22 June 2007

The Hype Around The 2008 Cadillac CTS Is Premature

The automotive equivalent of Jesus Christ is coming to Cadillac next year. Or that's what assorted fanboys of the GM persuasion would have you believe. A better interior, a sleeker exterior package, and upgraded engines are all cited as being reasons for this optimism. But dig deeper and what do we find?

1. Excessive Mass
The CTS will weigh 3861 pounds in manual transmission form, 3872 pounds in automatic transmission form, and a whopping 4101 pounds in all wheel drive configurations, according to THIS GM press release. That's hefty. For the sake of comparison, a BMW 335xi tops out at 3825 pounds, an Infiniti G35x tops out at 3703 pounds, an Audi A4 3.2 Quattro tops out at 3780 pounds, and a Lexus IS350 tops out at 3527 pounds. All of the competition noted, except for the Lexus have AWD in those weights listed. Note that ALL of the AWD competition actually weighs LESS than a regular old 2WD 2008 CTS. Ladies and gentlemen, the next gen CTS is a porker. How this will translate into a 'sports sedan' is yet to be seen, but for the sake of argument, the A4 is often derided as being too heavy. So what are we to expect of a 4100 pound CTS?

2.Barely Enough Power
If the 2008 CTS was released as a 2006 model, I would have no complaints. It features two engines- the much loved regular 3.6 HF V6 from the GM family, and a brand new 3.6 HF DI V6 making a confirmed 304 horsepower. Yes, the torque curve is very flat. Yes, it's competitive. But note my point- if it came out in 2006, it would be more than enough. As it stands, a yet to be released 2008 CTS already trails the Lexus IS350, the Infiniti G35, and the BMW 335i (300/300) in power stats. Incredible. If you want a perfect example of GM failing to take into account the competition and benchmarking moving targets, this is it. Yes, the base engine is more powerful than most others in the class. No, that doesn't mean shit, since most advertising centers around the top end engine outputs. Not to mention that in a few months, Infiniti will be dropping a 3.7 VQ into their G coupe (which will no doubt make its way to the sedan). Combine barely competitive power with excessive weight, and the prognosis doesn't look good.

3. Dull Styling
Yeah yeah, styling is subjective. But honestly, apart from the front fascia, how much major change has been made to this vehicle? A similar argument can be made for the redesign of the G35- it looks a lot like its predecessor, but then again, the G35 isn't the next stage of a 'design revolution' for Infiniti, like the CTS is for Cadillac. Yes, it's a bold grille. Yes, the side vents are cute, if a bit played out. But beyond that, I could be looking at a current generation STS. Just a big let down in a field where Cadillac could have really made a splash.

4. Missing Features
I'm not like some others that will bemoan the lack of push button start and the lack of Bluetooth as reasons why someone wouldn't buy a CTS- but the question remains- why the hell is GM so against upgrading their products to at least the minimum of the market standards? If even one sale is lost because someone wants Bluetooth and/or push button start in their vehicle, that's one sale too many, and a sale that GM could have easily kept. Instead, their reliance on OnStar has become a boon and a burden to the company- they're afraid to poach OnStar customers with Bluetooth capability, but will never move forward technologically unless they do so.

At the end of the day, the biggest issue that the new CTS will encounter is how to overcome its weight and power issues. The new interior will no doubt boost lagging sales, but if the goal of Cadillac is to once again become the standard of the world, they'll have to do much better than this- because 'this' is competitive with vehicles of today, never mind vehicles that will be released and available in 2008.


69Firebird400 said...

I've never understood why GM cars are so much heavier than their competitors. They don't do better on crash tests or anything. The G8 suffers from the same problem. My guess is that it's probably a combination of cost cutting and a lack of engineering talent (or a lack of application of existing engineering talent). Korean products used to be heavier than competitors of the same size probably for those same reasons, but they seem to have moved beyond that.

Isn't the CTS larger than the competitive vehicles you mentioned? If so, could its weight problem be attributed to that (it's more of a 5-series size than a 3-er)?

Mags said...

Perhaps the 5 Series thing is valid, but as it stands, the price of this vehicle is squarely in 3 Series territory- as are the engine options. Until an Ultra V8 finds its way into here, the 3 Series is the target IMO.

A.G Kowalski said...

The Audi A6 4.2 V8 Quattro weighs 1770 Kilograms.

The A6 Avant 4.2 V8 Quattro weighs 1830 Kilograms and that is for the Estate version.

Anonymous said...

You bring up some points about the weight that I didn't know and makes me wonder about why they went so heavy.

You're right about the push button start, and you're wrong about Bluetooth. They don't have push button starting, but they do have Bluetooth.

69Firebird400 said...

anonymous, they DO NOT have Bluetooth from the factory. I did just learn that it's a dealer installed accessory (not sure how integrated it is). Check this out:

Bluetooth capability will be a dealer-installed accessory for 2008 CTS models. There’s a very simple “pack” that dealers install quickly and easily to enable this capability. We’re investigating a more-comprehensive approach for subsequent years if consumer interest continues to grow in Bluetooth. But the CTS absolutely can support it for 2008. Stay tuned on this front. Cadillac will have some really interesting features to discuss later this summer that will be in the CTS right off the bat.


Anonymous said...

I have a 3 series and I drive 07 CTS all the time. Yes the CTS weighs more but the 3 is a lot smaller in the back seat and has less trunk space.

Laurent said...

Someone give Dr. Anonymous Blindly-Obvious "3-Series and CTS owner" above a cake.

The 3-Series is smaller in the backseat and it has less "trunk space" than the CTS, because... well... it is a smaller car than the CTS.

Haven't you noticed the size difference when you parked both side-by-side in your driveway?

Mags said...

Wow. I can't believe Caddy said the CTS can 'absolutely' support Bluetooth via an aftermarket add on. So can an Aveo.

Anonymous said...

GM's decision to not embrace Bluetooth is driving customer's away. They are losing sales on this issue alone and these customers may never return. Their strategy is truly flawed. I own 2 Full Size GM SUV's now and was in the market for a newer one. One requirement was Bluetooth. Not only would GM not deal, there was no option for Bluetooth. It did not take me long to look elsewhere. As a result, I decided to not buy a GM product and bought a Lexus instead. I could not be happier. From the Bluetooth feature to the personal, upscale service, Lexus has won me over. GM doesn't get it. Given GM's financial woes and their struggles with competitors, it is shocking to see how rigid they are. All their customers want are choices and GM has made a concious decision to not offer them. Sad.

Anonymous said...

It is always amazing to me how blogers make blanket statements about products that they haven't even evaluated fully. Having evaluated first hand BMW products it is unfair to compare CTS to either BMW 3 or BMW 5. It is substatially larger that 3-series and less expensive than 5-series. To call a car overweighted or underpowered without describing your driving experience seems irrational and inappropriate. Go test drive one please, and then post informed critique.

By the way, I have doubts that a lack of push-button start is driving potential customers away in hoardes.

Anonymous said...

I did not the CTS buy due to no Bluetooth. I called the dealer before I went in. Bluetooth after markets are so after marketish and I couldn't justify it in a 40k+ car.