Cadillac goes back to the drawing board for the 2008 Cadillac CTS and completely redesigns it in an attempt to keep up with its German and Japanese competitors. Many of the first generation’s shortcomings have been fixed with this version, but a few of the flaws remain.
The main difference with the entry-level sedan concerns the completely redone interior, which gives it more of the elegance expected from Cadillac. Anybody who looks inside notices the difference. Buyers choose from carbon fiber or real wood accents. The redesign gives the whole car the look of a European luxury sedan.
Cadillac’s engineers also improve the powertrain and suspension to increase driving performance. Cadillac only needs to work out a few bugs to make a real winner out of the revamped CTS. Cadillac definitely emerges as a serious contender in the sport sedan category with this model.
Body Styles: sport sedan
Engines: 3.6-liter V-6
Transmissions: six-speed manual, six-speed automatic
Models: Cadillac CTS
Almost everything on the CTS gets revamped for 2008. For starters, Cadillac adds a new body along with wheels that have two more inches of track width to increase performance. The V-6 engine also provides a new option for the CTS. The direct-injection engine provides more horsepower and torque.
The biggest changes show up inside the vehicle. In addition to a better-looking cabin, it offers more legroom in the back, thanks to slimmer seats. A new telescoping steering column gives the driver more space as well. The 40-GB Bose surround system also adds a new feature.
The exterior looks far more stylish than its predecessor. A very distinctive, new grille and fender flares establish this car’s identity as a Cadillac. A large sunroof and other features make driving more comfortable.
The 2008 Cadillac CTS’s cabin does not look as stylish as that of the Audi A4 or the BMW 3 Series. Instead, it remains a little more basic with leatherette seating and more legroom. The steering wheel and the back seats have been redesigned to provide more space for passengers and driver alike. The 40-GB Bose Surround sound system lets drivers download and store digital music and connect their MP3 players. It also remembers and saves satellite radio programs so drivers never miss their favorite radio show.
The interior furnishings look cheap and a little tacky. They have the plastic feel that GM cars sported in the 1980s and 1990s. A little more leather and polished wood could improve this.
Performance & Handling
Performance and handling improves in the 2008 CTS, but it doesn’t measure up to the German sedan level because of the car’s size. Both the steering and handling seem very clunky. The CTS’s size takes away a lot of the advantages of a sport sedan, including some maneuverability. It doesn’t feel as nimble as the Audi A4, but the direct-injection version offers a lot of power, so it keeps up with the traffic on the freeway. Both the automatic and manual transmissions shift quickly and easily.
Anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, front-seat airbags, side curtain airbags, and GM’s proprietary OnStar communications system come standard with all CTS models. All-wheel drive remains available as an option.
EPA Fuel Economy
Cadillac CTS: 17/26 mpg city/highway
- Elegant design
- Great-looking new body
- Redesigned cabin with more legroom
- Better handling and engine performance
- Impressive Bose surround system
- Great gas mileage for a sport sedan
- Cool-looking navigation screen that retracts into the dash
- Comfortably seats four
You Won't Like
- Lower performance than the average sport sedan
- Subpar steering and handling
- Cheap and tacky cabin furnishings
- Larger size impedes maneuverability
Cadillac makes impressive improvements to this sport sedan, but it still hasn’t caught up with its German competitors.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Lexus IS250
- Infiniti G35
- Mercedes-Benz C300
- BMW 3 Series
- Audi A4