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Sixty8panther

2008 Cadillac CTS4 --- [ TEST DRIVE ]

41 posts in this topic

Review: 2nd Generation CTS

Most of you know that I have recently found employment in the automotive

business again. I am now working at a large Chevrolet-Cadillac dealer in

New Hampshire as a sales representative.

It's been a very busy week. I swapped in a 2007 Suburban LTZ for a very

selective lease customer & also sold XP715's girlfriend a gently-used 2005

Pontiac G6 with the sky-view roof.

Tomorrow is a really big day for me, more on that later. My computer is

being difficult but I wanted to share a quick review of the 08 CTS with all

of you fellow CheersAndGears members. As requested by several of you,

I took another quick drive in the white diamond 2008 Cadillac CTS 4 that

we received on Wednesday. This particular Caddy is loaded, it's a CTS-4

which designates AWD. It is powered by the much talked about natrually

aspired Direct Injection V6 which puts out 300+ horsepower and yet

displaces only 3.6 liters.

Another logistical issue was taking a joy ride in a car that has been under

a microscope since the second it came off the back of the car carrier. I

was the first salesman to take it out on Wed. morning, I had a legitimate

customer interested in the car. When I got back to the dealership two of

the big bosses were observing my customer's not so perfect parking job

from in front of the Atomic Orange Corvette Indy Pace Car behind the big

picture window on the second floor.

Well I drove the car and I have to tell you I was NOT dissapointed. A few

weeks ago Motor Trend pronounced, on the front page no less that the

all new 2008 CTS is the "best Cadillac in 50 years". At the time, I instantly

thought that the 1959, 1961 & 1967-1968 deVilles & 1967-1968 Eldorados

are much better cars, esp. in terms of styling, comfort and elegace.

Now my preferance for classic cars is not changing any time soon but I

will say that as far as a 2008 model year car the Cadillac CTS4 is a very

well priced and in some ways class leading car.

I wish I had the chance to REALLY open up the car on a "closed circuit"

but as it stands I can honestly say the car is powerful, sure footed and

more importantly luxurious in all the right ways. Brakes, steering, throttle

response & the awsome RWD chassis are tuned first and foremost to

go for BMW's throat while not giving up near-DTS style comfort.

What I loved:

- Instant throttle response

- Near-Northstar levels of horsepower and torque available at almost any RPM

- One of the cleanest designs since the 1960s.

- Knife edge styling inside & out

- Excellent mix of comfort & cornering ability engineered into the suspension

- Fits like a glove sports-sedan interior, cozy but not cramped

- Excelelnt ergonomics, a real driver's car

What I was not so impressed with:

- Ultra-view sunroof adds needless weight, cost and complexity

- Small trunk for a car of this size

- Rear seat access, door opening is a bit cramped for a Cadillac

- Plastic "RubberMaid Deluxe" engine cover & underhood dust covers

What I hated:

- Cheap look & feel of the power sun shade on the monroof, droops low like a canopy

These photos are very poor quality since I took them using my Razor phone.

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Edited by Sixty8panther
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I''ll take some photos with my digital camera on Monday.

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Edited by Sixty8panther
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I love the CTS, that or the CTS-V is my next car as I leave Pontiac far behind me. I'm not a big fan of white, does it come in black cherry or is that the STS, or both? I don't remember.

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Teehee, there's a good chance I've already sat in that exact car! haha

Good review, just another to go along with the portfolio. Everybody's going to love this car, except the engineers who are working on it haha.

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Teehee, there's a good chance I've already sat in that exact car! haha

Please do explain...

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I drove the 3.6 liter 258 hp awd version yesterday. I was really impressed. I'm a gearhead so I'm definitely getting the 300hp DI motor but the base motor was superior to the Audi A4, Mercedes new 350 sport, the Volvo S80. Linclon AWD Sedan I've driven lately.

Forgetting even the performance or good exterior looks. I thought the interior was stunning. Not to be a pia and disagree but the trunk space I saw in the new CTS was HUGE!

Congratulations on your new position.

I can't tell from the photos..whats your opinion of the 18 inch rims both in polished and painted versions?

JB

Edited by JBsZ06
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This car had polished rims and they looked FANTASTIC.

I guess in terms of trunk space it's not a fair to compare this to the last

three Cadillacs I've daily driven, the TWCC demo 1971 Sedan deVille,

my old (& XP's new) 1977 Coupe deVille & a 1986 Fleetwood Brougham.

Now THOSE have some serious trunk space. :yes:

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ugh, they didn't drop that stilly "4" suffix for awd? dumb! that's my only complaint so far with this car!

and get some pics of the ultraview sunroof you can? i'd like to see the cheapness you're talking about.

