Used 2008 Cadillac CTS
Used 2008 Cadillac CTS for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
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.
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.
2008 Cadillac CTS configurations
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.
Performance & mpg
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.
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.
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.
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Features & Specs
More About This Model
"I want to see everybody down at the cathedral with me tonight — praying." The Cadillac executive is nervous, and who can blame him? We're here in Germany to drive the all-new 2008 Cadillac CTS, and tomorrow he's going to turn us loose on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, the 12.9-mile, 73-corner racetrack through the forest of the Eifel Mountains.
Cadillac engineers spent countless hours on this very track massaging the suspension, six-speed manual transmission and direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 of the substantially revised 2008 Cadillac CTS, and now they're confident enough to show us the result.
Our friend the Cadillac executive is less certain about the drivers, however. When he asks whether any of us have been to the track before, only a couple of hands go up. Ours is not among them. The worry lines on his forehead deepen. If he only knew how many virtual cars we've wadded up on the Nürburgring while trying to take Flugplatz flat-out with our Xbox video-game console....
Just in case anything gets pranged against a guardrail, we spend a few moments memorizing the new sheet metal of the 2008 Cadillac CTS. The angular design language is familiar, as is the 113.4-inch wheelbase, but there are some important changes.
Dominating the front is a striking grille inspired by the Cadillac Sixteen concept car. A strategically placed duct below the bumper increases the grille's overall vertical impression, so it has the prominent look so popular among German cars.
Meanwhile, aggressive fender flares visually indicate the track is 2.0 inches wider than before, and the contrast between the flares and the unchanged dimensions of the body give the CTS a new, considerably tougher stance.
As a whole, there are more chrome details and a flush, finished look to the bodywork, evidence of a new spirit of refinement.
Ironing Out the Suspension
This substantial 2.0-inch track increase improves handling, as it's easier to manage body roll and weight transfer. The new ZF Servotronic steering forward of the axle (a packaging measure largely related to the availability of all-wheel drive) improves steering precision.
Extensive use of aluminum for the front suspension reduces unsprung mass and improves weight distribution, a worthwhile attribute for high-speed handling on the Nürburgring. There's a front strut tower brace, and the new Bilstein dampers incorporate rebound springs.
There are now three suspension grades offered for the CTS. Base FE1 models feature Michelin P235/55R17 all-season tires and modestly specialized tuning for the Bilstein dampers and the stabilizer bars. The FE2 model adds a limited-slip differential, P235/50R18 all-season tires and stiffer stabilizer bars. Once you step up to the FE3 package, there are bigger brakes, aggressive damper valving (the rears have a self-leveling feature) and Michelin Pilot Sport summer performance tires.
'Ringing It Out
It all looks good on paper, and our rear-wheel-drive CTS in FE3 trim works well on the graffiti-covered asphalt of the Nordschleife.
An endless stream of corners through the trees proves the accuracy of the CTS's steering. Directional changes are suitably quick, yet the rear end of the CTS never slews off line. At the limit, the CTS hints at understeer, but the car responds willingly to a lift of the throttle for midcorner course corrections.
But for track work, the steering effort still feels a little light, probably a legacy of Cadillac's past preference for low-effort refinement rather than high-speed precision.
Three driver-adjustable settings for the stability control (Normal, Competitive and Off) are available to suit either your mood or skill level. Competitive mode proved just fine for on-track hustling, and it only intruded when we drove the racing line around the famously banked ditch at the Carousel.
This thing is fun. The CTS lives up to everything you expect from a car developed at the Nürburgring. It's so good, we're thinking the chassis can handle much more power. It'll get it, too, when the 500-horsepower CTS-V debuts for 2009.
Speaking of Power
The 2.8-liter engine has been dropped from the lineup, so last year's port fuel-injected (PFI) 3.6-liter V6 carries over as the base engine, only now it makes 263 SAE-certified hp and 252 pound-feet of torque.
