Detroit Auto Show: The stunning new Cadillac CTS

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With the way that GM bigwigs have been talking up the 2008 Cadillac CTS, one could be forgiven for thoughts that the car might not live up to the hype; however, one glance at Caddy's new entry-level sedan should dispel the notion that this car is anything but world-class.

To introduce the next step in Cadillac's brand revival, GM trotted out approximately 50 members of the design and engineering teams to talk about the work that went into this vehicle. The 3.6L High Feature (HF) V6 will feature direction injection and is good for over 300 HP on regular gasoline. It'll be backed by GM's new 6-speed automatic. A large amount of attention was paid to the team's efforts in reducing NVH and visible panel gaps; given GM's recent progress in these areas, we expect good things from this vehicle.

Follow the jump for more thoughts on the CTS and no less than three official press releases from General Motors providing more detail, and visit our high-resolution photo gallery for 52 desktop-wallpaper sized images.

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The exterior styling is both cleaner and more aggressive than the current model, with prominent flares replacing the old model's slab sides. The new grill blends the horizontal-bar theme of the current base model with the mesh of the V-series to good effect, and and the new lighting consists of LEDs, light pipes and high-grade lenses. Also note the vents on the front fenders, which apparently we should now be considering to be a standard Cadillac styling cue. Inside, the plasticy construction has been replaced with the liberal use of leather, chrome, and wood, with large vertical HVAC vents that mimic the shape of exterior lamps and ducts. Certain controls, such as the volume knob and separate temp/airflow keypads for the driver and passenger, have been broken away from their counterparts on the center stack.

If this vehicle drives anywhere as well as it looks, the entire development team should give itself a well-earned pat on the back.



DETROIT – The new 2008 Cadillac CTS luxury sports sedan combines advanced technologies and electronics with the elegance of old-world craftsmanship that honors the best attributes of Cadillac's past.

"The all-new 2008 Cadillac CTS embodies a contemporary revival of two of the brand's great traditions: innovative technology and precise craftsmanship," said Jim Taylor, Cadillac general manager. "Whether motoring in the United States, Germany, China or Dubai, today's luxury consumer wants both the convenience of advanced electronics, with the distinctive quality and elegance of hand-crafted furnishings."

From safety to entertainment, the new CTS incorporates a wide array of useful, intuitive and advanced technologies.

Integrated iPod/MP3 capability

Designed in consultation with the engineers behind the iPod and other computer and entertainment industry experts, the center console of the CTS is tailored for MP3 players. iPods or other digital music devices can be charged via a USB port, which also enables playlists to appear on the car's touch-screen and steering wheel controls to be used to advance tracks. Both the USB and auxiliary audio jacks are located conveniently within the console, providing an easy storage location and eliminating cords hanging from the audio system.

Adaptive forward lighting system

When equipped with the uplevel high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, the CTS also includes an advanced forward lighting system that automatically adjusts headlamp direction for improved nighttime driving visibility. The system uses software algorithms to compute speed and steering wheel angle input in determining how fast and how far to turn the headlamps. The system is capable of turning the headlamps a maximum of 15 degrees inboard and 5 degrees outboard on each lamp.

Easy Key™ system with Smart Remote Start
The optional Easy Key™ system enables passive vehicle and trunk entry and keyless ignition via a personalized keyless fob. With the fob in a pocket or purse, a person can approach a locked vehicle, pull the door handle and open the door or trunk.

To start the vehicle, the fob must be inside the vehicle, and the brake pedal depressed – a process that combines engine immobilization and anti-theft protection. The system works via five ferrite stick antennas located in the front door handles, headliner, center console and in the rear of the car. Upon pulling either exterior front door handle, the door handle antennae communicate with the key fob, and within 240 milliseconds, authorize the identity of the driver and unlock the door or trunk.

The optional Smart Remote Start system – which operates from as far as 200 feet – not only starts the vehicle via fob activation, but also activates the climate control and the optional heated and cooled seats, depending on temperatures outside and inside the car.

Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround™ audio system

The new CTS can be equipped with a true digital surround sound audio system – developed by Bose – that provides concert-quality sound normally reserved for home theaters. The 300-watt, 10-speaker system incorporates the exclusive Bose Centerpoint technology, which makes two-channel audio information very rich and spacious. Even the base audio system is a Bose unit, and will include an eight-speaker arrangement.

