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Cadillac CTS-V, Cadillac CTS, Sedan
#1333 of 2880 My 2008 CTS Test drive (long..part 3)
Sep 13, 2007 (1:23 pm)
So what's the driving like? Well, I've recently driven the Acura RL and Infiniti M35. Both were wonderful drives and this CTS certainly rides with this crowd. I test drove the 3.6 DI engine with the sport package. The extra two inches of track makes the car well planted and stable. Although the car has more weight than the outgoing car, the new engine makes up for it...bottom line is that the car didn't seem as heavy as it really was. I'm sure the slower non-DI engine will bring me back to earth somewhat. Steering is on the light side...far lighter than the previous CTS and especially lighter than the 2003 LuxSport with its variable steering gear. It takes a little bit getting used to if you are a previous owner, but it's closer to the steering feel of the aformentioned competitors.
The course we took didn't get me the twisties I would have liked but I did get a chance to do a couple of curves, one that due to cobblestones ended up being reigned in by Stabilitrack. The steering wheel is a tad smaller than the old one...a good design decision. The gauges were professional and easy to read. The parking brake is still on the floor though...is this a Sigma chassis issue or did Ed Wellburn not want to mess up his pretty dash with a handheld parking brake? Bottom line is that my limited experience driving was a pleasing one...check out the FE2 suspension if you have a chance.
Speaking of Ed Wellburn, the styling of the new car is one of his better design efforts. The grill is in your face but textured and stylish...and they looked at every part of the front clip down to the pavement. The chrome engine vents on the side fenders look best in person. Also, there is a design element that I really like with these vents....there is a creased depression from the A-pillar leading to the vent. That same style creased depressed follows the rear windows and goes up the C-pillars....it's something I completely missed in the photography of this car but it gives the CTS more texture without the obvious creases of the slab sides of the outgoing car. This is the design the old STS should have been. Instead, that car is completely boring to look at. The CTS teases you with little details like this without being garish...there's a fine like between styling and garish...just check out the Pontiac Aztek concept vehicle versus the POS they put in production. Other details? The trademark tail lights flare rearward from the car a bit from the trunk lid, again giving texture to what would normally be a slab design. The fenders wheel openings flare gently (but powerfully) as opposed to the industrial curves of the older car. And the door handles are the electronic switch type of the STS versus the mechanical level of the old CTS and SRX (they look like the older style door handles but don't be fooled). And its almost impossible to talk about the new "light piping" in the daylight, so I won't.
Truthfully I was going into my dealership not wanting to get my hopes up...thinking I was going to end up getting something else (like the aformentioned competitors). Now I'm all excited about this car again.
Thank you Cadillac. This is a well done vehicle and it shows, inside and out.
#1334 of 2880 Re: My 2008 CTS Test drive (long..part 3) [sevenfeet0]
Sep 13, 2007 (3:21 pm)
Do you work for Cadillac? Just kidding. You give me real hope that the driver seat will be comfortable for a looong drive, and that my head won't touch the roof.
#1335 of 2880 Wallpaper from Cadillac.
Sep 13, 2007 (3:24 pm)
Nice pics on the site too!
Sep 13, 2007 (3:27 pm)
Here are the other two:
#1337 of 2880 Re: My 2008 CTS Test drive (long..part 3) [sevenfeet0]
Sep 13, 2007 (4:02 pm)
Thanks for the review, Richard.
I've bloviated (at length) about never owning another American sports sedan after my abysmal experience with my Lincoln LS -- not the car, the company, especially the (mis)management.
The extremely positive reports on the new CTS keep coming in, so I may need to reconsider. Yours carries considerably more weight, given your long history. Thanks again.
Hope you're able to indulge in one of these if you're that way inclined. We'll look forward to future reviews and/or comments.
#1339 of 2880 Re: My 2008 CTS Test drive (long..part 3) [150mphclub]
Sep 13, 2007 (7:42 pm)
No, I don't work for Cadillac but I do admit to having a fascination for the marque since I was a kid. The first Caddys I remember were my grandparents...my grandfather had a '74 Coupe Deville and then he bought my grandmother a '76 Fleetwood...that promptly broke it's rear axel leaving the parking lot of the dealership (true story!). She ended up taking a silver Sedan Deville off the same lot and this was the car she drove until she couldn't drive anymore. My mother's first Caddy was a '79 Seville (the Nova-mobile). Actually, that was a good car...I took that car to the prom.
