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2008 Cadillac CTS w/1SA 4dr Sedan

2008 Cadillac CTS
Trim Info:
Rear Wheel Drive, 4 Door Sedan, Mid-Size
17 mpg city / 25 mpg hwy
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Expert Reviews

November 18, 2009 by Alison Lakin, Associate Editor

2008 Cadillac CTS 1
2008 Cadillac CTS

DriverSide Overview
As the car declared to have revived the Cadillac nameplate in 2003, we expected great things from the second generation CTS. Luckily, it seems the Cadillac engineers and design teams weren’t about to lay waste to the acclaim and have produced an even better version of their definitive American luxury sedan. Cadillac has done away with the underpowered 2.8-liter V-6 and added a direct injection 3.6-liter V-6 to the line up. We think it’s not a bad trade. Other new features for 2008 include an interior and exterior redesign and an all-wheel drive option. The finely appointed cabin features one of the best available navigation systems in the class and technology throughout the car tops its German rivals.

What's to Like
The responsive new direct injection engine has a reported 0-60 mph time of 5.8 seconds. Navigation system is state of the art and other tech features give the German competition a run for their money. 

What's Not to Like
Passengers will only fit in the rear via shoehorn application. Rear visibility is poor out and the side mirrors are too small to be very useful. Storage space within the cabin is at a premium, especially in the center console and glove box.

The Drive:
DriverSide Driving Impressions

Without hesitation, we can say that the CTS drives better than any Cadillac we’ve ever driven – though that list regrettably doesn’t contain the monstrous 2009 CTS-V. The direct injection V-6 produces loads of power, giving you a slight head snap if you floor it off the line. At speed, the sedan feels solid with non-existent wind noise, though if you opt for the 18-inch wheels, you’ll hear the whirr of the road. The agile chassis controls the car in corners and does a fine job of restricting body roll. The CTS features independent front and rear suspension, which smoothes over the worst America’s roads have to offer. Rack-and-pinion steering is the only issue with this setup; it’s too light for tight cornering and feels a bit floppy at the end of turns. The other engine, a 3.6-liter with port fuel injection, isn’t nearly as fun as the direct injection. We feel it is marginally equipped to handle the CTS’s weight. Then again, at 263 horsepower, it can’t help but look puny next to the DI engine’s 304 horsepower.

Engine and Drivetrain
The CTS sports two V-6 engines. The first, a port fuel injected 3.6-liter V-6 gives you 263 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque. The other (and the one we’d take home) is a direct injection 3.6-liter V-6 that delivers 304 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Each is available with all-wheel drive in addition to the standard rear-wheel drive, and each is mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. 

Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
The double moonroof is an immediate attention-grabber. Usually reserved for larger vehicles, this moonroof spans from the front to rear, giving passengers a sky view from every seat. Rain-sensing windshield wipers help keep your mind on more important matters and the seats have optional heating and cooling. The audio system has a Pause and Play feature, which allows you to rewind and pause live AM, FM and XM radio broadcasts to play later.

Key Technology Evaluation
A gorgeously designed eight-inch navigation screen ascends from the dash once the car is turned on and can be lowered again with a touch of a button. It responds to voice command as well as touch, but its neatest tricks are weather information in your current area or along your route and XM real-time traffic. The later will add red, green or yellow dots along roads to indicate any traffic problems.

Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
Even with an extra 40 horsepower, the CTS’s direct injection engine manages the same fuel economy as the port fuel injected model: 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. These numbers are identical in rear-wheel and all-wheel drive form as well. For the fuel-conscious, a heads-up display tracks your average and instant fuel economy. The CTS receives a LEV-II emissions rating.

A Closer Look:  Vehicle Details

The exterior design is all edges and angles, but the interior softens into fluid arches and rounded lines. The center stack features an elegant analog clock, chrome-rimmed instrument gauges and individual climate control displays for passenger and driver.

This is the star of the show in our opinion. The original design revived the Cadillac name and the new model provides a crisper, more angular take on the trope and adds a nice oomph to the other run-of-the-mill models in the segment. Vertical headlights and an imposing grille emblazoned with the Cadillac crest dominant the edgy design. The new model has grown 1.5 inches in length, making the CTS one of the longest in its class and 13 inches longer than a BMW 335i.

Market Segment and Pricing
The base CTS starts at $34,420 and the direct injection engine hits $36,720. This brings the sedan into the company of the BMW 3-Series, Lexus ES 350, Infiniti G35, Acura TL, Nissan Maxima, Volvo S60, Mercedes-Benz C Class and Audi A4. Expensive options may see the CTS bumping up against the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series and Volvo S80 as well.

What We Think
From the top of the line infotainment system to the plethora of luxury options available, we think Cadillac has outdone itself once again with the CTS. Improved drive quality and a sharply updated exterior give the CTS a hefty push toward the future. Who would think this much performance and style could come out of Michigan?

Other Resources

Consumer Guide Auto Review – Consumer Guide Auto Review Source:

CNet Review – Currently, the cheapest Cadillac is the best one you can buy. Source:

New Car Test Drive Preview – The next-generation Cadillac CTS promises more horsepower, optional all-wheel-drive, an impressively finished benchmark interior and one large dose of style. Source:

Forbes Autos Review – Cadillac revamps one of its most important models with more refined looks inside and out. Source:

Automobile Magazine Review – Automobile Magazine Review Source:

US News Rankings – Cadillac CTS - What the Auto Press Says Source:

Motor Trend First Drive: 2008 Cadillac CTS – Ring master: Born and bred in Detroit; brought to life on the Nurburgring Nordschleife Source:

New York Times Review – Ready for Download: CTS 2.0 Source:

Motor Trend Car of the Year – Of The Year: Cadillac CTS - 2008 Motor Trend Car of the Year Video Source:

Long Term Update 1: 2008 Cadillac CTS – "The CTS'S sat/nav is one of the best in the business," claims editor-in-chief Angus MacKenzie, who adds, "great packaging and great graphics, but more important, it's not merely passive-you get real-time traffic updates and you can glance at the col Source:

Cadillac Forum – Interact with the Cadillac community on the Cadillac forums. Source:

Long Term Update 2: 2008 Cadillac CTS – Motor Trend Online editor Michael Floyd still feels the same way he did when he voted for our 2008 Car of the Year, the 2008 Cadillac CTS.Online editor Michael Floyd just spent four days in our 2008 Car of the Year, and he still feels the same way he Source:

Long Term Update: 2008 Cadillac CTS – "Horsepower is more than ample, and the transmission never misses a beat.""I spent a weekend in the CTS while apartment hunting and came away impressed," says editorial assistant Carlos Lago. "Horsepower is more than ample, and the transmission never Source:

Verdict: 2008 Cadillac CTS – Verdict: 2008 Cadillac CTSPutting America Back in the Luxury-Car BusinessThe last time Cadillac could properly be regarded as "the Standard of the World," Elvis was still wearing blue suede shoes. Well, Elvis has been dead more than 30 years now, and Source:

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