The first-generation CTS (2002-2007) helped re-establish Cadillac’s rear-wheel-drive performance credentials. The landmark CTS-V, a 400-horsepower specimen of power and precision, ushered in a new era of performance for both its drivers and the engineers who created it. With this in mind, the Cadillac team behind the 2008 CTS took to development roads in Germany, China and the U.S. intending to enhance the car’s power and performance in every way. The result is a machine capable of serious performance driving, while simultaneously delivering the panache unique to luxury sedans.
The 2008 Cadillac CTS features GM’s new 3.6L direct-injection V-6 VVT engine, delivering an estimated 300 horsepower (223 kW) and 270 lb.-ft. (366 Nm) of torque. This new powerplant is a compelling mixture of power, smoothness, efficiency and technical sophistication.
The 3.6L direct-injection engine will be the top-level engine option for the 2008 CTS, joining the existing 2.8L V-6 and 3.6L V-6. Designed to operate with regular unleaded gasoline, the new 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6 produces power similar to many V-8 engines, but with much better fuel economy. With direct injection, fuel is delivered directly to the combustion chamber to create a more complete burn of the air/fuel mixture. Less fuel is required to produce the equivalent horsepower, especially at normal cruising speeds, of a conventional port-injection combustion system.
For the first time, the 2008 CTS will be available in both rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations. Additionally, the transmission lineup now consists only of six-speed units – an Aisin six-speed manual or – new for CTS – a Hydra-Matic 6L50 six-speed automatic.
The 2008 CTS features a greatly revised chassis featuring a two-inch wider track and the application of all-wheel drive. The front track is increased to 61.8 inches (1569 mm), and rear track is now 62.0 inches (1575 mm). Wheelbase remains at 113.4 inches (2880 mm).
On the exterior, there’s no mistaking the five-passenger sedan’s stronger stance, thanks to a two-inch wider track. Additionally, the overall shape of the CTS features a faster profile with more rake, coupled with surfaces that add elegance and grace. Borrowing from Cadillac’s legendary heritage, design cues include vertically shaped headlights and taillamps, signature light emitting diode (LED) exterior lighting, horizontal spline lines and its dihedral-shaped hood, all highlighted with many bright and jeweled accents.
Inspired by Cadillac’s landmark Sixteen concept car, the CTS front appearance is immediately recognizable, yet also is new. The large, chrome dual-textured grille is significantly more vertical in shape, and is both aggressive and intricate. A large center-positioned wreath and crest add to the three-dimensional face. The front fascia is balanced with vertically stacked headlamps with bright bezels stacked in a staircase-like array. The lower air intake is flanked on both sides with fog lamps and brake duct intakes.
The new cabin utilizes Cadillac’s new “cut-and-sew” interior process that combines advanced technology with the hand-rendered precision of expert craftsmen. Coverings for components such as the instrument panel, center console and door trim are cut, sewn and wrapped by hand. This enables details such as decorative French stitching, and the near elimination of gaps and seams for a superbly tailored appearance. This is the same painstaking process applied to Cadillac’s limited-production STS-V and XLR-V models, and the revised 2007 SRX, bringing old-world craftsmanship into the heart of the luxury marketplace. The CTS also comes with lots of options like integrated iPod/MP3 capability, Easy Key™ system with Smart Remote Start, Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround™ audio system, DVD-based navigation with telescoping touch-screen, and Adaptive forward lighting system.