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2007 Detroit Auto Show: 2008 Cadillac CTS


The first generation CTS was a true breakthrough for Cadillac. Love it or hate it, the polarizing design proved that Cadillac had guts. Furthermore, it proved again that “middle of the road” is no place Cadillac wanted to be. CTS sales were brisk, and Cadillac was once again talked about in positive terms.

I remember my initial experience with the first generation CTS. It was clearly the most driver oriented Cadillac ever, but lacked a decent interior. $300 away from an interior that would make you feel like the car was worth the other $40,000 you spent on it. While many were drawn to the vehicle based on it’s exterior styling, AutoPacific research showed that the interior held the vehicle back from true success.


Interiors on Target

In January 2002 Anne Asensio was named Executive Director of Design, Interior Design, Quality and Brand Character, at General Motors Design. She began what is now seen as a very serious effort to improve the interiors of General Motors vehicles. Subsequent support from Bob Lutz hurried along GM’s efforts.
The results can be seen throughout General Motors products, and the 2008 CTS is an excellent example of this work. The CTS utilizes Cadillac’s “cut-and-sew” interior process that combines advanced technology with the hand-rendered craftsmanship. “Cut and sew” is term that is only carefully associated with mass production. Coverings for components such as the instrument panel, center console and door trim are cut, sewn and wrapped by hand. The same process was applied to Cadillac’s limited-production STS-V and XLR-V models, and the revised 2007 SRX. The effect is worth it. The 2008 CTS interior is beautiful, and works well with the updated exterior of the vehicle.
New 3.6L V-6 VVT, Six-Speed automatic
The CTS is powered by GM’s new 3.6L direct-injection V-6 VVT engine, delivering an estimated 300 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque with regular unleaded fuel. The 3.6L direct-injection engine will be the top-level engine option for the 2008 CTS, joining the existing 2.8L V-6 and 3.6L V-6. Direct-injection technology on the 3.6L VVT engine contributes to a 15-percent increase in horsepower; 8-percent increase in torque, and 3-percent improvement in fuel consumption. For the first time, the 2008 CTS will be available in both rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations. Additionally, the transmission lineup now consists only of six-speed units – a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.
There is talk of wagon and crossover variants of the CTS, aiming this lineup directly at the BMW 3 series. Is the 2008 CTS this a true 3 series competitor? I’ll wait until I drive one for that commentary.

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