Edited by jbartley
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JBsZO6 - About the polished versus the painted wheels. I ordered the painted, figuring if they weren't shiny enough I could have them stripped and chromed for less than the polished option. When I got the car, I was very happy with the painted wheels. I'd describe them as "satin." They look very nice. I won't be having them chromed.

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cadillac will combine 'near DTS' comfort with 3 series capabilities. its what will distinguish caddy and set it apart from 'just a 3 series' or 'just an audi'

re: big ass moonroofs, i admire that they all think customers want them, and some do, but please also offer just the regular sized moonroof. On the edge, for example, I cannot get a plain SE or SEL with a regular sunroof. you gotta have the huge thing. I don't like the big ones because they let way too much sun in the car. the sunshades never are completely light blocking and are often flimsy. your interior will go toast fast and driving with sun rays in my face is not desired. i'd also rather prefer that the BAMR's get proven for awhile before I ante up for one.

The SRX had one of my favorite interiors this year at the auto show. so i know the CTS's will be good too. i liked the last gen 3 series interior a lot but the new 3 series and other BMW's have interior deficiencies. i am sure the CTS will stand out in relation to the economy car interior in the new 3 series.

interestingly enough, i saw a new c class on the road the other day. i had been warming up to them in pictures after initial 'no'. well, seeing them live re affirms my 'NO' big time. they look like econocars, a deliberate effort to dumb down the looks of the merc so the twentysomethings with their first paycheck will be attracted to them. they do not give off any sort of vibe about them that says 'expensive car' because they want to attract the image conscious young pups who might have money in the future, they just don't have any real wealth now. they look more like riced up lancers with merc badges on them for people who want to move up from japanese to german but don't really have anything on the personal balance sheet. they just now finally can get credit and still have enough money leftover for 4 different kinds of 'axe' in their shower.

the CTS will NOT have to take a backseat to the new Merc in the style dept.

Edited by regfootball
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I look forward to driving one as well, I need to be at the dealer for an inspection in a couple weeks so I hope they have one. I am a few years away from buying a car, but my step dad is kind of looking, although he has a V8 BMW which I suspect could mop the floor with a new CTS, so I don't know if he'd want one. He drove a G35 and thought it was crap.

I think Cadillac dropped the ball with the plastic on the grille and base wheels. If they spent and extra $1000 and raised the base price $1000 they could have fixed that. GM never wants to go the distance, they go 90% of the way and think it is good enough. To get ahead of the competition they need to go the distance, hold nothing back.

I fear the CTS's weight will be an issue, I read a review today where they tested it at Leguna Seca, and said even with the 304 hp engine, it wasn't enough to get up the long hill with any kind of excitement. To me, a 4000 lb car needs 300 hp base and about 380 optional to be competitive now, the CTS doesn't have that. I hope to buy a Cadillac as my next car, but I don't think the CTS is top of the class yet, I think they have crushed Lincoln, Volvo, Sabb, Acura, etc, but not yet taken down the big boys. Plus it is only 1 car, Cadillac needs 3-4 more vehicles that are fantastic to get their image back.

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I think Cadillac dropped the ball with the plastic on the grille and base wheels. If they spent and extra $1000 and raised the base price $1000 they could have fixed that. GM never wants to go the distance, they go 90% of the way and think it is good enough. To get ahead of the competition they need to go the distance, hold nothing back.

I fear the CTS's weight will be an issue, I read a review today where they tested it at Leguna Seca, and said even with the 304 hp engine, it wasn't enough to get up the long hill with any kind of excitement. To me, a 4000 lb car needs 300 hp base and about 380 optional to be competitive now, the CTS doesn't have that. I hope to buy a Cadillac as my next car, but I don't think the CTS is top of the class yet, I think they have crushed Lincoln, Volvo, Sabb, Acura, etc, but not yet taken down the big boys. Plus it is only 1 car, Cadillac needs 3-4 more vehicles that are fantastic to get their image back.

90% of the way? Please, the CTS is much farther than 90% of the way to being perfect. The plastic grill will be fine... most grills are plastic. Base wheels are base wheels... that's why there are optional ones that I suspect most people will get. Last I checked, the wheels on the base 3er and C-Class are nothing to write home about, either.

The CTS w/DI clocked 0-60 in 5.8s. That's plenty respectable.

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more proof that people won't look at a domestic until they put an s-class in a chevy showroom for 15 thousand bucks.

