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makfu

Observations about 2008 FE3 CTS w/6 speed manual

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Okay, so I have had my new CTS for a few days (sorry, no new pictures yet) and I can make some general observations about the car:

1. If you are sport inclined, get the FE3 package. Don't be afraid of what some (MotorWeek) say about it being too rough as it isn't. Yes, it is fairly taut, roughly equivalent to the V-Series and a just a tad bit stiffer than the first year 03 CTS's sport suspension (though quite a bit stiffer than the 04 and later sport suspension, which I felt was overly soft). However, it is almost never harsh or jarring and is, IMHO, a fabulous balance between imparting luxury and still being seriously aggressive. It easily trumps the BMW 5 series sport suspension option in the NVH department and anything Mercedes has. It is a marvel of chassis tuning and engineering.

2. I don't know what the auto "Journalists" issues were with the manual trans, but the Asin-Warner 6 speed is light-years better than the Gutwrench (Getrag) and, frankly, is better than any Tremeck 6 speed. No, it isn't a short-throw toggle switch like in the Honda's, but it feels on-par with BMW's 6speed manuals, so if you like shifting your own gears, this is a fine transmission to do it with. The only thing to be aware of is that the clutch is fairly heavy compared to some of the featherweight clutches you run into on today’s manuals and, like all modern sticks, the clutch engagement is abrupt (this is true on virtually every BMW, Cadillac, Audi and Honda manual I have driven in the last 6 years). As with every CTS, pedal placement is excellent.

3. Get the DI 3.6 if you can swing it. While the regular 3.6 is a great engine, the extra power of the DI 3.6 really makes the car move with authority. The injector clicking is only audible from outside the vehicle and really is a complete non-issue (and is actually kind of neat when you realize what is actually going on under the hood). This engine has power virtually everywhere in the rev band. On the highway, you can pretty much stick to 6th for lazy passing. That said, get her up into the higher revs, and she pulls hard. At 120MPH, this car has lots of reserve power. Hitting 150+ seems fully plausible.

Overall, this is one very entertaining automobile. As with all Sigma architecture cars, it feels remarkably solid. As with each successive product built on Sigma, the chassis tuning and suspension setup has become ever more sophisticated.

Oh yeah, and you will look great, even when sitting in the shoulder in front of the police car that just pulled you over.

-Mak

08 CTS FE3 with 6 on the floor.

Edited by makfu
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Thanks for the review. You got me thinking now. :scratchchin:

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Sounds sweet...the more I read about the CTS with this engine/tranny/suspension combo, the more I want one...

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I'm still not sure the new CTS is for me...the G8 might be a better fit when it comes time to replace my 330.

Word of caution: I think Cadillac uses the same Summer Tires with FE3 that my BMW has, replacing 1 rear Michelin Pilot Sport tire cost me $350+!

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I'm still not sure the new CTS is for me...the G8 might be a better fit when it comes time to replace my 330.

Word of caution: I think Cadillac uses the same Summer Tires with FE3 that my BMW has, replacing 1 rear Michelin Pilot Sport tire cost me $350+!

$350?!?! The CTS I believe has 235/40/18, which are ~$250 at tirerack.com

Personally I'd say you might as well go with the Pirelli PZeros for that price. They are even more expensive ($285 for the CTS's size) but there's a reason the Gallardo, F430, R8, and countless other exotics are using them.

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makfu - you waited until the perscribed break in period written in the manual was reached BEFORE you took her to 120 MPH, right?

And - did the new CTS's looks get you out of the ticket?

Sweet review of a sweet car!

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>>"you waited until the perscribed break in period written in the manual was reached BEFORE you took her to 120 MPH, right?"<<

Cadillac has 'break-in' periods now? I'm almost surprised.

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$350?!?! The CTS I believe has 235/40/18, which are ~$250 at tirerack.com

Personally I'd say you might as well go with the Pirelli PZeros for that price. They are even more expensive ($285 for the CTS's size) but there's a reason the Gallardo, F430, R8, and countless other exotics are using them.

Yes, I looked when the BMW Service Manager called and quoted me the price (they already had the car, slow leak in tire). The warranty/maintenance plan includes anything BUT tires, naturally :AH-HA_wink: The 2005 Performance Package my 330i has came with 225/40-18s in front and 255/35-18s in the rear (all Z rated). One rear tire is $286 at tire rack plus shipping plus mounting, balancing on flange-less wheels, tire disposal and tax. Cost was close enough to be a wash and not worth the hassle. Plus BMW gave me a free loaner while they had my car. They did a nice job and didn't even scuff the rim in the process. But you're gonna pay if you wanna play in this performance class. Edited by BigPontiac
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Yes, I looked when the BMW Service Manager called and quoted me the price (they already had the car, slow leak in tire). The warranty/maintenance plan includes anything BUT tires, naturally :AH-HA_wink: The 2005 Performance Package my 330i has came with 225/40-18s in front and 255/35-18s in the rear (all Z rated). One rear tire is $286 at tire rack plus shipping plus mounting, balancing on flange-less wheels, tire disposal and tax. Cost was close enough to be a wash and not worth the hassle. Plus BMW gave me a free loaner while they had my car. They did a nice job and didn't even scuff the rim in the process. But you're gonna pay if you wanna play in this performance class.