New for 2008 is a direct-injected (DI) version of the 3.6-liter V6 engine. Variable valve timing on the intake and exhaust cams and an 11.3:1 compression ratio help the new engine put out 304 SAE-certified hp, and 80 percent of the peak torque output of 273 lb-ft is available at 1,000 rpm. This engine feels stout, but there's no place on this winding circuit to verify Cadillac's claim of 5.9-second performance to 60 mph and a top speed of 155 mph.
The use of premium unleaded fuel plays a role in Cadillac's performance figures, but either V6 engine runs happily on regular. Official 2008 EPA mileage figures are unavailable, but Cadillac expects 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway from the new DI V6.
Six Speeds for Everyone
An Aisin-built six-speed manual transmission is the standard offering for the CTS. We found the shift throws somewhat long, though Cadillac notes that they're shorter than the previous manual transmission.
The 2008 CTS also makes available the quick-shifting, six-speed Hydra-matic 6L50 automatic. It can be manually controlled with a console-mounted shift lever, but shift paddles on the steering wheel aren't yet available.
A major addition to the CTS's lineup is the availability of all-wheel drive, a measure to make this car even more like the Euro sedans it competes against. The hardware comes from the Cadillac STS, which shares the CTS's basic platform architecture. The CTS AWD comes only with the 263-hp 3.6-liter V6 and a six-speed automatic, and there's a choice between FE1 and FE2 suspension calibrations and 17- or 18-inch all-season tires.
An autobahn blast shows the all-wheel-drive CTS to be comfortably stable up to its electronically limited top speed of 140 mph — and in a downpour, no less.
Inside, the 2008 CTS has a far more inviting cockpit, far from the cold, plastic-ridden treatment found in the current edition of the car. A new telescopic steering wheel improves the impression of spaciousness for the driver, while thinner front seatbacks improve legroom for rear-seat passengers.
The optional navigation system has a screen that retracts into the dash, but the top inch of the screen always remains visible as the primary display for audio and climate control, a real breakthrough in function for nav systems.
Infotainment options abound, and the navigation system's 40-gigabyte hard drive heads the list. You can store music on available hard drive space through a CD, MP3 or USB jacks, or a fully integrated iPod interface. AM/FM and satellite radio can be paused, rewound and resumed, just as if you were using TiVo.
For all the interior's overall goodness, however, the routine switchgear lacks the kind of tactile quality we'd prefer, while some of the chrome accents seem like low-grade plastic.
All Yours in August
Cadillac dealers expect to have the 2008 Cadillac CTS on the ground in late August. A 2008 Cadillac CTS with the 3.6-liter PFI V6 engine and a six-speed manual starts at $32,990.
The raciest version of the CTS with its direct-injected 306-hp V6, manual transmission and FE3 suspension starts at $36,970. We're told that a car like the one we sampled in Germany will hover in the low-to-mid-$40,000 range.
While the 2008 Cadillac CTS isn't likely to surpass the established Germanic thoroughbreds, it has grown into a more capable car with a vastly improved interior. Best of all, its well-sorted chassis doesn't fall to its knees when pushed hard.
Cadillac's investment at the Nürburgring seems money well spent.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2008 Cadillac CTS Overview
The Used 2008 Cadillac CTS is offered in the following submodels: CTS Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan w/Direct Injection (3.6L 6cyl 6A), and 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6M).
What's a good price on a Used 2008 Cadillac CTS?
Save up to $666 on one of 15 Used 2008 Cadillac CTS for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, VA with prices as low as $5,900 as of12/10/2018, based on data from dealers and consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for Used 2008 Cadillac CTS trim styles:
- The Used 2008 Cadillac CTS Base is priced between $5,900 and$14,998 with odometer readings between 0 and148811 miles.
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Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Cadillac CTS for sale near. There are currently 15 used and CPO 2008 CTSES listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $5,900 and mileage as low as 0 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 Cadillac CTS. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to $666 on a used or CPO 2008 CTS available from a dealership near you.
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Should I lease or buy a 2008 Cadillac CTS?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.