DVD-based navigation with telescoping touch-screen

The DVD-based navigation system conducts route calculation 30 percent faster than current systems, displays freeway exit information (such as service stations, restaurants) via expandable icons, and covers all roads and streets in the U.S. and Canada (nearly seven million miles) on a single DVD. The system allows route planning to items stored in memory via voice commands and/or voice tags. The optional system utilizes a telescoping eight-inch diagonal high-resolution full VGA infotainment display head with full touch-screen. The display head – which rises up out of the top of the vehicle's integrated center stack – provides outstanding clarity enabled by 800- by 480 pixel resolution. A large viewable area (approximately 104- by 174 mm) contributes to its easy interface.

Other useful and significant electronic systems include a heated windshield washer system, rear ultrasonic park assist, heated and ventilated front seats and power rake/telescoping steering column.

Hand-crafted luxury in the cabin; focus on quality throughout

Though it features modern exterior design and advanced technologies, the CTS also borrows a page from Cadillac's rich and elegant past. CTS incorporates a hand-crafted luxury interior that brings Cadillac tradition into the modern world of the luxury sports sedan.

The new cabin utilizes Cadillac's new "cut-and-sew" interior process that combines advanced technology with the hand-rendered precision of expert craftsmen. Coverings for components such as the instrument panel, center console and door trim are cut, sewn and wrapped by hand. This enables details such as decorative French stitching, and the near elimination of gaps and seams for a superbly tailored appearance. This is the same painstaking process applied to Cadillac's limited-production STS-V and XLR-V models, and the revised 2007 SRX, bringing old-world craftsmanship into the heart of the luxury marketplace.

Since its inception in 2002, CTS has been assembled at the award-winning GM Lansing Grand River Assembly Center. The subject of benchmarking visits from dozens of other top manufacturers across many industries, this Cadillac-specific assembly plant is among the finest in the world.

For the 2008 CTS, great attention was paid during the car's design and development to incorporate further refinements to the car's body structure and precision manufacturing.

The use of advanced laser-brazing on the exterior roof surface delivers an uninterrupted, class-A surface across the top of the vehicle, free of ditch joints that are common on other vehicles. Areas such as the windshield and backlight are precisely installed and eliminate external appliques that are used on many other vehicles.

Detailed analysis of sound and vibration was lavished on the CTS, targeting the sound levels found in elite prestige luxury sedans. This analysis reduces overall cabin noise, via improved body sealing and sound insulation. It also focused on tuning the quality of the remaining sound, including – in some cases – adding to sound levels. A perforated pattern has been added to the inside of the tailpipes to increase resonance, adding more pleasing, low-frequency sounds to counteract high-frequency noise. Inside the cabin, tones were added to a few otherwise-silent switches and controls.

The hood includes sealing techniques normally used on vehicle doors for greater noise and vibration control.


DETROIT – Aggressive and elegant, expressive and sophisticated, the 2008 Cadillac CTS exudes a dramatic design presence. This all-new luxury sedan not only pushes Cadillac's acclaimed design theme higher, it aims to redraw the boundaries of the normally conservative luxury sedan category. Inside and out, the 2008 CTS contradicts many traditional design conventions. CTS' design expresses its serious performance intent, yet also is more elegant and luxurious. It's a sedan in the heart of the luxury market, yet reaches for the charisma of a sports car. CTS is thoroughly new and contemporary, even while it evokes the grandeur of classic Cadillac cars.

Since the inception of the first-generation car in 2002, CTS is about trend-setting design. The edgy form of the CTS initially created controversy. But from the moment it hit the market, its design also attracted lots of buyers, with design often noted as a top reason for purchase. The all-new 2008 edition extends that edgy and contemporary character, with an injection of elegance.

On the exterior, there's no mistaking the five-passenger sedan's stronger stance, thanks to a two-inch wider track. Additionally, the overall shape of the CTS features a faster profile with more rake, coupled with surfaces that add elegance and grace. Borrowing from Cadillac's legendary heritage, design cues include vertically shaped headlights and taillamps, signature light emitting diode (LED) exterior lighting, horizontal spline lines and its dihedral-shaped hood, all highlighted with many bright and jeweled accents.

Just as definitive of CTS' evolution in design is the dramatically new interior. Like the exterior, it expresses luxury and performance themes with appointments that are both purposeful and elegant. Advances in surface development, technology, materials and construction combine to make the CTS cabin a compelling blend of technical sophistication, precise tailoring and luxurious character.

Exterior: sporty sophistication meets substance

Coupled with a new overall shape, the most evolutionary dimension of the 2008 CTS comes in the form of a two-inch wider track as a result of the addition of the new, optional all-wheel-drive configuration. The wider stance gives the new model a more planted, capable and well-grounded appearance that's exemplified by much tighter tire-to-fender relationships.

