2008 Cadillac STS Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Cadillac STS 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 STS Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.6 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 320 hp @ 6400 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 15/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Cadillac STS

  • Thanks to its edgier styling, more powerful V6 engine and high-tech safety options, the 2008 Cadillac STS is now an even stronger player in an arena filled with talent. The Caddy's competitive pricing makes the deal even sweeter: a must on any consumer's short list.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Low price for a full-size luxury sport sedan, powerful new V6, nimble road feel for such a large car, sporty all-American looks, available all-wheel drive; optional Bose stereo is one of the best in its class.

  • Cons

    Sporty front seats might be too firm for some posteriors, interior plastics not quite up to the standards set by the top-ranked competition.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Cadillac STS has been significantly updated. Beyond revised styling and a more luxuriously trimmed interior, several high-tech safety and performance options keep this all-American Cadillac competitive in the luxury sport sedan segment. The base-trim STS also features a more powerful and efficient 302-horsepower V6 coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Full 2008 Cadillac STS Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Cadillac STS has been significantly updated. Beyond revised styling and a more luxuriously trimmed interior, several high-tech safety and performance options keep this all-American Cadillac competitive in the luxury sport sedan segment. The base-trim STS also features a more powerful and efficient 302-horsepower V6 coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission.


"Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" is the familiar whining call of poor middle child Jan Brady, constantly overlooked in favor of her popular older sister Marcia and cute-as-a-button younger sister Cindy. Life just wasn't fair for Jan, and it hasn't been much rosier for Cadillac's middle-child sedan either. The 2008 Cadillac STS slots in between the inexplicably top-selling DTS land yacht sedan and the sporty midsize CTS that has received tons of attention since its debut. And with that car receiving a complete overhaul this year that will surely raise its popularity even more, you can almost hear the STS growl, "CTS, CTS, CTS!"

To keep pace with its more attention-grabbing sibling (as well as other larger luxury sport sedans), the 2008 Cadillac STS has been revised inside and out. It's sort of like Jan ditching her dorky glasses. The wide, two-level egg-crate grille is particularly striking, and the improved cabin trim is bound to get the attention of full-size luxury car shoppers. Most significant is a new base engine, a 3.6-liter V6 engine that increases power by 47 horses and 20 pound-feet of torque compared to last year's six-cylinder. This power plant, now featuring direct fuel injection, not only puts more guts to the pavement, it's also more fuel-efficient and has reduced emissions. It's hard to argue with that formula, and considering that the STS V6 is basically as quick as the unchanged STS V8, we'd have no problem recommending saving a few bucks by going with the base engine.

Technology is now the name of the game when competing against big guns like the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Infiniti M35/45 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and the 2008 STS adds several high-tech optional features to its repertoire to keep up with the Joneses. The Lane Departure Warning System works like other brands' similar technologies, utilizing cameras in the rearview mirrors to read road lines and then alert the driver if he starts to stray with visual and audible signals. A Side Blind Zone Alert System scans for vehicles in the driver's blind spot and flashes an amber light in the rearview mirrors. Some drivers may find these "nanny technologies" irritating, but with so many in-car driver distractions nowadays, it's hard to deny their usefulness.

We've always liked the current STS, and the revised 2008 edition makes it even more endearing. The powerful new V6 almost makes the V8 irrelevant and boasts more power than the engines in the BMW 528i and 535i, as well as the Benz E350. Meanwhile, the STS' ride and handling continues to impress with moves that almost make you forget you're driving a sedan that's 6 inches longer and 200 pounds heavier than an E350. Having a price that undercuts the competition by thousands doesn't hurt either, even if a side effect is a few low-grade interior plastics. The 2008 Cadillac STS may never meet the DTS' sales figures or the CTS' attention, but at least it's got more going for it than Jan Brady.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Cadillac STS is a large luxury sport sedan available in V6 and V8 models. Both versions feature 17-inch wheels, leather seating, wood and alloy-look interior trim, eight-way power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote keyless entry and vehicle start, satellite radio, an eight-speaker Bose sound system and OnStar. The V8 version adds a CD changer, memory seating presets, heated seats (front and rear), a heated steering wheel and rain-sensing wipers. Many of the V8's features can be added to the V6 model via a series of packages.

Other features available on both models (in packages or as la carte items) include a sunroof, xenon headlamps with washers, adaptive cruise control, a lane departure warning system, a blind spot warning system, a head-up display, and heated and ventilated front seats. The navigation system is bundled with a Bose surround-sound audio system. There is also the Performance Handling Package, which adds better wheels, tires and brakes. An adaptive suspension system (Magnetic Ride Control) is also available, as are larger 18-inch wheels.

Powertrains and Performance

The standard engine on the 2008 Cadillac STS is a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 302 horsepower and 272 lb-ft of torque. Despite a significant increase in horsepower for 2008, fuel efficiency has improved and tailpipe emissions have been reduced. The optional engine choice is a 4.6-liter V8 making 320 hp and 315 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come only with a six-speed automatic transmission, and both can be ordered in rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive guise. In performance testing, the STS V8 reached 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. Considering that the new V6 accelerates with similar gusto and turns in better fuel mileage, it's hard to justify the V8's added price and weight.


Antilock disc brakes, stability control and a full complement of airbags are standard on every Cadillac STS. The airbags include front-seat side and full-length side curtains. For 2008, there are a variety of advanced technologies designed to prevent accidents, including lane departure warning, a blind zone alert system and active steering. The latter is available only on all-wheel-drive V8 models, and is notable for turning the front wheels into a skid when rear wheels lose traction. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset crash testing, the STS scored a rating of "Good," the highest possible. It scored a second-best rating of "Acceptable" for side-impact protection.