My first Caddy was my second car...a '80 Coupe Deville I got used and drove for a few years in college (shared with my brother). For the sake of trivia, my first car was an '80 Chevy Citation....now THAT was a POS car! Anyway, next car after the Deville was a '90 Mazda 626...that ended up throwing a timing belt and destroying the engine (dealer repair shop fault). After that I bought my mother's used '91 Sedan Deville that lasted until 2000 when it met an early end having tangled with a city bus (the Deville lost...no surprise there).
With no car (but a new wife), I drove her car (a '94 Ford Escort) for two years not replacing the Deville (I traveled for a living anyway) but after a while, it got embarassing driving "Zippy the Wondercar". True story...my wife and I were celebrating our wedding anniversary and we drove to a nice restaurant in Buckhead (Atlanta) near where we lived then. Watching the valet watch me unfold out of the car was priceless...and embarassing. I mean, I should be rolling in something better than Zippy! Well after dinner we come out to the valet line and we were faced with 10 couples getting their vehicles. The valets return with BMWs, Mercedes, Land Rover...and then Zippy. I turn to my wife and say "Run for it!". Shortly thereafter, we buy the 2003 CTS LuxSport. After all, I got to roll in something better.
Ironically, these days my wife drives the SRX and I drive a '94 Toyota Camry that I bought from a friend for the princely sum of $5. With the SRX soon to be sacrificed for a minivan, I might get an opportunity for a 2008 CTS sometime in the next year....we'll see.
#1340 of 2880 Re: My 2008 CTS Test drive (long..part 3) [cdnpinhead]
Sep 13, 2007 (7:53 pm)
I appreciate that you think my word on this issue has some merit, but in truth I'm probably not much different than the rest of you. I like Cadillac and its history but I try not to be as much as a fanboy these days since they have to earn my dollars like anyone else. I'm happy that with this car that GM seems to have largely addressed all the issues with the previous vehicle...and some of its sister cars along the way. The tranformation of Cadillac continues and it hasn't been a instant process...or successful on all fronts. The 2nd and 2rd gen Escalades do well but the STS and XLR come up short. Both cars show Cadillac is trying but were still hampered by preventable mistakes.
I feel your pain with Lincoln. Ford really screwed the proverbial pooch with the brand having created goodwill with customers and the automotive press with the original LS and the Navigator. Then they squandered it by not improving their other products and letting the LS languish. No effort was made to upgrade Lincon dealers, most of which were (and still are) carrying Mercury as a subbrand. Ford has been trying to rectify some of that recently but where we they in the last 8 years? Unbelievable.
#1341 of 2880 CTS 3.6DI Impressions - Part 1
Sep 15, 2007 (6:56 am)
Introduction (some not altogether unrelated factoids)
• One of our friends sells BMW’s – yet he drives an Audi. He tells us that his dealership sells 40%+ AWD BMW’s, because they can’t get any more than that.
• Another friend, our salesperson since the 80’s sells Audis and drives one.
• Our Audi dealer is owned by a Cadillac dealer and our Cadillac salesperson has been with the dealership for 14 years and says that for the past two years 90% of the Cadillac’s she sells are AWD and that she believes the NEW CTS will “kill” the STS until a new and improved STS is introduced.
• I currently drive a 2005 Audi A6 (3.2) with every option except the sport suspension, but with the 18” 245 x 40 wheels and tires; it has about 44,000 miles on it. My monthly payment on the thing which MSRP’d at $53,286 is $640 and I put nothing down on a 36 month 45K mile lease (I added 3K miles to the lease a couple of months ago at $.16 per mile.)
• My wife and I have test driven many cars that are considered here as ELLPS and LPS and CUV’s.
• We have had 28 Audis, 2 BMW’s and 3 VW’s since 1977 (between us.)
• We have been to 4 driver training schools in Germany (Audi), 1 in America (BMW), and several various “Car and Driver” events in SW Ohio.
