2008 Cadillac CTS Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Cadillac CTS Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Cadillac CTS Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.6 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 263 hp @ 6400 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Cadillac CTS

  • An American schooled abroad, the midsize 2008 Cadillac CTS finally has what it takes to compete with the leading entry-luxury sport sedans from Europe and Japan.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Roomier cabin than like-priced rivals, capable and secure handling, smart interior design, available all-wheel drive

  • Cons

    Not as nimble as smaller and lighter competitors, a few ergonomic gaffes.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Cadillac CTS luxury sport sedan has received a full redesign this year. Highlights include more muscular styling, a much improved interior, more power and available all-wheel drive.

Full 2008 Cadillac CTS Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Cadillac CTS luxury sport sedan has received a full redesign this year. Highlights include more muscular styling, a much improved interior, more power and available all-wheel drive.


When Cadillac's original CTS luxury sport sedan debuted in 2003 with bold "art and science" styling and sporty chassis tuning, it heralded a new direction for America's traditional luxury brand leader. Although well-rounded and an acceptable performer, the CTS never fully lived up to its promise of matching the top import nameplates in this class. Its larger dimensions and tallish profile gave it more room for passengers than most rivals from Europe and Japan, but that also led to a less sporting personality than performance leaders like the BMW 3 Series. Additionally, the CTS's plasticky and unrefined cabin furnishings fell far short of the level of luxury and quality exhibited by class standouts like the Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series.

With the debut of the extensively reworked 2008 Cadillac CTS, virtually all of the first generation's faults have been addressed. Although its predecessor was certainly edgy, it lacked the elegance and lavish attention to detail inside and out that the new CTS exhibits. It starts off with freshened exterior styling that seems less "scientific" and more "artistic." Overall body dimensions are similar to the original CTS, but there are an additional 2 inches of track width to give the sedan a more powerful stance. This impression of substance is highlighted by aggressively styled fender flares and a new grille that takes cues from the Cadillac Sixteen concept car.

Inside, the entry-level Cadillac's cabin is constructed of higher-quality materials. Buyers have a choice of attractive carbon-fiber or real wood accents, and these frame an aluminum-trimmed center stack and console. Bright metallic accents also stylishly adorn the gauges, primary controls and dash vents. It's a classy look that avoids looking busy and overdone. Backseat passengers enjoy more than an inch of additional rear legroom, thanks to slimmer front seats.

If the passengers in the 2008 Cadillac CTS are happier, the driver will border on giddy, owing to the extensively retuned suspension and new powertrains. Cadillac chassis engineers spent a great deal of development time on Germany's famed Nürburgring road course, and it shows on even the well-controlled standard setup. Two additional sport suspension choices further dial up the fun.

While the base 258-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 is carryover, Cadillac also offers a high-output version of that engine for the new CTS. The same V6 as on the '08 STS, this engine features direct fuel injection technology and makes a very competitive 304 hp. Both CTS engines are available with a six-speed manual transmission or a new six-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is also a new option with the base engine this year as well.

Cadillac has raised the price for its new 2008 CTS, but the redesign is a good one and we expect the new model to be a winner for Cadillac. While it might not qualify for "Standard of the World" status just yet, the Cadillac CTS has evolved into a much more capable car all the way around and can now more than hold its own against entry-level luxury sport sedan rivals from Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz in terms of both luxury appeal and driving prowess. Before you decide on any of these competitors, this heavily reworked sport sedan from America is worth a test-drive.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Cadillac CTS is a midsize luxury sport sedan. There are two base trim levels correlating to the engine fitted but actual equipment is pretty much identical. Every CTS comes standard with 17-inch wheels, leatherette seating, an eight-way power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control and a CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio.

Naturally, a variety of options are available either stand-alone or grouped in packages. The basic Seating Package adds leather trim and upgraded power/heated front seats. The Luxury Level One/Two packages build on this with items like a six-CD changer, rain-sensing wipers, heated/ventilated seats, power adjustment for the tilt/telescoping steering wheel, rear park assist and keyless ignition. The Premium Luxury Collection Package includes the previous options plus a 40GB hard drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic, a premium Bose surround-sound audio system, a large sunroof, additional wood trim and LED interior lighting.

