CARMEL, Calif. The fact that Cadillac invited auto writers to experience the 2008 CTS by driving it around the Laguna Seca road course speaks volumes about how the brand in general, and the CTS specifically, has changed.
On the track or on the road, the new CTS challenges competitors such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus without apology. The CTS is the pinnacle of a Cadillac product renaissance that began with the original CTS in 2003, and it may be the best car in all of GM.
The CTS with the 3.6-liter V-6 has a base price of ,990, and thats 0 less than the 2007. Standard features include a Bose stereo with eight speakers, the Stabilitrak vehicle stability program, tire-pressure monitoring system, 17-inch wheels and handcrafted accents for the cabin.
The base 3.6-liter engine with variable valve timing has 263 horsepower, while a direct-injection version of the same engine produces 304 horses. The transmission is a six-speed automatic that can be shifted manually. Option packages include all-wheel drive and two sport suspensions that put the CTS on par with the best from Europe and Japan.
The cars used for lapping Laguna Seca were equipped with the 304-horsepower, direct-injection engine and the firmest suspension. The CTS was solid and composed in the high-speed twists and turns that make up this famous ribbon of asphalt.
On the choppy pavement that snakes east through Carmel Valley, the CTS with the sports suspension was a bit harsh. The base suspension is more comfortable for everyday use.
The direct-injection engine is the most fun because of its added horsepower, but the base engine performs with more than adequate lan. The 263 horsepower is spread over a wide powerband, and the engine felt smooth and quiet. To quell noise, Cadillac put sound-deadening panels around the engine and sealed the hood opening with a rubber seal like that found on the doors.
The direct fuel injection makes a slight ticking noise that is barely audible with the hood shut.
The 08 CTS reflects years of hard work and homework by Cadillacs engineers and designers. The styling is lean and clean. Theres a hint of forward movement throughout the design even while the car is standing still. Fat fender flares cover the wheels, and the rear fenders taper toward the trunk to accentuate the cars stance when viewed from behind.
The CTS interior is the best ever from General Motors. Fit and finish are excellent throughout. The heavily textured covering for the top of the instrument panel, door panels and center console is cut, wrapped and stitched by hand. French stitching is a nice accent. Three gauge pods rest under a small hood, and the center stack is covered with brushed aluminum. Tasteful strips of woodgrain trim highlight the dash and door panels.
A large, double sunroof will be available.
Night interior lighting uses subtle LEDs to highlight various parts of the cabin. An optional lighting package consists of LEDs that emit a soft glow from the bottom edge of the wood trim, a feature found up to now only on cars such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
On the road, the CTS is extremely quiet. Triple door seals and a windshield with no visible seal help reduce wind noise.
The CTS embodies a host of technological features that include a 40-gig hard disc not only stores music but also allows the listener to pause the radio for up to 60 minutes and resume listening without a break. A surround-sound stereo is optional.
A navigation screen pops up from the center of the dash, and its display is easy to read and use. Voice activation is included. It displays real-time traffic information via XM satellite radio. The CTS has a single-slot DVD video system that enables DVDs to be viewed when the cars transmission is in Park.
Other CTS features include a heated windshield washer system, rear ultrasonic park assist, heated and ventilated front seats and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column.
Prices: The base price is ,990, including destination. I drove several well-optioned models whose sticker prices were in the ,000 range.
Warranty: Four years or 50,000 miles with a five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Standard Equipment (partial list)
258 horsepower 3.6 liter V6 Engine
6 speed manual transmission
P235/55R17 H all-season tires
Painted alloy wheels
4 wheel ventilated disc brakes with ABS
Dual front side-mounted airbags
Front and rear head airbags
Tire pressure monitoring
Leatherette seating surfaces
8-way power driver seat
Remote power door locks
4 one-touch power windows
Heated power mirrors
Tilt and telescopic steering wheel
Dual zone climate controls - driver and passenger
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Simulated wood trim on dash, console and door panels
AM/FM in-dash single CD player with CD MP3 Playback stereo with 8 speakers
OnStar w/Turn-by-Turn Navigation telecommunications service
Major Available Options (Partial List, depends on model, some options are only available as part of a package, see your Cadillac dealer for details)
High Output 304 horsepower V6 engine with direct injection
6 speed shiftable automatic transmission
Premium Luxury Collection Includes: AM/FM radio with CD/DVD player, MP3 playback, Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround Sound 300-Watt 10-speaker system, Radio Data System (RDS), USB and audio connectivity, 40GB hard drive device (HDD), steering wheel controls, HDD-based navigation system with XM NavTraffic/Real Time Weather, leather seating surfaces, 8-way power passenger seat adjuster, heated and ventilated front seats, 2-way power driver and front passenger lumbar control, memory package with 2 driver presets for seat, exterior mirrors and driver personalization, split-folding rear seat, power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, real Sapele Pommele wood trim on the steering wheel, shift knob, instrument panel, center console and doors, universal home remote, Ultrasonic rear parking assist, UltraView double-sized power glass sunroof with express open, tilt-slide and power sunshade, heated windshield washer fluid system, Rainsense wipers, LED accent lighting, 17"x8" machined-faced aluminum wheels and theft-deterrent alarm system with EZ Key passive entry with remote engine start.
Performance Collection Includes: leather seating surfaces, 8-way power passenger seat adjuster, heated front seats, 2-way power driver and front passenger lumbar control, memory package with 2 driver presets for seat, exterior mirrors and driver personalization, heated windshield washer fluid system, Xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, headlamp washers, adaptive forward lighting system, limited slip differential, 18"x8" aluminum wheels with premium multi-coat painted finish, P235/50R18 V-rated all-season blackwall tires, sport suspension and performance cooling system.
GPS Navigation system
18 inch performance wheels and tires
Wood trim package (real Sapele Pommele wood)
For more information on the Cadillac CTS, visit Cadillac.com
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