The wider stance also enables more tumblehome – the vehicle sides are sculpted inward – delivering an appearance of rear-wheel-drive performance with a lower roof line, without compromising headroom or a roomy interior.

Additionally, a wider, tapering sail panel, lower, more sculpted hood, smoother wheel housing lips and a tighter wheel-to-body relationship help communicate the CTS' agility as well as its sophistication and substance.

Seven-spoke, 17-inch wheels or available nine-spoke, 18-inch wheels surround larger high-performance brake calipers and rotors. Both painted and machined finishes are available for the standard 17-inch wheels. The larger, 18-inch wheels are available in a premium multicoat finish or a high-polish finish.

Inspired by Cadillac's landmark Sixteen concept car, the CTS front appearance is immediately recognizable, yet also is new. The large, chrome dual-textured grille is significantly more vertical in shape, and is both aggressive and intricate. A large center-positioned wreath and crest add to the three-dimensional face. The front fascia is balanced with vertically stacked headlamps with bright bezels stacked in a staircase-like array. The lower air intake is flanked on both sides with fog lamps and brake duct intakes.

Side air extractors located forward of the front doors are a modern homage to Cadillac's grand heritage. Additional bright details include chrome molding surrounding the side windows, and three-inch chromed exhaust outlets.

Even on the rear of the car, where many sedans are ordinary, Cadillac designers injected charisma. The vertical taillamps are a Cadillac trademark. The roofline and rear backlight have a coupe-like profile. At the centerline, the decklid carries the angular and directional theme of the front.

Dimensionally, the 2008 CTS is 191.6 inches (4766 mm) long, 72.5 inches (1841 mm) wide and 58 inches (1472 mm) in height. Wheelbase is 113.4 inches (2880 mm) with a front/rear track of 61.8 / 62.0 inches (1575 / 1585 mm).

Interior: performance and elegance combine

The 2008 CTS represents a new design theme for Cadillac interiors, emphasizing technical precision with elegant, hand-crafted details. Dramatically different from the original, the interior design is decidedly more upscale, with added ornamentation, luxury and attention to detail. Strict attention to packaging, premium materials, surface development and comfort combine to meet the discriminating tastes of luxury performance sedan buyers.

Upper instrument panel and door trim surfaces are hand-cut, sewn and wrapped by expert craftsmen. Analog instrumentation that is tightly framed with a compact hood tri-tubular, chromed cluster, is defined by bright accents. An integrated center stack design, with either a satin metallic finish or genuine Sapele wood, blends into the lower instrument panel that sweeps forward and away of front-seat occupants. The hand-assembled center console leads seamlessly into the center stack, providing a sportier "cockpit" feel for the driver and passenger without compromising space.

Heated and ventilated seats incorporate new "thin-seat" technology for maximum occupant comfort and enhanced rear-seat leg, knee and foot room. A signature V-shaped medallion appears as a decorative touch on the backs of the front seats. French stitching is used throughout the interior, including the upper instrument panel, door inserts, seats and the shifter boot.

Clean, white ambient light emitting diode (LED) soft backlighting is positioned in the door pulls, foot wells and recessed between the upper and lower instrument panels. The result is a dramatic effect similar to recessed lighting used in contemporary homes.

The leather-wrapped steering wheel includes standard integrated controls for cruise and audio system.

Inside and out, the 2008 CTS exemplifies an evolution of Cadillac design that achieves a remarkable combination of luxury, technology and performance in a sedan aimed at creating the desire and head-turning quotient normally reserved for sports cars.


DETROIT – The all-new 2008 Cadillac CTS has been painstakingly designed and engineered to unite luxury sedan poise and sports car performance. A redesigned chassis, an enhanced engine and transmission lineup and all-wheel drive combine to push the CTS further in all directions with more power and performance, enhanced ride quality, quietness and safety.

The first-generation CTS (2002-2007) helped re-establish Cadillac's rear-wheel-drive performance credentials. The landmark CTS-V, a 400-horsepower specimen of power and precision, ushered in a new era of performance for both its drivers and the engineers who created it. With this in mind, the Cadillac team behind the 2008 CTS took to development roads in Germany, China and the U.S. intending to enhance the car's power and performance in every way. The result is a machine capable of serious performance driving, while simultaneously delivering the panache unique to luxury sedans.

