2008 Cadillac CTS

Why it's one of our most significant: Cadillac accidentally found a winning formula when it rebadged a GMC Yukon Denali and proclaimed "This is Escalade, hear it roar!" Cadillac found similar success when it ditched the Opel-twin Catera and launched the CTS onto the silver screen to be torn to pieces by sci-fi twins and machine guns in The Matrix: Reloaded. This new CTS builds upon the original with an Escalade-inspired grille, an interior that is nine-hundred percent nicer, and some serious performance figures. Read our full story below.

The 2008 CTS continues as Cadillac's entry-level rear-wheel drive sedan, but is two inches wider to accommodate an optional all-wheel drive system - a first for the mid-size Caddy.

The new CTS rides on the same 113-inch wheelbase of the outgoing model, but is larger in all other dimensions. Last year's base 2.8-liter V-6 has been dropped for North America, with the 258-hp, 3.6-liter variable-valve-timing unit now serving as the base engine. An optional direct-injection version of that engine develops 300 horsepower with reduced emissions and improved fuel economy. All 2008 CTSes have six-speed transmissions, automatic or manual.

All-wheel drive models receive an active transfer case, and a limited slip differential is available. All 2008 CTS models have a strut-tower brace like that used in last year's CTS-V, as well as revised suspension, brakes, and steering.

The new CTS features full iPod integration, with USB and auxiliary input jacks located in the center console. Options will include swiveling headlights, Easy Key keyless-go with remote start, a Bose surround system, and DVD-based navigation.

The CTS now also gets the hand-stitched leather treatment familiar in the CTS-V, STS-V, and SRX, replete with French stitching. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard, eighteens optional, and we look forward to getting behind the steering wheel of Cadillac's new import fighter sometime next summer.

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