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
6Cyl 3.6 Liter Direct
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hp @6300 rpm
273 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm
5.9 sec (est.)
Price As Tested
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
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
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
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.