LOL. That is exactly why I insisted on the tire warranty w/our purchase of the '07. With the rate that my girl strikes tire-destroying objects, there is no way I'm shelling out for 1 or 2 runflat replacements every year! Now it's the dealership's problem for the next 4 years!

Anyway, back on topic, I can't wait to get my CTS! (That's secretly why I let my significant other get her 3.....She can have the bone-jarring Hyundai-style ride, and I get to ride around Cadillac style!)

And Makfu's posts are definitely pushing me towards opting for the manual. She's a beaut, Makfu!

Edited by traderchpl
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$350?!?! The CTS I believe has 235/40/18, which are ~$250 at tirerack.com

Personally I'd say you might as well go with the Pirelli PZeros for that price. They are even more expensive ($285 for the CTS's size) but there's a reason the Gallardo, F430, R8, and countless other exotics are using them.

I'm running on P-zero's right now on my car. Personally, I thought the PS2 was a better tire, but the p-zero's are ok...

BP, that's quite a bit for those tires...I don't even spend quite that much (very close, but not that much) on PS2's and I'm running 285/30/19 in the rear and 255/35/19 in front.

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So you got pulled over already? :smilewide:

No. But I saw a silver 08 CTS pulled over, so I know it looks pretty good in front of a Crown Vic Interceptor . :AH-HA_wink:

-Mak

08 CTS FE3 with 6 on the floor.

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>>"you waited until the perscribed break in period written in the manual was reached BEFORE you took her to 120 MPH, right?"<<

Cadillac has 'break-in' periods now? I'm almost surprised.

Yeah, there is no prescribed break-in period. There wasn't one on my last Cadillac; there isn't one for this new one (at least not anywhere in the manual or according to the dealer techs). That said, I still follow the old rules during the first 500 miles of varying engine speeds, just out of habit.

Also, 120MPH is no big thing for this motor in 6th gear. Seriously, you will hit 100 and not even realize it.

My only real complaint about the car, so far, is that there is some noticeable induction noise when accelerating in a high gear (e.g. low RPM's). Other than that, the 3.6 DI is a pretty sweet motor and makes great upper-end noises.

-Mak

08 CTS FE3 with six on the floor.

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LOL. That is exactly why I insisted on the tire warranty w/our purchase of the '07. With the rate that my girl strikes tire-destroying objects, there is no way I'm shelling out for 1 or 2 runflat replacements every year! Now it's the dealership's problem for the next 4 years!

Anyway, back on topic, I can't wait to get my CTS! (That's secretly why I let my significant other get her 3.....She can have the bone-jarring Hyundai-style ride, and I get to ride around Cadillac style!)

And Makfu's posts are definitely pushing me towards opting for the manual. She's a beaut, Makfu!

The manual in this iteration of the CTS "feels" much more thoroughly integrated, right down to the little shift notification light (small enough not to be annoying, large enough to remind you that you that maybe you want to go to 6th). The fact that keyless ignition has the requisite manual interlock, is a good example that the manual was as much a first class citizen as the automatic, much more so than in the previous CTS.

If you like shifting your own gears then I would go for it. You won't be alone, as my dealer has sold (including mine) 3 08's with manuals - all special orders and all with the FE3 package (though only mine had all the luxo stuff too :) ). Pretty remarkable given that it's supposed to snow on Sunday :unsure: .

-Mak

08 CTS FE3 with six on the floor.

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No. But I saw a silver 08 CTS pulled over, so I know it looks pretty good in front of a Crown Vic Interceptor . :AH-HA_wink:

:lol: I thought you were having a little too much fun.

Were you who posted pics of that red CTS a few days ago? If so, we want more: the car is gorgeous! :AH-HA_wink:

Edited by ZL-1
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mak- does your car return the favor?

Indeed.

-Mak

08 CTS FE3 with six on the floor.

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:lol: I thought you were having a little too much fun.

Were you who posted pics of that red CTS a few days ago? If so, we want more: the car is gorgeous! :AH-HA_wink:

Yep, that would be the car.

-Mak

08 CTS FE3 with six on the floor.

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Okay, so I have had my new CTS for a few days (sorry, no new pictures yet) and I can make some general observations about the car:

1. If you are sport inclined, get the FE3 package. Don't be afraid of what some (MotorWeek) say about it being too rough as it isn't. Yes, it is fairly taut, roughly equivalent to the V-Series and a just a tad bit stiffer than the first year 03 CTS's sport suspension (though quite a bit stiffer than the 04 and later sport suspension, which I felt was overly soft). However, it is almost never harsh or jarring and is, IMHO, a fabulous balance between imparting luxury and still being seriously aggressive. It easily trumps the BMW 5 series sport suspension option in the NVH department and anything Mercedes has. It is a marvel of chassis tuning and engineering.

