The Cadillac CTS is virtually all-new for 2008. Cadillac has moved the style, performance and in-car electronics way upmarket from the original CTS in an effort to be more competitive with the best of the imports, namely the BMW 530i, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus GS, Infiniti G35, and Audi A4.
The 2008 Cadillac CTS boasts major changes to the engines and chassis that upgrade performance. The CTS offers a choice of two V6 engines and a choice of either a newly designed six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual, making it the only American luxury car still available with a manual. The CTS comes with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
The front and rear tires are a full two inches farther apart in track width for 2008, so the general body shape is wider, and a great deal more aggressive looking, with exaggerated front and rear wheel flares.
In addition to the traditional 3.6-liter V6, there's a whole new 3.6-liter, 24-valve V6 engine with direct fuel injection that makes 15 percent more power. The new engine not only makes more power, it gets better fuel economy, even after adjusting for the new, stricter rules that the EPA is now using for fuel economy labeling.
Styling changes include a huge new grille and larger, more in-your-face light elements front and rear. It looks like it's hungry for red meat. Its new levels of grip, handling and steering were modeled after the BMW 530i sedan, and it was developed by the Cadillac engineers on BMW's home ground, the 14-mile, 73-turn Nurburgring circuit in Germany.
The new 2008 Cadillac CTS ($32,245) comes standard with a 263-horsepower V6. A 304-hp V6 ($1,000) is optional. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard; a six-speed automatic ($1,300) is optional. The CTS is rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel-drive ($1,900) is optional.
Every CTS comes with a basic package of 32 luxury, comfort, convenience and safety items including all the normal power assists, XM satellite radio, OnStar with turn-by-turn navigation, and a Bose eight-speaker sound system with CD, MP3 and auxiliary capability.
Options are many. The big one, called the Premium Luxury Collection ($8,015) includes a pop-up navigation and audio screen, a 10-speaker Bose 5.1 sound system with a 40-gigabyte sound storage system, an iPod interface that will operate your iPod from the touch screen and display artist and title info, 10-way heated and cooled leather seats, split folding rear seats, a huge sunroof panel, sapele wood trim, 17-inch alloy wheels, power tilt/telescope wheel, remote starting and keyless entry, and a few odds and ends.
Other options include an 18-inch wheel package ($1,740) with P235/50R18 tires, HID headlights and washers, limited-slip differential, sport suspension, heavy-duty cooling and fog lamps; metallic paint ($995), heavy-duty anti-lock brakes ($395); and a compact spare tire ($250). A performance tire package is available with P235/50ZR18 performance tires and alloy wheels, upgraded ABS, and the FE3 performance suspension ($1,240).
Safety features that come standard on all models include front, side and curtain airbags, ABS, traction control, and Stabiltrak electronic stability control. All-wheel drive improves safety further.