Cadillacs New CTS is a World-class Hit 

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2008 Cadillac CTS Road Test Review

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 $32,990, and that’s $540 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. There’s 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 car’s stance when viewed from behind.

Category:$30,000 to $40,000 Rear-wheel Drive Sedan
Who should buy this car:A family looking for a comfortable, upscale sedan with distinctive styling and plenty of performance.
Comparable models in this class:BMW 3-Series, Chrysler 300, Infiniti G35, Lexus IS350, Mercedes Benz C-Class
Previous Road Test2003 Cadillac CTS Road Test

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 that 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 $32,990, including destination. I drove several well-optioned models whose sticker prices were in the $43,000 range.

Warranty: Four years or 50,000 miles with a five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Standard Equipment (Partial list)

Major Available Options (Partial List, depends on model, some options are only available as part of a package, see your Cadillac dealer for details)

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