Redesigned for the 2008 model year, the Cadillac CTS keeps everything that was good about its first-generation model and seems to improve on what wasn't — and not just a little. It competes with entry-level sport sedans such as the BMW 3 Series and Infiniti G35.
Cadillac also builds the high-performance CTS-V, which is new for 2009.
(Skip to details on the CTS-V)
New for 2009
The 2008 CTS-V was a remnant of the previous-generation CTS, but the high-performance version has been redesigned for 2009. Other than that, changes for this model year are minor.
With the 2008 redesign, the CTS became a more unified design. The wheels were set 2 inches farther apart, which together with the lowered front bumper gave the car a ground-hugging, sturdy look.
Exterior features include:
- Dual-exhaust pipes
- LED taillights
- Optional fog lights
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Optional 18-inch alloys
The design is modern, with vastly improved materials that look and feel high-quality compared to pre-2008 editions. Cabin volume measures 98 cubic feet, close to the Infiniti G35 (99 cubic feet) and more than the BMW 3 Series (93 cubic feet).
Interior features include:
- Standard vinyl upholstery; leather optional
- Standard dual-zone automatic A/C
- Optional heated and cooled front seats
- Optional onboard hard drive with TiVo-like, real-time radio playback
- Optional 60/40-split folding backseat
- Optional dual-panel moonroof
Under the Hood
The CTS is available with a 3.6-liter V-6 with or without direct injection.
- Standard 263-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 (253 pounds-feet of torque)
- Optional 304-hp, 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6 (273 pounds-feet of torque)
- Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic available with either engine
- Paddle shifters available with automatic for 2009
- RWD or AWD; AWD has automatic only
- Standard V-6 gets 18/26 mpg city/highway, direct-injection V-6 gets 17/26 mpg
- Both engines use 87-octane gasoline
- Three suspension choices; most performance-oriented version comes with 18-inch summer tires
Standard safety features include:
Even though the CTS is priced to rub elbows with compact sport sedans like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac says its CTS-V competes with those cars' respective big brothers, the BMW M5 and Mercedes E63 AMG. Maybe that's because the CTS-V makes an estimated 550 hp and 550 pounds-feet of torque.
Under the hood, GM's 6.2-liter V-8 gets an intercooled Eaton supercharger, and all power goes to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. With the manual, a dual-mass flywheel and dual-disc clutch aim to enhance the left pedal's smoothness, but we hope the stick shift itself has improved over the regular CTS' clunky setup. As in the regular CTS, the automatic has paddle shifters on the steering wheel, and we're impressed that Cadillac is offering both setups.
The CTS-V adopts the STS' Magnetic Ride Control, which reads the road and varies suspension settings to match driving conditions. An optional Performance Traction Management system aims to optimize traction with an eye toward maximizing acceleration — as opposed to conventional traction control, which mostly tries to optimize traction. GM's electronic stability system comes standard and includes a competitive mode that dials back its intrusiveness, allowing you to perform stunts you probably shouldn't try outside a racetrack.
Styling changes from the freshly minted CTS include larger 19-inch wheels, a larger grille and the requisite lower body cladding. The cabin features deeply bolstered Recaro seats with grippier suede-like inserts, as well as dark obsidian trim and a microfiber-lined steering wheel. Back to top