Enthusiasts will want to check off one of two performance-oriented packages: The FE2 sport suspension package (available with either engine) includes 18-inch wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, performance cooling and adaptive xenon headlights; the FE3 high-performance suspension package (available with the direct-injection V6 only) includes an even higher state of tune with similar equipment, high-performance tires and more powerful brakes.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2008 Cadillac CTS is available with one of two V6 engines. Standard power comes from last year's optional 3.6-liter V6 generating 258 hp and 252 pound-feet of torque, while the available new 3.6-liter direct injection (DI) V6 puts out 304 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. In performance testing, this engine produced a 0-60-mph time of 6.5 seconds. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the base engine, and a six-speed automatic is available. The DI engine has the automatic as standard and the manual as optional. The CTS is offered in both rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive configurations. Note that all-wheel-drive models come only with the 258-horse V6 and six-speed automatic. Both engines get virtually the same gas mileage, with 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway for the base engine and 17/26 mpg for the DI engine.


The CTS features all of the expected latest safety equipment, including antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and GM's OnStar emergency communications system.

Interior Design and Special Features

The cabin of the redesigned Cadillac CTS is substantially improved over its predecessor, and is a much more inviting place to spend time. Materials are high in quality, and the level of detailing in this car is comparable to the top import nameplates. Plus, its pleasing mix of available wood accents and tasteful alloy trim make the CTS interior one of the most elegant designs in its class. A new telescoping steering column gives the driver a bit more space, while thinner front seatbacks and a slightly stretched cabin add to the CTS's already roomy backseat.

The screen of the optional navigation system retracts into the dash, but leaves the top inch visible as the touchscreen display for audio and climate systems -- a slick touch. Another is the 40GB hard drive included with the premium Bose surround sound audio system, that stores digital music and includes an iPod integration interface. With this setup, AM/FM and satellite radio can also be rewound, paused and resumed in a TiVo-like manner. There are a few quibbles, however. Rear-seat entry and exit can be a bit tricky due to a low rear roofline, and loading bulky items into the 13.6-cubic foot trunk is hampered by a very short deck.

Driving Impressions

On the road, the benefit of the additional track width is readily apparent as the 2008 Cadillac CTS is more stable and copes better with quick directional changes and weight transfer. The steering is still a bit too light for a sport sedan but it's more precise than before. Overall, the Cadillac offers an excellent ride and handling balance that will give the Europeans a run for their money. That said, the CTS is larger than its like-priced competitors, however, and with a curb weight of almost 4,000 pounds, lacks the nimbleness of cars like the 3 Series, G35 and IS 350.

The new 304-hp direct-injection V6 certainly feels strong, but in acceleration this CTS isn't quite as quick as other 300-plus-hp cars in its class. The 258-hp base V6 and automatic transmission should still be very adequate for most consumers. The automatic is quick-shifting and can be manually controlled with a console-mounted shifter. The standard sport mode automatically holds onto revs longer during spirited driving and will downshift while braking. A major enhancement to the CTS lineup is its all-wheel-drive option, which makes this Cadillac a viable option even in Northern states.

Read our Cadillac CTS Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Car of the year?

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Vehicle: 2008 Cadillac CTS 4dr Sedan w/Direct Injection (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I owned the CTS4 with every option since new. (as well as many many other vehicles) I was generally happy with it, especially how it ran in the snow. You can't beat AWD. For a V6, it can move pretty well. The navigation and Bose sound system is probably its best point. It seemed to do everything well, but nothing stands out. I love our country, but the Germans really are on top in the quality department. On the surface, the interior looks nice, but the leather is thin, and everything else is just cheap plastic. The drivers seat broke. They wanted 1200 to fix it. It came with "heated windshield washers" but they disengaged it due to failure after 1 year. With no fix possible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

The love affair is over

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Vehicle: 2008 Cadillac CTS 4dr Sedan w/Direct Injection (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I have decided that owning a Cadillac CTS is like dating a beautiful woman with a black heart: they are gorgeous to look at, but they will do you wrong every time. I had a 2004 CTS first, and I had multiple security issues with it requiring trips to the dealer to fix. The my son totaled it when he hit a deer doing 75MPH. I do like the looks of the CTS, so I bought a 2008 CTS 4 as a replacement. It had 28,000 mi. I have had many issues with it as well. First, it uses oil, and the oil MUST be checked every 1500 miles or you will be in trouble. I checked mine at 3000 (after a #60 oil change since it uses synthetic oil), and NO oil registered on the dipstick. No leaks. CTSs just use oil.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Happy owner

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Vehicle: 2008 Cadillac CTS 4dr Sedan w/Direct Injection (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I have owned my Cadillac CTS since 2008 when I bought it fully loaded during the bankruptsy and employee pricing wars for $35,000. At that point the '09s were out so I also got rebates for buying the old model year. I have been generally very happy with purchase. A couple of issues mostly relating to fit and finish. The car has some spots where the wood accents aren't quite large enough to fill the space they are in so there a couple of gaps here and there. Also, the car has a pretty bad paint job for a luxury car. It was like they only put one coat of clear on it. The car also has some interior rattles that seem to come from the bowels of the dash and can't be held down to be stopped.