2. I don't know what the auto "Journalists" issues were with the manual trans, but the Asin-Warner 6 speed is light-years better than the Gutwrench (Getrag) and, frankly, is better than any Tremeck 6 speed. No, it isn't a short-throw toggle switch like in the Honda's, but it feels on-par with BMW's 6speed manuals, so if you like shifting your own gears, this is a fine transmission to do it with. The only thing to be aware of is that the clutch is fairly heavy compared to some of the featherweight clutches you run into on today’s manuals and, like all modern sticks, the clutch engagement is abrupt (this is true on virtually every BMW, Cadillac, Audi and Honda manual I have driven in the last 6 years). As with every CTS, pedal placement is excellent.

3. Get the DI 3.6 if you can swing it. While the regular 3.6 is a great engine, the extra power of the DI 3.6 really makes the car move with authority. The injector clicking is only audible from outside the vehicle and really is a complete non-issue (and is actually kind of neat when you realize what is actually going on under the hood). This engine has power virtually everywhere in the rev band. On the highway, you can pretty much stick to 6th for lazy passing. That said, get her up into the higher revs, and she pulls hard. At 120MPH, this car has lots of reserve power. Hitting 150+ seems fully plausible.

Overall, this is one very entertaining automobile. As with all Sigma architecture cars, it feels remarkably solid. As with each successive product built on Sigma, the chassis tuning and suspension setup has become ever more sophisticated.

Oh yeah, and you will look great, even when sitting in the shoulder in front of the police car that just pulled you over.

-Mak

08 CTS FE3 with 6 on the floor.

Hey....hope you enjoy the car...!

I have an '07 CTS Sport.....the one with the 18-inch wheels, Bridgestone Potenza tires, "performance" brakes, suspension, and steering gear......and compared to an '08 FE3 I drove, I'd compare the suspension compliance/feel very close to MY '07 Sport and a tad more resiliant than a v-series. (The "Sport" I have has the stiffest suspension settings of the '07s short of a v-series. There are the base suspension, the upgraded suspension with the 17-inch tires "sport" package, then there's mine which is stiffer still.) Even with this suspension setup, my car still has a pretty creamy ride on the freeway....but almost a total lack of float or wallow...and very little body roll. A nice compromise.

I haven't driven the new manual, but my car also has the Aisin 6-speed manual and it's super-smooth to shift from gear-to-gear. V-series with the Tremec are much bulkier to shift....reminding me of my Corvette i used to have. My Sport feels almost Honda or BMW-smooth to shift. I don't think they ever used a Getrag. Maybe with the original 3.2L V6?

The only complaint that I have is the fact that my car with the "old" 3.6L doesn't like to rev through the gears like a modern DOHC/24-valve V6 should. I'm hoping the new DI engine will be better here. In fact, many times, my car seems to rev more like an old GM pushrod V6.....doesn't scream for the redline like the BMWs I've had, or other import V6 engines. GM probably tried to take this engine and tune it more for low-end and mid-range torque delivery......which it DOES do well. It just takes away some of the fun of having this car in a stick-shift. I tend to short-shift alot and drive on the torque.

Good luck!

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O.C. it would be really interesting to drive our cars back to back and compare the differences.

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Personally I'd say you might as well go with the Pirelli PZeros for that price. They are even more expensive ($285 for the CTS's size) but there's a reason the Gallardo, F430, R8, and countless other exotics are using them.

I HATED that tire . After about 5K miles this tire got hard as rock , my car rode so bad when tread was about 1/2 used . Dry handling is good , but it hydroplaned easily and was horrible in the rain . Treadlife was bad even for a performance summer tire The P zero's came on my SS . The PS2 and the Goodyear FI GSD3 are much better in nearly all aspects , with the nod going to the D3( only because it sticks good in the rain too ) .

Congrats on the new CTS . I know if I had a FE3 , manual trans CTS it would easily rack up ALOT of miles :D Enjoy!

Edited by silverss/sc
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O.C. it would be really interesting to drive our cars back to back and compare the differences.

Yeah....would be interesting.

I think after having my car with the manual, I can see what C&D says about the car being better suited to the excellent auto. That being said, I'd probably still buy the new one with the manual....cause I'm such a stick-shift junkie and love driving one......

I will say this....in my car in 2nd or 3rd gear, if you really push it up through the revs, the power is quite damned impressive. This is certainly not a weak engine. It's just that it seems to take forever to rev up to the redline. But if you stay in it, it really rocks.

With the BMW example, my 330 convertible was heavy, and only had 225hp (2004 model) but it felt way sportier to drive than the CTS.....almost like it would rev so quickly to redline you'd be bumping into the rev limiter it was that quick and smooth to rev. With the CTS, I almost never make it to redline because it just doesn't like to rev in the same way.

But I still love my car 1.5 years into it.

Hey....Oldsmoboi....u ever have any rattle problems in your car? My car has 30,000 miles on it...and actually the chassis is as tight as day one. However, I have 2-3 really annoying rattles that have crept up somewhere in the body.....one in front (A-pillar area?) and one in the back (parcel shelf area?) and the dealer has a tough time finding out what's causing them....and the sunroof creaks annoyingly if you for example at slow speeds pull into a parking lot at an angle and you flex the body like going over a minor speed bump at an angle, etc.

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