New 3.6L V-6 VVT, six-speed automatic join powertrain lineup

The 2008 Cadillac CTS features GM's new 3.6L direct-injection V-6 VVT engine, delivering an estimated 300 horsepower (223 kW) and 270 lb.-ft. (366 Nm) of torque. This new powerplant is a compelling mixture of power, smoothness, efficiency and technical sophistication.

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. Designed to operate with regular unleaded gasoline, the new 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6 produces power similar to many V-8 engines, but with much better fuel economy. With direct injection, fuel is delivered directly to the combustion chamber to create a more complete burn of the air/fuel mixture. Less fuel is required to produce the equivalent horsepower, especially at normal cruising speeds, of a conventional port-injection combustion system.

The application of gasoline direct-injection technology on the 3.6L VVT engine contributes greatly to a 15-percent increase in horsepower; 8-percent increase in torque, and 3-percent improvement in brake-specific fuel consumption. Additionally, the application of direct injection reduces cold-start hydrocarbon emissions by 25 percent.

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 – an Aisin six-speed manual or – new for CTS – a Hydra-Matic 6L50 six-speed automatic.

The current 3.6L VVT engine that produces 258 horsepower (192 kW) and 252 lb.-ft (342 Nm) of torque will serve as the base engine in North America and will be available in rear- and all-wheel-drive layouts.

The 2.8L VVT engine will be available only on rear-drive export models of the CTS. The all-aluminum, 60-degree DOHC, four-valve-per-cylinder engine develops 210 horsepower (156 kW) at 6500 rpm and 194 lb.-ft. (263 Nm) of torque at 3200 rpm.

The Aisin six-speed manual transmission, introduced in 2005, is fully synchronized (including reverse) with a single overdrive. This allows for lower propshaft speeds and improved engine noise, vibration and harshness. A new short-throw shifter has been added for improved precision.

The Hydra-Matic 6L50 six-speed automatic is the same transmission introduced on the Cadillac STS-V in 2005, and is designed to decrease engine rpm and enhance overall fuel economy.

On vehicles equipped with the new all-wheel-drive system, the 6L50 will be equipped with a new active transfer case that automatically transfers torque from the rear to the front of the vehicle for optimal traction, safety and performance. A limited-slip differential also is available.

Chassis enhancements include all wheel drive, globally tested suspension

The 2008 CTS features a greatly revised chassis featuring a two-inch wider track and the application of all-wheel drive. The front track is increased to 61.8 inches (1569 mm), and rear track is now 62.0 inches (1575 mm). Wheelbase remains at 113.4 inches (2880 mm).

Cadillac engineers have designed and developed new geometry for both the independent short/long arm front suspension and the multilink rear suspension. Engineers implemented numerous tweaks and revisions to the suspension using extensive computer modeling, combined with development driving of prototype cars on roads all over the world, but mostly in North America, Europe and China. From famed tracks such as Germany's Nürburgring to everyday roads in the U.S. and China, the CTS suspension was exhaustively tested and honed.

The use of aluminum in the upper and lower front control arms and knuckles helps reduce mass and contributes to higher limits in handling and dynamic wheel control. Front suspensions for the rear-drive model and the all-wheel-drive version, while similar, have been designed to best meet the chassis dynamics of the individual versions.

The engine cradle has six attachment points, two more than typically used on a performance sedan, to better handle heavier loads and engine vibration.

New for CTS is a tower-to-tower brace that adds cross-car stiffness and enhances the overall steering feel. This is an innovation from the high-performance CTS-V model that has been modified and adapted for use in the 2008 CTS.

The multilink rear suspension, with a fully isolated subframe, is an uncompromising design with excellent suspension kinematics that delivers a superior ride with excellent handling. The rear suspension design is shared in both the rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive models, and has been extensively revised to accommodate the larger rear track.

The braking and steering systems for CTS are all-new, with extensive changes to increase responsiveness, premium "feel" and performance in spirited driving conditions.

The 2008 CTS features standard 17-by-8-inch aluminum wheels paired with Michelin H-rated (P235/55R17) all-season radials. The optional performance suspension includes an 18- by- 8.5-inch wheel with the all-new Michelin Pilot Sport 2 (P235/50R18) tire that can either be V- or Y- (summer) rated.

In addition to this finely tuned hardware, the 2008 CTS features advanced chassis technology in the form of Cadillac's StabiliTrak electronic chassis control system. StabiliTrak integrates the car's standard four-channel ABS with the full-function traction control, hydraulic brake assist and engine drag control systems.

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