Fuel leak twice

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Vehicle: 2008 Cadillac CTS 4dr Sedan w/Direct Injection (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

Anyone know what could be wrong? Two fuel leaks in 3 weeks, first was a bad fuel line and Cadillac replaced that, now. I was getting on the freeway and excelerated and engine light came on and message said loss of power, any ideas?

30 of 30 people found this review helpful

2008 cts blown engine/oil consumption/gm

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Vehicle: 2008 Cadillac CTS 4dr Sedan w/Direct Injection (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I purchased a 2008 Cadillac CTS with 31K which was also the mileage at which the oil had been changed. My wife being the primary driver averages 33 miles a day and is very easy on the vehicle. At 41K the car threw a rod resulting in blown engine. At the advice of GM the car was taken to my local Cadillac for repairs. Although the vehicle only has 41K and the power train warranty is for 100K Covert told me there is nothing they can do as my “power train warranty expired 2 days prior to the break down.” For $10,000 they will put a new engine in for me. GM continues to tell me the warranty is good up to 100K, but states I failed to properly maintain my vehicle. I purchased the car with 31,217 miles on it and have documentation from dealership showing the oil was changed at 31,107 miles. The attached excerpt from my 2008 Cadillac CTS Manual states “you vehicle computer will let you know when to change the engine oil and filter. This is based on engine revolutions and temperature, and not on mileage.” It goes on to say that one may not need to change their oil, but once a year. When Cadillac turned over their review to GM the local Service Manager wrote “that our vehicle was 6977 miles overdue for an oil change.” The dealership went on to tell me that we should have the oil changed every 5k to 6k. Although the manual specifically states mileage is not a determining factor. Also using the 5K to 6K logic and the fact my oil was changed at 31K we would have been due for an oil change at 37K which based on their equation would only be 3K over not the 6977 reported to GM which resulted in denying my claim. Again GM states mileage in not a factor in oil changes. We owned the car just over 8 months and have only put 9,500 miles on the car. The dealership is stating the car ran completely out of oil and it was our fault. How does oil disappear when we have no leaks? This is not possible and I’ve spoken to numerous certified mechanics who stated “cars do not run out of oil in 9,000 miles unless you have a leak or the car has an oil usage issue which is the fault of the maker. Note this vehicle has 37 recall or service notices some related to power train and cooling systems. We never overheated….no check engine light…but GM and dealership flat out said we are “SOL.” After a 2 billion dollar bailout this is what we get?

7 of 12 people found this review helpful

Good buy, good car

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Vehicle: 2008 Cadillac CTS 4dr Sedan w/Direct Injection (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I have had the experience of driving literally hundreds of cars, and I decided to buy this one as my daily driver (awd, every option ticked). I have had minimal reliability problems and the dealer was always excellent at getting it resolved on Cadillacs bill My advice to anyone reading these reviews is that if someone is complaining about the reliability of their CTS they bought used with over 30,000+ miles (That's a lot to me to be calling "new"!), you take that risk when buying anything used as the previous owner could have rode it hard and put it away wet with no maintenance. I've seen every brand have its problems (last BMW was a nightmare).. The pro's have given it good reviews..

Talk About The 2008 CTS

2008 Cadillac CTS Discussions See all Started By

since the "sneak peak" of the 08 CTS on the "60 Minutes" TV show, there has been quite a bit of discussion suggesting that Cadillac needs to get this car out as soon as possible. I...

CTS Coupe, Convertible, Wagon, Hatchback, etc., etc., are due for release around 2007-2008 or something like that, when the next-generation, heavy modification of SIGMA is completed. Bob Lutz evident...

2008 CTS SHOULD be improved- but isn't GM known for letting 1st year buyers do their Beta testing of new model's defects ???? I'm trying to do the Bose ED 39 mo.lease special- $2200 GM support !-- but...

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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