First DriveIt's thirsty, expensive and a bit Wayne Rooney but despite the Cadillac's flaws, it is very hard not to like this charismatic motor
First DriveQuite fun, but limited by a lack of a diesel engine, a compact cabin and ambitious pricing
What is it?
The less powerful version of Cadillac’s mid-sized executive offering. Like the brawnier 3.6, the 2.8 uses a V6 petrol engine and supplies drive to the rear wheels via a standard six-speed autobox, but it makes do with just 209bhp compared to the 3.6’s 308bhp.
On the plus side, the 2.8 gets the same ultra-generous standard specification, including an advanced touchscreen-controlled satnav and multimedia system.
The only big visual difference between the two cars is the fact the 2.8 gets non-chromed alloy wheels, which many will regard as a bonus.
What’s it like?
Despite giving away 100bhp to the 3.6-litre version, the CTS 2.8 feels like a better all-round package.
Largely this is down to the fact it comes without the standard sports suspension of the more powerful car, the softer springs yielding a dramatic improvement in ride quality.
It’s far from pillow soft, but the 2.8’s compliant springs and dampers will feel far closer to European buyer’s expectations of what a Cadillac should feel like than the over-hard 3.6.
The engine lacks the punch of it’s bigger-capacity sister, but it delivers peak torque at lower engine speeds and is more than strong enough to deliver wafty progress, and the softer chassis settings give the 2.8 a quieter cabin at cruising speeds than the 3.6.
The automatic gearbox works well enough under low-intensity use, but suffers from an excessively keen kickdown.
Disappointingly, the 2.8’s fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures are almost identical to those of the 3.8, and both are a magnitude worse than similarly-powerful European rivals, incurring highest-rate VED and company car tax.
So, should I buy one?
The 2.8-litre CTS makes a respectable case for itself, especially considering the saving it represents over the harsher-riding 3.8.
But the high running costs mean that the CTS will only become a really rational purchase with the introduction of the V6 diesel version.