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I still don't see me trading in my BMW 330i for a CTS anytime soon. I bought a BMW because I wanted a driver's car...that does not appear to be the CTS's mission in life. That pump to set e-brake with a manual trans would drive me nuts. The Pontiac G8 stands a better chance of getting my money.

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90% of the way? Please, the CTS is much farther than 90% of the way to being perfect. The plastic grill will be fine... most grills are plastic. Base wheels are base wheels... that's why there are optional ones that I suspect most people will get. Last I checked, the wheels on the base 3er and C-Class are nothing to write home about, either.

The CTS w/DI clocked 0-60 in 5.8s. That's plenty respectable.

The CTS is a big improvement over the old one, but they still have more work to do. I am concerned about it overlapping classes in size and price, it is like the CTS was penalized because Cadillac has poor lineup planning. I also hope it doesn't become irrelevant in 2 years like what happened with the STS. The STS was made to catch up with the class, then everyone blew by them in a year and now the STS is on death row. The 320 hp Northstar was class competitive in 2005, now it is a joke, they better not repeat with the CTS. I think the DI V6 should be standard and a turbo with 360 hp should be optional. They have to get ahead of the class for once, or make a CTS hybrid, because the BMW and Lexus can beat it in gas mileage.

I've read 5.9 for a DI V6 with manual. A 2008 Honda Accord is 5.8 seconds, but comparing to cars in it's class, the 335i is 4.9 seconds 0-60. IS350, G35/G37, 535i are all 5.2-5.6 seconds.

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for me, the nice part of the CTS is it's human sized, the 3 series has always been too small for what I really want in a car, especially for driving around in cold winters and on crappy roads. you want something that is solid during inclement weather and takes the pounding on the suspension from frost heave and the effects of freezing on your shocks and stuff. the CTS is pretty close to 'right sized' albeit maybe a bit heavy....but check the curb weights of many of your German cars and they are all pretty heavy on average too. The 3 series may weigh less than a CTS but traditionally cars like the A4 and 3 series have been pretty small, too.

this is why something like an accord or camry would not feel substantial enough, it would feel like a wet noodle after a few years and who knows how many times you'd be in for suspension work. I've never known anyone to have to take in a caddy because it got beat up or was flimsy.....

Edited by regfootball
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The CTS is a big improvement over the old one, but they still have more work to do. I am concerned about it overlapping classes in size and price, it is like the CTS was penalized because Cadillac has poor lineup planning. I also hope it doesn't become irrelevant in 2 years like what happened with the STS. The STS was made to catch up with the class, then everyone blew by them in a year and now the STS is on death row. The 320 hp Northstar was class competitive in 2005, now it is a joke, they better not repeat with the CTS. I think the DI V6 should be standard and a turbo with 360 hp should be optional. They have to get ahead of the class for once, or make a CTS hybrid, because the BMW and Lexus can beat it in gas mileage.

I've read 5.9 for a DI V6 with manual. A 2008 Honda Accord is 5.8 seconds, but comparing to cars in it's class, the 335i is 4.9 seconds 0-60. IS350, G35/G37, 535i are all 5.2-5.6 seconds.

The STS is as good as dead, so the CTS having any overlap is not a concern. The CTS will not be irrelevant in two years... all of the competition is relatively new as well. G35, C-Class, 3er, IS all have been redesigned in the past couple of years. What's going to blow it out of the water? The A4 is about the only thing coming. Otherwise, we won't see anything else until ~2011 (new 3er). The STS was also not able to be considered competitive it's first year. It struggled to be mid-pack.

You are acting as though the CTS has not even come out. "They better not repeat with the CTS"... well, obviously they didn't because the CTS is without a doubt challenging for the class lead.

C&D or MT tested the CTS to 60 at 5.8, don't remember which. Who tested the Accord to 60 in 5.8? The C&D I read estimated 6.5. You think the normal person cares about .2-.6 in a 0-60? People don't race cars on the normal road most of the time. The CTS will be plenty fast for whoever is testing it, and only the real gearheads are going to care, and they'll go for the CTS-V, anyways.

Should there be something between the regular CTS and the V? Probably, but the UV8 is not ready yet, and what's the point of certifying the Northstar for a 2 years when it only has 16hp more than the 3.6 DI?

People buying $40k+ cars aren't that concerned about MPG.

"Only" going from 0-60 in 5.8 seconds and having a little bit of overlap with a slow-selling, uncompetitive product that's going to be going away soon does not make the CTS only "90% of the way to being perfect." The average person really doesn't give a $h! about drag racing in their luxury car. If they do, they get a V, M, AMG, etc.