• I took a very nice, very long test drive of a new CTS 3.6 DI engine with about $12,000+ worth of options including the FE2 suspension, performance brakes, All Season 18” tires/wheels and AWD (over $48,000.) I drove into the dealer in my A6 tested the CTS and drove out again in my A6 (note: my A6 has “nearly new” tires and literally new brakes.
• Last weekend, my wife and I tested, extensively a new Infiniti G35X with all options (about $40,000.)
• The CTS tested was BLACK on BLACK – this made the car look small on the exterior, feel confining in the interior and overall would require a SERIOUS discount for it to even be considered (but, this is the most personal aspect of the entire experience.) I actually sat in a car that had a beige interior and it was not at all confining, FWIW.
#1342 of 2880 CTS 3.6DI Impressions - Part 2
Sep 15, 2007 (6:57 am)
Impressions of the CTS
Perhaps only Audi, in virtually any class of car that “mere mortals” can afford, produces a better interior than in this new CTS – and, “for the money,” the CTS offers up perhaps the best rendition of the “ideal interior” of any other car in this (ELLPS) or in the next class up (LPS.) This is an aesthetic impression, however. The controls are BMW difficult to figure out – i.e., despite 30 months of living with Audi’s MMI and owning a 2005 vintage BMW, I could not (without looking in the manual) master the controls for the radio, HDD, navigation and climate control system – and, the voice recognition system was reminiscent of my 1987 Audi 5000 CS turbo quattro’s Motorola voice activated phone system. It was “state and repeat and repeat” to get the radio to change stations. Even the somewhat lame Audi system works about 98% of the time, first time. On*Star works great (Audi must use the same voice program for its Bluetooth system, since the Cadillac responded exactly as my Audi phone system.)
No Bluetooth? Serious oversight. Confused the salesperson too, who said, “the STS has it, so it is unlikely we don’t know how to do it.”
The view from either front seat is “expensive.” Slightly better than the Infiniti and, as noted, damn near as good as is offered in an Audi.
Love the “stitched” dash. Love the feel of the switchgear – like expensive, high end audio equipment, in fact.
The back seat legroom is “adequate” (a bit better than an A4 or a 3 series and even a smidge better than the Infiniti G35X) – frankly considering the wheelbase, I would not argue if someone commented it was “marginally adequate.” How come the A6 with a 111” wheelbase has more rear seat leg room?
If the front seat accommodations can be likened to business class, well, the rear is certainly coach. Better than the outgoing CTS, but still an area that is simply, er, “not unacceptable.”
Only the sunroof appears to be completely out of place, an afterthought, in this car – “cheesecloth” [or so it would seem] was the chosen fabric for the inner shield. “It lets 70% of the light through,” the salesperson gushed. Yet, she also said she couldn’t imagine this roof making it into the next model year. Do ya think?!? How it is that you can configure the car with all the options, minus the sunroof, and PAY more than a car with the premium lux pkg, which includes the roof is beyond me. I would expect a CREDIT for getting the roof, especially if I had kids or lived anywhere summer was a season.
Finally, despite the overall goodness of the interior it has no front seat ceiling mounted “grab handles” like the Germans and most of the Japanese. I really missed it during spirited runs – this is a serious (and cheap) omission. I would attempt to find custom grab handles and have them mounted.
The elevator screen – I did not hate it, but it would be a mistake to say that it is “cool.” It is cool that it can move up and down, but when it is up it breaks up the otherwise beautifully sculpted dash. I would rather have seen a permanent screen built into the dash – the thing looks like an “up periscope” when it is in “full business” mode. I would deduct for this, despite the fact that folks under the age of 16 will probably love it months after the initial sizzle wanes.
The sound system, especially on XM is, as you would expect, wonderful – the Audi B&O system is better, as is the BMW high-zoot system, but they cost more. I could live with the Cadillac audio experience for a long time. The HDD capability is pretty cool, like TIVO for your car’s audio.
Summary: overall I like the interior, a lot. The controls, however, are not as intuitive as the Audi MMI system or the Infiniti system (especially the Infiniti system’s voice commands) and it is not as attractive as even the BMW iDrive system – the Cadillac seems a mite busy. The Infiniti system might be the best hybrid system out there – surprise!