tCE 2008 CTS Review

Part 1 – Overall impressions
Part 2 – Interior and Storage
Part 3 – Electronics and Entertainment – Part 1
Part 3 – Electronics and Entertainment – Part 2
Part 4 – Ride and Drive
Image Gallery

tCE 08 CTS ReviewCadillac graciously loaned one of their new 2008 CTS’ to the Caddy Edge so we could get a look at their latest and offer up our review.

Most of us are quite familiar with the original CTS, which introduced the driving public to the new Art & Science face of Cadillac. Facet-ed sheet metal inspired by a mix of stealth fighters and Cadillacs of the past (including nods to stacked headlights and tailfins). Interior design was equally edgy if not quite as successful with inspiration taken from desktop computers and possessing some of the highest quality plastics GM had ever offered – though not quite up to other companies’ level.

Developed on the Nurburgring in Germany – the CTS was a credible competitor to sports sedans from the established import luxury players. As such, it attracted a huge and loyal following unlike anything from a domestic luxury brand in decades.

Now, we’re 5 years later and follow-ons to the CTS like the XLR roadster, STS, latest Escalade, and more have carried Cadillac into the public consciousness as a legitimate and equal player in many segments to the likes of BMW, Mercedes, and Audi.

Can the sequel come close to matching the original? Can it address the complaints without losing the edge that made the original such a success?

After spending some days behind the wheel – the answer is an unqualified ‘yes’.

Just to start, the particular CTS I drove was equipped with:

3.6l Direct Injection V-6 (304hp)
6-speed automatic transmission
All-wheel drive
Ultraview sunroof
Nav system with 40GB hard drive, XM, XM Traffic Nav, etc.
Thunder Gray with Light Titanium interior
18″ wheels with all-season tires
Limited service spare tire
Sport brakes

Now, let’s talk about the styling for a moment. I have been worried that the essential flair of the original CTS would be lost in a bid to add more curves to the design.

I shouldn’t have worried.

tCE CTS Front Quarter

You really get a feel for this car, much like the original CTS, when washing it. The angular lines and planar surfaces (especially the trunk lid, and front and rear windscreens) are all there en force. However, the muscular fenders, sharper front end, etc. all serve to update the design nicely and telegraph in no uncertain terms that this is a serious sport-luxury sedan.

Gaps above the 18″ Michelin Pilots are almost unbelievably small – practically show-car small. Nice.

tCE CTS front lightpipe

The ‘light-pipe’ running lights are just as cool as I had hoped, highlighting the outside of the headlights and the inner edge of the taillights very nicely.

tCE CTS Interior

The most radical upgrade has to be the interior. Where the original CTS was accused, rightfully so, of trying a bit too hard to be ‘tech-y’ inside – the new car is simply exactly what it should be. Swooping lines, expensive/soft-touch materials, metallic finishes, understated wood trim all come together in an excellent theme that just works.

Next up, interior room, seating, and storage…