CTS.  The navigation system is quite good and very quick.  It offers a 40 GB hard drive which can store anything such as music, photos or files all from a memory card.  The NAV system is a touch screen system which also allows you to pick destinations by phone number and has many points of interest stored in its database.  The XM traffic system is also built into the navigation system and live traffic accidents and weather related events are bypassed in your route.  This mainly works well for accidents.  A regular daily traffic jam in the highway did not even register on the system.  Also amazing is the weather view in the vehicle which shows forecasts and weather along the route that you are taking.  The navigation screen also lowers should you not want to look at it and then you have a small display which shows stereo stations and temperature, this also blends nicely with the overall dash layout.

The stereo system is a high quality setup with Bose 5.1 cabin surround sound speakers featuring centerpoint technology.  It also offers automatic volume control with AudioPilot noise compensation technology to adjust to rain, road noise and traffic noise.  There are six screens of favorites as well with 6-buttons in each screen.  The 10 speaker Bose system offers excellent sound quality that is deep and clear.

The climate control system is an impressive looking setup with dual automatic zones as well as heated seats and fans in the seats as well to keep you cool in the summer.  The system worked great in the automatic setting and that is quite rare.  We liked the feel of all buttons with a smooth and quiet push feel.  The ventilation system also was quick to cool the car and when used with the keyless start feature very impressive. 

The large dual-paned moonroof is excellent at bringing in loads of light and its wide opening is great at making you feel like you are in a convertible.  We also liked the light color of the shade which gives the interior a bright airy feeling when closed while providing much less heat into the vehicle. 

The CTS comes with a 3.6L Direct Injection V6 engine that puts out 304 hp at 6400 RPM and 273 lb-ft of torque at 5200 RPM.  All three V-6s offered in the CTS are versions of GM's all-aluminum, quad cam, 24-valve "high-feature" engine and come with state-of-the-art goodies such as a forged-steel crank and variable valve timing.  The engine is smooth flowing and delivers quite a punch for V6.  Stepping on the pedal easily blasts the CTS to triple digits and there no hesitation or pause when you’re cruising at 75mph and need to press on the gas for passing.  The direct injection engine injects gas directly into the combustion chamber, just like in a diesel engine. This requires much higher fuel-rail pressures-up to 1750 psi and results in more power and torque using less gas.  Imaging if they stuck hydrogen in there using a water electrolizer?  The CTS also stops quickly thanks to the 4-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock system.  With a curb weight of 3,874 pounds, the car didn’t feel very heavy and performed well in both highway speeds and slow cruising around town.  With the optional 18" x 8" cast aluminum wheels wrapped in all-season P235/50R18 V-rated tires, we had good traction and a solid road feel. 

The CTS drives very smoothly and precisely.  Road feel to the driver is much improved and precision in the steering is also great, on par with the best from Germany, thanks to the ZF Servotronic II power rack-and-pinion steering system.  The 6-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission with Driver Shift Control is very quiet and smooth.  Being able to switch the transmission to manual mode or to sport mode was a great benefit as well.  High free-flowing revs though are slow to come and there is very little exhaust noise so you do not feel like you are driving a sports sedan.  Even in sport mode the system does not keep shifts at higher RPM’s and shifting seems slow as compared to other makes such as Audi. 

The 4-wheel independent suspension design utilizes a short/long arm, coil-over strut with anti-sway bar in front, and an independent, modified multi-link with anti-sway bar in the rear with a 40-percent-stiffer cradle, plus larger body mounts, revised differential mountings, and shortened trailing links to improve NVH.   The short/long-arm front suspension features lots of lightweight aluminum and is bolted to an all-new aluminum front cradle. A large aluminum brace across the engine compartment ties the top mounts together.
The suspension seems to sway a bit too much in turns which does not happen in a vehicle such as an Audi A6 that we recently tested.  We also found that the vehicle bounces a little when cruising at highway speeds, the suspension doesn’t do a good enough job in bringing the car back into balance, specially on uneven or bumpy roads. 

The CTS comes with host of safety features as standard equipment.  For front passengers there is front and side airbags and for both front and rear there are head curtain side airbags. The CTS also has daytime running headlights, alarm system, and tire pressure monitoring system. The 2008 CTS comes with a 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 5 year/100,000 mile powertrain limited warranty.

Our CTS started off at a base price of $35,045 for the 3.6 Liter V6 Direct Injection model.  Optional items in our test car were the Premium Luxury Collection for $8,165, that includes all the high-end appointments and all the technology in the car, and the All Season Tire Performance package for $1,740.  This Tire Performance Package is a little misleading because it actually comes with Xenon High-Intensity Discharge headlamps with headlamp washers and Adaptive Forward Lighting; Frontal fog lamps; Sport Performance Suspension system; Performance cooling system; Limited Slip Differential; 18" performance brake system; 18" performance summer tires with 18" aluminum wheels with high-polished finish.  The Premium Crystal Red paint costs $995.  A destination charge of $745 brings our total as tested price to $46,940.  This vehicle can probably be had at or below the invoice price listed below. 

