2008 Cadillac CTS DI V6 AWD Review
In the interests of full disclosure, I am telling you right up front that I love this car. I am positively smitten.
So, if you have an anti-GM bias, you may as well stop reading here, because you’re not going to like what I have to say.
The CTS that Cadillac loaned me for a week had the direct injection (SIDI) V6 that is available as an option for the CTS and will undoubtedly find its way into poor relatives like Chevrolets in the future. It is 304 HP as opposed to the 263 HP of the standard-issue (SIFI) 3.6 liter V6. It is the top engine in the CTS lineup with the 3.6 liter on the bottom. Just as an aside, for people who want to go even faster, the CTS V-Series has a fire-breathing 550 HP V8 as the only engine available in the high-performance “V” designation (and not available in any other CTS model).
It also had the fulltime all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, which I had the chance to make use of during both an ice storm and a few inches of snowfall that occurred a few days apart during the time I had the car.
The car that Cadillac supplied to me also had just about everything else it could possibly have in terms of options, bringing the MSRP to a healthy $48,735 (with $745 destination charge) from a base of $34,545 (destination charge not included). I will do the math for you – that is $13,445 in optional equipment and covers things like the better brake system with the performance over-sized discs, the AWD, the Premium Luxury Package, which covers a tremendous amount of items, and the premium red paint on the car.
The Cadillac CTS with the 304 HP direct injection V6, the standard-equipment 6-speed automatic transmission and the AWD system is rated by the EPA at 17 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, and my experience with the car tracked to the stated fuel economy. By the way, the higher-horsepower SIDI engine in the CTS gets better fuel mileage than the 263 HP SIFI engine.
The car is a very handsome vehicle, no doubt about it. The redesign done for this year’s model got everything right as far as I’m concerned. The previous look was too angular for me to love (although I liked it) and the smoothing out of some of those very sharp creases has done wonders for the car’s curb appeal. And my goodness, the interior design is just great. The center stack treatment is superb and will be imitated over and over again by other cars in the next few years. The big leap in material quality in the interior is also much-appreciated.
I would spend some time on all the high-tech electronics, the kicking stereo, the nice leather, comfort and convenience features, etc., but really, every luxury car has pretty much the same stuff inside these days, and the Cadillac is no exception. Its all swell and it all worked great. The car had no glaring omissions in luxury or technological features, and there was nothing it had that other cars of its ilk don’t have, like, say, a combination shoe shine and expresso machine in the glovebox, or a fur-lined sink in the back seat.
But, you ask plaintively, how does the damn thing drive?
Very, very well – thank you for asking.
I spent a lot of seat time in this Cadillac and I have to tell you, I’m impressed. It was a pleasure to drive and it was also a pleasure to drive fast. And I drove it fast in good weather and bad; I did not linger anywhere for long. I took it to my secret spot (the one filled with tight curves and uneven, undulating road surfaces) near where I live and did my best to upset the car. I was trying to wipe that luxury grin off its anthropomorphic being and I was trying to make that CTS work for a living.
I did the opposite; long-distance highway cruising at high speeds, the Cadillac CTS voraciously gobbling miles as we streaked towards our destination, cosseted in the lap of luxury.
I drove it to work in rush-hour traffic, enjoying the solidity and quietness of the CTS as I jockeyed for position in the inevitable traffic mayhem around Washington, D.C.
I think the direct injection AWD Cadillac CTS is a wonderful machine and a nice piece of work.
I was surprised at how good the new CTS is and furthermore, this is a car I would actually buy with my own money. Since I am a jaded, cynical auto journalist, that’s a big leap for me. There are not a lot of cars that I like this much. If you’re a buyer in this segment, you owe it to yourself to put the 2008 CTS on your list for a test drive.
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