2009 STS New Car Test Drive
The Cadillac STS represents an American challenge to the technology, quality and great driving attributes of the high-end imports. Available with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, with engines ranging from a responsive and efficient V6 to a supercharged V8, the STS delivers a lot of luxury, technology and performance with a wide range of drivetrain and powerplant choices.
The 3.6-liter direct-injection V6, developing 302 horsepower and matched with a six-speed automatic transmission, is standard equipment. There is also a 4.6-liter V8 with 320 horsepower and, at the top, the supercharged 4.4-liter V8 of the STS-V that makes 469 horsepower and delivers stunning performance. All STS engines are of aluminum construction, have double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder and benefit from variable valve timing to enhance both performance and operating efficiency.
STS safety technologies include Cadillac's Lane Departure Warning and Side Blind Zone Alert systems, plus a sophisticated StabiliTrak electronic stability control system that uses steering as well as brake and throttle control to avoid dangerous skids.
The interior of the STS is superb, with comfortable but supportive seats that are infinitely adjustable, ample storage space, and superior sound systems. State-of-the-art occupant safety comes standard as well. Entertainment systems include 15-speaker Surround Sound.
The STS is unmistakably a Cadillac, but it's also a four-door performance sedan for people who like to drive. The STS offers a choice of suspensions, from the standard setup designed for smooth, comfortable commuting to an active performance suspension that instantly adjusts to any driving situation, whether cruising through a sea of potholes or accelerating around a sweeping turn. Rear-wheel drive provides the balance and control that serious enthusiasts demand, while all-wheel drive can be very beneficial in bad weather.
Changes to the STS for 2009 are minor.
The Cadillac STS comes with a choice of V6 ($46,410) or V8 ($55,910) engines. The high-performance STS-V ($81,360) comes with a supercharged V8. All come with six-speed automatic transmissions, although the supercharged STS-V uses a heavy-duty unit.
All-wheel drive is available with the V6 ($2,295) and the V8 ($1,550), but with the V8 it's available only with the high-end Premium Luxury Performance Package. All-wheel drive is not available with the STS-V.
Standard STS features include leather upholstery, aluminum interior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bose AM/FM/CD stereo, interior auto-dimming rearview mirror, and the usual lineup of power creature comforts and driver aids. OnStar telematics (with one year's service), StabiliTrak electronic stability control, automatic high-beam control (Intellibeam) for the headlights, and rear park assist are also standard.
The V6 Luxury Package ($3,540) adds two-position memory for seats, mirrors, climate and radio controls; Rainsense wipers; six-disc in-dash CD-changer; Sapele wood trim on the instrument panel, steering wheel, console and center stack; heated and ventilated front seats with four-way power lumbar; heated rear seats; heated steering wheel; tire pressure monitor, universal home remote; and a cargo net. The V6 Luxury Performance Package ($8,600) includes all of the above, plus a limited-slip rear differential, premium ZF steering gear, performance cooling package, rear spoiler, Brembo performance brakes, and P235/50R18 front tires and P255/45R18 rear tires on 18-inch polished aluminum wheels. The Luxury Level Two Package ($3,350) adds Xenon HID Intellibeam headlamps with washers, a Bose premium sound system, and navigation.
The V8 Premium Luxury Performance Package ($11,940) includes Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Head Up Display, Adaptive Cruise Control, Bose 5.1 Surround Sound with navigation, Xenon HID headlamps with washers, Intellibeam automatic high/low beam control with flash to pass feature, heated and ventilated front seats, premium ZF steering gear, performance cooling package, Magnetic Ride Control suspension, rear spoiler, limited-slip rear differential, P235/50R18 front tires, P255/45R18 rear tires, 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, Brembo performance brakes, power glass sunroof, compact spare tire.
A Performance Handling Package ($1,600) is available that includes StabiliTrak with the high-performance Brembo brakes and chrome-plated wheels fitted with P255/45R18 summer tires. On AWD V8s, StabiliTrak includes active steering.
Options include the Bose 5.1 Surround Sound stereo, a power glass sunroof ($1,200), an engine block heater ($100), and Sapele wood trim ($250).
A new Platinum Edition features special paint, trim, wheels, Tuscany leather and a wide range of other features. The STS-V comes with a higher level of standard equipment, including EZ Key with remote start, XM Satellite Radio, rear AV jacks, rear park assist, the Lane Departure Warning System, leather seats with suede inserts, and olive ash burl wood and aluminum interior accents. Special paint and the engine block heater are the only options; the sunroof can be deleted for credit.
Safety features that come standard on all models include dual two-stage frontal airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, and front-and-rear side-curtain airbags. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes are standard, along with StabiliTrak electronic stability control. Tire-pressure monitors are standard, as is OnStar; its operators send out the rescue squad if your airbag goes off and you don't respond to calls.
Lane Departure Warning uses a camera located between the inside rearview mirror and the windshield to detect lane markings on the road and alert the driver when the vehicle inadvertently strays from the intended lane. Side Blind Zone Alert uses radar sensors behind the rear fascia that signal an audible and visual alert if objects are detected where it might be difficult for the driver to see them. Enhanced StabiliTrak with active steering is available only on V8s with AWD.