2008 Cadillac STS Performance

$4,016 - $4,924

2008 Cadillac STS Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2008 Cadillac STS was new.


Performance: 9.3

Auto writers agree that the 2008 Cadillac STS' performance is vastly improved, with a powerful new V6 direct-injection engine, confident handling and sure braking. Cars.com writers say the STS' driving experience "reflects the Cadillacs of today: capable yet comfortable."

Kelley Blue Book reviewers report: "The V6 engine is strong enough to satisfy most owners, while the V8 offers plenty of performance for the enthusiasts. It really comes down to how you like to drive and how much money you have to spend." Automobile Magazine reports that all these changes make the STS a "much more solid player." Edmunds sums it up nicely by saying: "Lower emissions. Higher fuel-efficiency. And much great power. Nothing wrong with that."

Acceleration and Power

The 2008 Cadillac STS comes with an all new 3.6-liter direct-injection Variable Valve Timing (VVT) V6 engine, which delivers 302 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque. The V6, according to most auto reviewers, is vastly improved and noticeably faster, ticking in a time close to the V8. The direct injection allows the V6 to produce more power while preserving fuel economy. AutoWeek calls the V6 "terrific," adding that when you hit the throttle, there "is a nice rumble from the exhaust, matching the muscular exterior appearance." Edmunds calls the V6 "torquey" and Cars.com concludes that the engine is "remarkably versatile," and "delivers enough low-end grunt for crisp acceleration from a standing start, and things get fairly potent later on. Power builds in a linear fashion -- there is more as you rev, but it doesn't peak all at once." Car and Driver says, "All that on regular fuel, too."

The 2008 Cadillac STS has an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated fuel economy of 17 miles per gallon in the city and 26 on the highway. Kelley Blue Book calls this fuel economy "surprisingly good, especially on long highway trips." AutoWeek adds that the new V6 on the STS uses regular fuel, "unlike many competitors that demand more costly premium fuel."

Top trim levels of the 2008 STS come with a 4.6-liter Northstar V8 VVT engine, delivering 320 horsepower at 6400 rpm and 315 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. However, few reviewers drove cars fitted with the V8, and conclusions about its performance can't be drawn at this time. The 2008 STS V8 has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 13 mpg in the city and 19 on the highway.

The 2008 STS is fitted with a Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmission with clutchless manual operation and performance shifting. The majority of reviewers agree that the transmission is "silky smooth," as the Detroit News says. AutoWeek adds that the "long sixth gear quiets the engine for freeway cruising." Yet, Cars.com notes that the "transmission moves things along, though it isn't the most responsive one out there; I noticed some clunky shifts at lower speeds."

Handling and Braking

Reviewers overwhelmingly praise the 2008 STS' handling, crediting the four-wheel independent suspension for a smooth ride and controlled feel. Consumer Guide says the STS "impresses dynamically," with Edmunds adding that this sedan provides "nimble road feel for such a large car." Car and Driver adds that the STS has "terrific ride-and-handling balance," also noting that it was "easy to place and control on such a slippery surface." Kelley Blue Book concludes that the STS "tracked brilliantly in tight turns." In sum, Consumer Guide says that the STS "blends absorbency and firm composure to good effect with the base suspension," adding, "Any STS corners with poise and modest body lean."

All trim levels of the 2008 STS come with speed-sensitive Magnasteer variable-assist rack-and-pinion power steering, which receives mixed reviews. Consumer Guide finds the steering "vague and overassisted." In contrast, Car and Driver reviewers were "pleasantly surprised to find a positive connection to the road and wonderful weighting. Our only complaint was the slight twitchiness when encountering bumps just off-center."

The Cadillac STS comes standard with four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes that most reviewers find impressive. Consumer Guide reports that the STS' "[r]eassuring brakes provide short, straight simulated panic stops." Edmunds auto writers add that the braking is "strong...with progressive pedal action and an impressively short 120-foot stopping distance from 60 mph."

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