Cadillac CTS 2008: A perfectly balanced model
Cadillac is a symbol for big and luxury cars, and it found its place in songs, movies and pop-culture. But the conditions on the world market have changed and company started to make small cars. Not small as those vehicles when a tall driver has a problem with space, but smaller than their previous models. You know, what is small for Cadillac is quite big for some other manufacturers.
So, the Cadillac CTS was born and now we have pleasure to see a 2008 model, a second generation of CTS. While working on a new model engineers knew that Generation 1 was a successful model and they did their best in several segments: in performance, joy of ride and interior comfort. The development was long with the help of high-tech and low-tech, if we can call a test track at Germany's Nürburgring "low-tech". Well, it is lower to the ground so we'll call it that way.
First Cadillac CTS was good answer to Japanese and European invasion of small vehicles. It is one of the most popular Cadillac so the goal for the new one was to raise a bar to higher level, according to times and more demanding owners.
Cadillac CTS 2008 shines at three segments. First, V6 engine comes in two flavours: One has 3.6-liter that gives you 258 hp, and 3.6-liter DI (that stands for direct-injection) gives you even more - 304 horsepower. That power is transmitted to wheel via automatic or manual transmission, both of them with six speeds. If you want AWD, all wheel drive, do know that AWD model comes with smaller engine and automatic transmission only.
All that said, it is clear improvement over first generation's 3.2-liter with 220 hp from 2003, and that results in steady driving and acceleration on good and not so good roads. All tests on Nürburgring obviously gave the results because it is hard to push CTS over the limit, what clearly shows that CTS's suspension is really, really good. (You can end up in a tree, but if you're not suicidal you won't.)
New design is refined and much more nicer than Gen 1, by our opinion. Lines are clear; CTS looks strong, safe and reliable, while at the same it doesn't looks like "one of the many". Envious looks are guaranteed. When you sit in, the first thing you'll notice is - silence. Engineers did their best in eliminating all unwanted noise from V6 engine and they should get a rise for that. Noise suppressors are everywhere so you'll want to step on it little bit harder just to see that 304hp-sound.
On of the most important facts, for us, anyway, is comfort. If you are in your car for two or three hours a day, the exterior becomes less important than the interior. The cabin looks good. And I mean goood. While you can drive Cadillac CTS the sport way, its interior is luxury. Seats are very comfortable and keep you in place in every kind of turn. On the dashboard there is an LCD that rises from it and it shows audio information and navigational maps.
The navigation with high resolution maps do very good job: In combination with XM live reporting you'll see the traffic jam few miles ahead so you'll have enough time to turn to other direction. (That is the situation in the US, it remains to be seen how that will work in European countries.) The navigational system has everything you'd expect plus text-to-speech. Nice.
And when talking about music, you can save your favourite music to CTS's hard drive. Yes, CTS is Cadillac with hard drive. There are connectors for USB and iPod, and you can even rip your CD to CTS's hard disk. If you prefer FM, you'll enjoy in XM satellite radio with option of 60 minutes recording. Brilliant, I hate when I'm parking in from of my office and the talk show still lasts. Ten speakers from Bose support all that, and Bose is the name that needs no explanation. I'll just say that sound is well balanced and it covers every corner of the cabin.
What would be the final verdict? Cadillac CTS is small, but that is the company's definition. I'd say that CTS is great car and clear proof that vehicle doesn't need to be six meters long to be luxurious. CTS has good engine and you will enjoy every moment in its high-tech and good-looking cabin. ■