Interior Design and Special Features

Cadillac snazzed up the STS interior significantly for 2008 with higher-quality wood and the addition of tasteful alloy trim. A sporty new steering wheel looks and feels better, while more wheel-mounted controls have been added. The good fit and finish remains and luxury buyers should be pleased with this Cadillac's generally high-class ambience. There are some demerits, though, mostly having to do with some low-grade plastic trim pieces that put the STS at a disadvantage against the top European and Japanese luxury sedans. Controls are straightforward and easy to use, with the exception of the confounding memory-setting procedure for the driver seat, mirrors, radio and climate controls. Unlike traditional systems, which place buttons on the door or driver seat, you must dive deep into the navigation touchscreen to set memory functions. It's frustrating and unnecessarily complicated, but at least it's something done only occasionally.

Driving Impressions

Although large in size, the 2008 Cadillac STS sedan feels three-fourths its size when driven with enthusiasm, yet it rides like a supple luxury car when you're gobbling up the miles on the highway. Cadillac offers an optional Magnetic Ride suspension that includes Touring and Sport modes. In Touring mode the Cadillac STS provides a cushy ride and composed handling, although the car will still dive into the turns with unwavering composure and never feels as if it's sprung too softly. In the Performance setting, the handling is a little sharper and the ride a bit stiffer, but the STS handles so well in Touring that we question the necessity of the two settings. Braking is strong as well, with progressive pedal action and an impressively short 120-foot stopping distance from 60 mph. The torquey new V6 is much better than the engine it replaces. With its V8-matching acceleration and higher fuel economy, the base-model STS would now be our pick over the pricier V8 version.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

My first cadillac

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Cadillac STS 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

This is my first Cadillac and my first car that was over $1000. Value: I got my car 3-4 years old, because the price drops by $20-25k by then. Performance: 302hp 3.6L DI V6. 52/48 weight dist. AWD. Dual-Wishbone front suspension - It handles better than most smaller cars I've driven, and even handles about as well as the CTS, despite being bigger and more comfortable. Comfort: I have driven a Lincoln MKZ, a Cadillac CTS and SRX, and a Lexus ES 350, and the STS is the most comfortable out of all of them. It is roomier and its seats just feel more comfortable. Summary: A used 2008-2011 Cadillac STS has a better balance between luxury and performance than any other car in my price range.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Bose stereo issue debugged

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Vehicle: 2008 Cadillac STS 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

In an earlier review I wrote the Bose system was basically terrible. The lows had no THUMP the Mids were Watery and the highs were muted. Apparently There are five different listener settings: Centerpoint, Driver, Talk, Normal and Rear. Centerpoint is the setting to use. The other four settings make the system sound awful at high volumes. Centerpoint wakes up the entire system and is easily comparable to the Boston Acoustic sytem I just came out of from my SRT8 Charger.

I fall in love everyday

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Cadillac STS 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I have owned this STS for 27 months and I love it more everyday. It was a GM owned CPO with only 8200 miles. This is my third Cadillac. My others were all V8s and I do not miss the V8 at all. The V6DI is great engine, not only for the power but the fuel mileage. The car is very comfortable on long trips and handles like a dream. There were a few minor issues early that were promptly fixed by the dealer. Now I only take it in for an annual oil change and inspection. Best car I have ever owned in my 67 years.

1st cadillac, great car

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Vehicle: 2008 Cadillac STS Luxury 4dr Sedan (4.6L 8cyl 6A)

This was my 1st Cadillac. I purchased it new in Dec 09. It was on the dealer lot of 1.5 years and I got a great deal. After reading all of the reviews, was worried about build quality and reliability. I have been very happily surprised. Ride quaility is #1, handling and V8 performance are great. I am in my mid 40's and looked at Lexus, Infiniti, MB. The caddy, for the price, exceeded those other car makers. My younger friends have all been impressed with this car and are looking a Cadillac instead of a BMW or lexus. I hope that GM will continue to improve the model. At this writing, I don't think I will purchase anything but a Cadillac again. I have been very satisfied.

Very happy

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Vehicle: 2008 Cadillac STS Luxury 4dr Sedan (4.6L 8cyl 6A)

Wife and I bought our 08 STS V8 in March of this year and it had 13000 miles on it. We like it so much that we have driven to to Vegas, Denver and Ohio from our home in Oklahoma. Wife drives it every day to work and another 13000 miles later we couldn't be happier with our purchase. On the trip to Vegas and back we averaged 30 MPG with 4 adults and trunk full of luggage. Sound system is the best of any factory system available. Nav is good but could be more user friendly. Interior storage space could be improved upon and the glove box is a joke. Overall a great car with lots of performace and fun to drive. It's performace isn't that far off from my 94 Vette.

Finally gm got it right...for

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Cadillac STS Luxury 4dr Sedan (4.6L 8cyl 6A)

I purchased two new GM vehicles in 2008, a Cadillac STS AWD and a Silverado 1500 LTZ 4WD. The quality of workmanship was the best I've ever seen in my 53 years of owning and driving all kinds of cars. 0 defects, good fitment, quality throughout. As good over better than any foreign car or truck I've ever been exposed to. Thinks I, "They've finally got it right".

Talk About The 2008 STS

2008 Cadillac STS Discussions See all Started By

The STS seems to have hit a wall, both in sales and in discussions. What should Cadillac do to the 08 STS to revive interest?...

I have a STS 2008. Less then 10k miles and the dealer is replacing the engine due to a crack in the header. We took the car in because onstar said the tire pressure was low. The car never notifed u...

Gee, nothing here for over 2 years. Wow I guess STS buyers are too busy for this forum (or too rich to care)....

Read more about the 2008 Cadillac STS

Gas Mileage


  • 15
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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