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But what class is the CTS in? Is it in the 3-series/G35 class, or the 5-series class? Personally I think it is in 3-series class, some think it competes with the 5-series because they are the same size. Cadillac really needs a smaller car, because a CTS or 5-series sized car just can't accelerate or handle with a 3-series. The CTS wears too many hats, I suspect they'll nail it when they do the MCE, and have other cars in the lineup so the CTS can focus on it's real demographic.

Gas mileage does matter to people buying $40k cars. My mom buys luxury cars and drives about 24,000 miles per year, so gas mileage is a big concern. If it didn't matter, Lexus wouldn't make hybrids, and BMW/Mercedes wouldn't be planning hybrids. Although in Europe BMW has a car that gets 50 mpg and Mercedes is pretty advanced with diesels, so it is just a matter of making it for this market.

Cadillac needs the UV8 badly, I hope the engine is great because the new 5-series (with all new platform, not a carryover) comes out in 2 years and they are doing a twin turbo V8 with 408 hp and more fuel efficient than the current V8. But on the flip side, they also need a CTS that averages 25 mpg because of cars there is going to be a 5-series hybrid also and Lexus has hybrids, Mercedes diesels, etc.

What I really want to see is Cadillac step up an go head on with Lexus, BMW and Mercedes. They need a lot more products to do that. The CTS is the first step of getting out of the Acura, Lincoln, Volvo tier, now they need a product and technology assault to get up with the big 3.

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you want a lexus buy a lexus. if you want the same effect without buying a car, simply head over to the dentist and ask them to put you under. its a lot cheaper and the same kind of buzz.

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I had the pleasure of getting some time with a nearly identical car (in that devastating red) this past weekend.

While it certainly is stunning in the metal, I can't help but wonder about the positioning of this vehicle. At $45K+ for a loaded example, Cadillac is competing with some awfully tempting import nameplates.

I wonder about the ability to put current CTS drivers into the new car: from what I've heard, the new car prices out quite a bit higher per month than the outgoing model. Yes, it's a major leap forward, but abandoning existing customers is something that GM can't begin to afford.

Finally, does anyone else see the 300C/SRT8 as a viable alternative? More exclusive (SRT) or more affordable ©, and certainly more spacious. A thought.

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Finally, does anyone else see the 300C/SRT8 as a viable alternative? More exclusive (SRT) or more affordable ©, and certainly more spacious. A thought.

yeh, if you like commuting in a fast, yet scary plastic dungeon.

i think the CTS carries more exclusivity than a dodge anything.

Edited by jbartley
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CTS is getting a hybrid version as well as diesel. get over it. the engine choices in the CTS are not its fault. In fact, the car has no faults, as long as you don't want a 3-series. As you say, no matter how well engineered the CTS is, a car weighing 400 lbs more will not match a small athletic sedan of the 3's caliber. If that's what you want, and you want a Cadillac, you will have to wait for the Alpha Cadillac.

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Sixty8, pardon my asking, but what Cadillac dealership do you work for? The ones in my neck of the woods are Banks in Concord and Cantin in Laconia.

Just curious, I might have to come introduce myself at some point, seeing we share a state (mind you, one of the best) :P

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But what class is the CTS in? Is it in the 3-series/G35 class, or the 5-series class? Personally I think it is in 3-series class, some think it competes with the 5-series because they are the same size. Cadillac really needs a smaller car, because a CTS or 5-series sized car just can't accelerate or handle with a 3-series. The CTS wears too many hats, I suspect they'll nail it when they do the MCE, and have other cars in the lineup so the CTS can focus on it's real demographic.

SMK - last weekend's Toronto Star article, Jim Kenzie's review stated it was like buying a 5 series BMr at a 3-series price (don't quote me on that). Last week, we (as sales staff) had the opportunity to test drive the 328i against the CTS4 and I must say that although the BMr seemed to be great around the track, the interior I found rather sparse (not unlike an old Skoda). They brought the 3 series in as it was most comparable in price. When you compare the CTS against the 5 series BMW, however, it is almost the identical size.

In addition, they also included the Infinity G35 - likely the worst performer.

I can vouch for the versatility of the AWD system. We started on the track in a pool of soapy water to simulate ice and the guy giving me the signal warned me: "Hold on, cuz you're just gonna launch outta here". He wasn't too far wrong. By far the CTS4 was the fastest one of the group to pull away.

Definitely heavier than the CTS (rwd) but not in a sloppy way... more in a planted-on-the-ground-go-ahead-and-give-er kind of way :AH-HA_wink:

We got our first CTS4 on the lot last week and there has been a flurry of people in to see it already. Enjoyed reading this thread, it should be a great seller and I'm looking forward to getting a lot of people into this luxury car,

J

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