2008 Cadillac STS-V Expert Review

You'll Like The 2008 Cadillac STS-V If...

Head-over-heels in love with the original CTS-V's good looks, but crave the technical wizardry and opulent interiors associated with BMW and Mercedes-Benz vehicles? If you can swing the higher price tag, the 2008 Cadillac STS-V can satisfy both demands.

You May Not Like The 2008 Cadillac STS-V If...

In the eyes of many status seekers, BMW's blue and white propeller badge easily trumps Cadillac's wreath and crest. If image is more important than performance, the STS-V's impressive statistics may not be enough to overcome its Detroit background and reputation.

What's New

New features include Lane Departure Warning and Side Blind Zone Alert. A new 100,000-mile warranty now covers all Cadillacs.

Interior Features

The 2008 Cadillac STS-V's cabin may be the most handsome interior ever produced by Cadillac. Supple leather covers the seats, steering wheel, door panels and dashboard. The clean simplicity of the STS-V's center console is highlighted by a large touch-screen display for the audio and navigation systems, while a separate panel for the heating and ventilation controls resides beneath. The stalk-mounted cruise control switch struck us as outdated; we prefer this function to be placed on the steering wheel, where it's more easily operated. As for Cadillac's sport seats, we can confirm the suede inserts help keep occupants in place, but a bit more side bolstering would accomplish the same goal while providing much-needed lateral support.

Exterior Features

The same stylistic gene pool that spawned the CTS sedan and XLR roadster also gives birth to the 2008 Cadillac STS-V. The car's angular lines and upright profile distance it from the rounded contours found on most of its competitors and create a bold look that is uniquely American. Cadillac's V-treatment takes this visual statement one step further, applying stainless-steel mesh to the grille and lower air intake and lowering the front and rear fascias. To make space for the engine's supercharger, Cadillac sculpted a subtle bulge in the center of the STS-V's hood, giving it a menacing stance slightly reminiscent of a 1960s-era muscle car. Keeping the STS-V firmly planted on the road are 18-inch wheels up front, with 19-inch wheels in the rear.

Driving Impressions

The STS-V's sport-tuned suspension is an impressive piece of engineering, holding the car tightly in the sharpest curves while delivering excellent feedback to the driver through the nicely-weighted steering and responsive brakes. There's no shortage of power from the supercharged V8 engine, which propels the 4,300-pound STS-V like a rock leaving a slingshot. While it isn't as fluid through a canyon run as some other factory-tuned sedans, the STS-V's sport-tuned suspension delivers impressive cornering limits. To ensure the STS-V's abundant power doesn't overwhelm the driving experience, Cadillac has created a unique four-mode version of its StabiliTrak stability control system, with settings for comfort, sport and competitive driving styles. The system seems to work best in the sport mode, delivering a balanced combination of ride comfort and handling.

Pricing Notes

The 2008 Cadillac STS-V has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at just over $79,000, which includes destination fee and gas-guzzler tax. About $8,000 more will put you behind the wheel of the 500-horsepower BMW M5, while the 400-horsepower Jaguar S-Type R lists for approximately $13,000 below the STS-V's asking price. Before you make any decision, be sure to check the current Fair Purchase Price, which shows the real-world prices other consumers are paying for their cars. As for the STS-V's resale value, we expect it to hold up well, with a projected five-year forecast slightly lower than the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG, but much higher than the Jaguar S-Type R.

Notable Equipment

Standard equipment for the STS-V includes Brembo four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), StabiliTrak stability control, a limited-slip rear differential and a six-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode. Inside, the STS-V features front and rear side-curtain airbags, Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Bose 5.1 Studio Surround Sound audio with MP3-capable six-disc CD changer, GPS navigation, OnStar, cruise control, Head-up Display, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats, heated front and rear seats, remote start, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, High-Intensity Discharge automatic headlamps with washers, power sunroof, a heated windshield washer system and Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist.

Notable Options

The STS-V's option list is a short one. You can add cross-drilled brake rotors for enhanced fade resistance and equip the engine with a block heater. You can also order your STS-V without the power sunroof.

Favorite Features

Head-up Display
The Head-up Display works by projecting a digital readout onto the lower portion of the windshield. Without ever removing your eyes from the road, you can view pertinent information about speed, audio and cruise control settings.

Adaptive Remote Start
Cadillac's remote start not only allows the car to be started from as far away as 200 feet, but it can also activate a number of preset commands, including operations for heating, air conditioning and defrost.

Under the Hood

The 2008 Cadillac STS-V employs a variation of Cadillac's all-aluminum Northstar V8 engine. The 32-valve, 4.4-liter powerplant features dual overhead camshafts and variable valve timing (VVT) for improved efficiency. Cadillac engineers then added a supercharger that forces air into the engine's combustion chambers, thus increasing horsepower and torque. The added power can mean added stress to the engine, so internal components such as the pistons, connecting rods, cylinder heads and camshaft have all been strengthened accordingly.

4.4-liter V8 Supercharged
469 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
439 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19

Editors' Notes

The verdict is in on the 2008 Cadillac STS-V: It's an unmitigated success. Some had doubts a Cadillac could ever play in the same arena as the famed M cars from BMW, the AMG offerings of Mercedes-Benz or the R models from Jaguar, but the STS-V has left even its harshest critics slack-jawed. Why? Here's part of the reason: A 469-horsepower supercharged V8 teamed to a super-taut chassis and a fluid body with razor-sharp good looks. The STS-V has the acceleration (zero-to-60 miles per hour in less than five seconds), braking and handling to place it among the world's best, making it easy for proud American driving enthusiasts to get behind the wheel. It also includes all the luxury one would expect from America's quintessential luxury car manufacturer.

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Owner Reviews

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Gas mileage because you need to get gas a lot.

Gas mileage sucks because I drive a lot and it does not help because I work far and working far sick because it is far from home and it is just hard to commute from home to work.

- Brendan W