The 2008 Cadillac CTS is a brilliant package of style, luxury and performance.  Cadillac designers and engineers worked hard to make the CTS competitive with the high-end performance sedans like the BMW, Audi, and Mercedes.  The CTS has one of the finest interior’s out of any of its competition and the technology package is one of the best.  The ease of use of the entertainment system with its touch screen display and the impressive NAV with real time traffic and weather is just fanatisic.  The CTS also delivers on performance with a powerful engine and responsive steering.  After spending time in the CTS, we hope that all GM products can have this level of refinement and styling. 

Car Reviews And





Base Pricing



PDQ   CTS Premium Luxury Collection (w/Auto)



PDR   CTS Performance Collection



Y43   Performance Package 18" Summer Tire (w/Auto)



PDW   Performance Luxury Package (w/Auto)



MX7   All Wheel Drive



C3U   UltraView Sunroof  




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4dr Sedan w/Direct Injection (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
2008 Infiniti G35
x 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
2008 Audi A4
3.2 4dr Sedan (3.1L 6cyl CVT)
2008 BMW 3 Series
335i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M)
2008 Volkswagen Passat
VR6 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
MSRP $35,545 $34,350 $36,300 $38,900 $36,050
Invoice $33,235 $31,587 $33,761 $35,790 $33,597
Basic 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 60000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Drivetrain 5 yr. / 100000 mi. 6 yr. / 70000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi.
Roadside 5 yr. / 100000 mi. 4 yr. / 60000 mi. 4 yr. / Unlimited mi. 4 yr. / Unlimited mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Rust 6 yr. / Unlimited mi. 7 yr. / Unlimited mi. 12 yr. / Unlimited mi. 12 yr. / Unlimited mi. 12 yr. / Unlimited mi.
Base Engine Type & Cylinders V6 V6 V6 inline 6 V6
Base Engine Displacement 3.6 liters 3.5 liters 3.1 liters 3.0 liters 3.6 liters
Valvetrain 24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
Horsepower 304 hp @ 6400 rpm 306 hp @ 6800 rpm 255 hp @ 6500 rpm 300 hp @ 5800 rpm 280 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque 273 ft-lbs. @ 5200 rpm 268 ft-lbs. @ 4800 rpm 243 ft-lbs. @ 3250 rpm 300 ft-lbs. @ 1400 rpm 265 ft-lbs. @ 2750 rpm
Sunroof power glass - Optional power glass - Optional power glass power glass power glass
Passenger Seat Height Adjustable Optional Standard Standard Standard Standard
One-Touch Power Windows 4 2 4 4 2
Heated Driver Mirror Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard
Auto-Dimming Outside Mirrors Not Available Not Available electrochromatic - Optional electrochromatic - Optional Not Available
Power Retractable Outside Mirrors Not Available Not Available Optional Optional Not Available
Handling CTS G35 A4 3 Series Passat
Turning Circle 36 ft. 36.1 ft. 36.4 ft. 36.1 ft. 35.8 ft.
City 18 mpg. 17 mpg. 18 mpg. 17 mpg. 17 mpg.
Highway 26 mpg. 23 mpg. 27 mpg. 26 mpg. 26 mpg.
Length 191.6 in. 187 in. 180.6 in. 178.2 in. 188.2 in.
Width 72.5 in. 69.8 in. 69.8 in. 71.5 in. 71.7 in.
Height 58 in. 57.8 in. 56.2 in. 55.9 in. 58 in.
Front Headroom 38.8 in. 40.5 in. 37.9 in. 38.5 in. Being Researched
Rear Headroom 37.2 in. 37.7 in. 37.1 in. 37.5 in. Being Researched
Front Shoulder Room 56.7 in. 55.6 in. 55.1 in. 55.4 in. 55.7 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 54.7 in. 55.2 in. 53.4 in. 55.1 in. 54.6 in.
Front Hip Room 55.1 in. 55.1 in. Not Published Not Published Not Published
Rear Hip Room 54.1 in. 53.7 in. Not Published Not Published Not Published
Front Leg Room 42.4 in. 43.9 in. 41.3 in. 41.5 in. 41.4 in.
Rear Leg Room 35.9 in. 34.7 in. 34.3 in. 34.6 in. 37.7 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 13.6 cu. ft. 13.5 cu. ft. 13.4 cu. ft. 12 cu. ft. 14.2 cu. ft.


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Copyright © 2008