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L.A. Times: Dan Neil Reviews the CTS

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Here are a few paragraphs from Dan Neil's review of the Cadillac CTS:

My favorite piece of recent movie dialogue comes from the animated tour de force "Ratatouille." The ruthless food critic Anton Ego has just had his heart melted by the little rodent chef at Gusteau's, causing him to reevaluate his work, his purpose: "In many ways the work of a critic is easy," he writes in his column. "We risk very little and enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. . . . But there are times when a critic risks something and that is in the discovery and the defense of the new."

So here's a new thought, worthy of defending: Cadillac makes a better car than BMW or Mercedes or Lexus or Infiniti, and that car is the 2008 CTS. No other car in the mass market, with so much at stake for its makers, dares so much as this expressive and audacious bit of automotive avant-gardism. In a segment that lives and dies by European benchmarks, the CTS sets fire to the bench and throws it through the shopkeepers' window.

I've climbed all over the CTS and everywhere I found things to admire. Under the hood, the strut-tower brace is a lovely bow of brushed aluminum, cast in one piece with the connective braces. The tail lamps feature a crazy glowing filament, an optical fiber as thick as your pinkie. The front suspension lower control arms are beautiful alloy castings. The switchgear is artfully integrated into the consoles instead of being plunked into the cockpit in big ugly rectangles. I especially like the personal climate controls that live in the console rail by the dash, and the premium French stitching (real thread!) on the leather-like dash and door panels. The people who built this car clearly scored victory over victory over the folks in accounting.

The base price for the CTS is $32,990 (equipped with a 3.6-liter, 263-hp V6) but the car doesn't really come into its own until it gets the optional 304-hp, 3.6-liter V6: a direct-injection engine, the first for Cadillac (though Audi has had the technology for years). The bigger engine adds an additional $1,550. Our test car was equipped with the stouter engine, mated to GM's own six-speed automatic with manual-shift mode; and the $2,980 summer tire package, including: directional HID (high intensity discharge) headlamps, 18-inch alloy rims, Michelin Sport Pilot 2 tires, limited-slip differential and stiffer springs, firmer struts and bigger anti-roll bars to tie it all together. With the exotic audio/navigation system including a 40-gig hard drive on board, our tester retailed at $45,105. That's a huge amount of car for the money.

For now, it's time to celebrate. Cadillac has built a ripping car here -- fast, fun, exuberant in style and substance. To the extent that imitation of one product concedes the superiority of another, the CTS surrenders not an inch. It feels like a fundamentally self-defined car. Chalk one up for the home team.

Full article:

Linky

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There's my new sig

In a segment that lives and dies by European benchmarks, the CTS sets fire to the bench and throws it through the shopkeepers' window.
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Now can we start a 'Death Watch' series for the media bias dragon?

What a shock. GM puts out creative, unique, solid vehicle. Glowing reviews follow.

And small correction: The LA Times isn't anti-GM, California is!

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Now can we start a 'Death Watch' series for the media bias dragon?

What a shock. GM puts out creative, unique, solid vehicle. Glowing reviews follow.

And small correction: The LA Times isn't anti-GM, California is!

For the last time.. no!

There are still plenty of "head up our asses" reviews out there. GM doesn't have to win every review, the review just has to be fair.

You didn't see us getting up in arms when the malibu placed 3rd in one review because even though it didn't win, the review was still fair.

It's the unfair ones we're pissed at.... and they are still out there..... like that USAToday review of the Malibu.

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Giving credit where it is due is the sign of acceptance, that does not mean that the reviewers are pro GM again.

Like finding itzy bitzy faults and harping them to death, and still mentioning not so good predecessors of current GM vehicles is still a trait going on with the media.

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Now can we start a 'Death Watch' series for the media bias dragon?

What a shock. GM puts out creative, unique, solid vehicle. Glowing reviews follow.

And small correction: The LA Times isn't anti-GM, California is!

Ha ha yup, and don't forget about GM's "crappy" products snagging 4 nominations in the 2008 North American Car and Truck of the year...take that Anti-GM media!!!!

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Wow! I'm floored! (Seriously, I am)

Maybe Dan Neil isn't such an asshole after all....

NAH! I'm sure he still is. But thanks for admitting defeat anyway Mr. Neil.

The bias still exists, like I've said and will continue to say, a few good reviews will not make up for years of destroying our industry.

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It's the unfair ones we're pissed at.... and they are still out there..... like that USAToday review of the Malibu.

That is 100% GM's fault for not having a properly inspected and completely 100% operational car available for media drives.

Assuming the gentleman wasn't making up the incidents, all of those cars should have been perfect. Better to keep writers out of the cars than to have less than perfect examples for review. The GM PR machine failed, not the author of the article. When you have such a narrow margin for error, you must have every controllable aspect taken care of first and foremost. GM clearly didn't.

I'd fire every staffer that was present and didn't pull those cars that were misbehaving---there's just no excuse. The test cars are generally run hard and fast---they should have been prepared with multiple vehicles and a pit crew of engineers and mechanics.

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If there's nothing for someone to complain about in a car (like the CTS), then they really can't write a review that bashes it. GM's other cars aren't quite as good, hence they have stuff to bash them for (see Malibu: no NAV, no dual-zone climate, no 6-speed on the 4cyl yet, no bluetooth, etc).

