- Powerful and fuel-efficient direct-injected V-6
- Magnetic Ride Control pairs great ride quality with sharp handling
- Awesome, world-class performance from STS-V
- Some of the best, most advanced technology features
- Unappealing instrument panel design
- Interior materials don’t feel as upscale as they should
- Lacks back-seat space
The STS is middle-of-the-pack in many respects, but it stands out as Cadillac’s technology flagship.
Cadillac's mid-size sport sedan, the STS gets a revised appearance this year; the 2008 Cadillac STS features a new nose and wider grille, a new interior, and a more powerful V-6 engine with direct injection.
Overall, the 2008 Cadillac STS bears a strong family resemblance to the smaller CTS sport sedan, and it has a similar mix of aggressive, assertive exterior styling, but its interior feels softer and more luxurious. Seating rivals that offered by the German competition; it's amply proportioned and very supportive, with plenty of space in front, but the backseat is barely roomy enough for average adults.
The 2008 Cadillac STS comes in three flavors for the 2008 model year. There's a new base engine: a 3.6-liter, 302-horsepower direct-injection V-6 teamed with a six-speed automatic. A 4.6-liter, 320-hp V-8 with a six-speed automatic transmission slots in above it, while the top rung on the STS ladder is occupied by the performance-oriented STS-V and its hand-built 469-hp, supercharged V-8; the STS-V can accelerate to 60 mph in less than five seconds. V-6 and V-8 models can be specified with rear- or all-wheel drive, but the STS-V only comes with rear-wheel drive; all have an excellent six-speed automatic with tap-shift controls.
The STS-V also rides on larger wheels and tires, with stiffer stabilizer bars, a quicker steering ratio, and a specifically tuned chassis; Brembo brakes are included with larger rotors, pads, and calipers. A new performance handling package is now offered on every model aside from all-wheel-drive V-6 editions of the 2008 Cadillac STS and includes 18-inch chromed wheels, Michelin summer tires, and the larger Brembo four-piston brakes.
Both STS models have brisk acceleration, with good, sharp handling and especially solid steering feel. The base 2008 Cadillac STS V-6 model is now virtually as fast as the V-8 model, and it saves fuel, with much better ratings of 17 mpg city, 26 mpg highway (versus 13/19 mpg for the V-8). Both models have a rather firm ride, but thanks to the standard Magnetic Ride Control, which can make almost instantaneous adjustments to damper firmness, ride comfort is quite smooth.
Heated, wood-trimmed steering wheel is new. A head-up display (HUD) is available on 2008 Cadillac STS V-6 models, and more metallic trim has been integrated into the center stack, though the instrument panel won't be to everyone's liking. The layout, with some screen-driven controls and quite a few small buttons, can be confusing, and the materials haven't been upgraded to the extent they have in the CTS. New Intellibeam headlamps are also on the options list; they sense approaching taillights or headlights and dim themselves accordingly. Other technological upgrades include revised stability control, a lane-departure warning system, and a blind-spot warning system.
Technology is one of the STS's best selling points. Available features include an Easy Key keyless entry system, Adaptive Remote Start system, Adaptive Cruise Control, Intellibeam headlights, four-color HUD, heated and ventilated seats, and a heated steering wheel.
The 2008 Cadillac STS is in the middle of the pack in safety, based on crash-test results. Four-star results were given from the federal government in all but side protection for rear-seat passengers (five stars), and the STS earned "good" results in frontal-offset protection, "acceptable" results in side impact, and "poor" in rear impact insurance industry (IIHS) tests. Standard safety equipment includes front side airbags, head-protecting side-curtain bags, and electronic stability control.