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If there's nothing for someone to complain about in a car (like the CTS), then they really can't write a review that bashes it. GM's other cars aren't quite as good, hence they have stuff to bash them for (see Malibu: no NAV, no dual-zone climate, no 6-speed on the 4cyl yet, no bluetooth, etc).

Oh, you mean like when Car and Driver tested the 3-series against the G35, CTS, and some others... and the BMW broke down on them 3 times; one of which was an ABS system failure which sent them into a spin.... but it still took 1st place and they still sung it's praises.....

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Oh, you mean like when Car and Driver tested the 3-series against the G35, CTS, and some others... and the BMW broke down on them 3 times; one of which was an ABS system failure which sent them into a spin.... but it still took 1st place and they still sung it's praises.....

That's two different things. Obviously, all 3-Series don't break down three times in one test-period. If they did, they wouldn't sell like they do. The Malibu, on the other hand, lacks NAV, bluetooth, dual-zone climate, etc., whether you want them or not. The Malibu lacks those features, period. Not all 3-Series break down all the time. I'm guessing since that is a rare occurrence they gave it a pass and looked at the vehicle when it was in working condition. Almost all vehicles break down at some point, after all. Not saying the 3-Series should have been given the gold, but I'm guessing it was given the 1st spot because of how it worked when it was working.

Basically, what I'm saying is that any review can rightly bash the Malibu for not having the features it lacks that many cars in its class have. That's like the 3-Series breaking down every time someone tested it and none of them caring about it.

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Add "no rear seat armrest" to the features lacking in the Malibu. Sorry, but that's just one pathetic oversight.

On the CTS though...when I looked at a few in LA, I noticed that the screws were exposed in the rear cupholders. Is that for real, or is there an insert that was removed for the show? Having exposed screws in a place for drinks (and spills) is not very smart.

That said, that was my only complaint...and I'm not easily impressed.

Edited by Croc
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i'm the one driving, i could give a crap if the people in the back get an armrest.

the only thing i have heard consistently about bmw's, never buy one, lease one new only, because the repair bills will kill you, and are inevitable.

nice cars, but certainly will put you in the poor house with all sorts of repairs.

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Add "no rear seat armrest" to the features lacking in the Malibu. Sorry, but that's just one pathetic oversight.

On the CTS though...when I looked at a few in LA, I noticed that the screws were exposed in the rear cupholders. Is that for real, or is there an insert that was removed for the show? Having exposed screws in a place for drinks (and spills) is not very smart.

That said, that was my only complaint...and I'm not easily impressed.

Someone removed the insert. The inserts are removable and can go right into the dishwasher.

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Here's a thought. Could it be that the American press expects more from American car makers because they think they should be best and when they were aweful they came down harder than if they would on a Asian or European car?

Edited by K.C.
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And small correction: The LA Times isn't anti-GM, California is!

Los Angeles is Chevy's largest market.

Los Angeles is GMC's largest market.

Toyota's most profitable sales district isn't California, but rather the southeast (Alabama, Florida, etc.)

Your delaership sells 3 HHRs a month, mine sells 3 in an afternoon.

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Los Angeles is Chevy's largest market.

Los Angeles is GMC's largest market.

Toyota's most profitable sales district isn't California, but rather the southeast (Alabama, Florida, etc.)

Your delaership sells 3 HHRs a month, mine sells 3 in an afternoon.

But...California is the most populous state...so its no surprise that many GM products are sold in CA. Unfortunately for GM, the rest of the country is trending towards California's Percentages---The Southeast may be a Toyota strength, but California is in pretty close lockstep.

I'm not sure what the 3 HHR reference is, but I'll assume the implication is that my Chevy store is doing less new volume? We're 15% above projections for about 8 quarters running...how many GM stores can say that? But that's not the issue--the fact is that Californians' turned on the Domestics first and the rest of the country has followed suit, just like many trends, it hits the coasts first...

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But...California is the most populous state...so its no surprise that many GM products are sold in CA. Unfortunately for GM, the rest of the country is trending towards California's Percentages---The Southeast may be a Toyota strength, but California is in pretty close lockstep.

I'm not sure what the 3 HHR reference is, but I'll assume the implication is that my Chevy store is doing less new volume? We're 15% above projections for about 8 quarters running...how many GM stores can say that? But that's not the issue--the fact is that Californians' turned on the Domestics first and the rest of the country has followed suit, just like many trends, it hits the coasts first...

Usually the weak do sellout first.

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I didn't like Dan Neil when he ripped on GM cars, and I don't like Dan Neil when he's raving about a GM car.

I'm still disgusted by the article he wrote where talks about having his own kids aborted for convenience. :nono:

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Usually the weak do sellout first.

Coming from a man hell bent on bringing the Stars & Bars back, that really must mean something to those left-coasters.....or does that mean that the 100's of GM stores that closed their doors permanently in the last few years are sellouts?

Can't you just enjoy a few moments of good vibes from a positive Neil review? Trust me, there will be little good news coming out of the 2.8's PR machines in the next year. Pundits are talking about a 15 million unit market--wanna guess where the lost sales will disproportionately come from?

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