Smart, Stylish, Sexy And Four Fast Wheels
By Roger Witherspoon
The commercials never made much sense to me.
There was a beautiful, stylish, professional woman with a voice like warm honey
pressing her high heels to the accelerator of a Cadillac CTS, speeding through the night,
dismissing the significance of the 300-horsepower engine, the luxury refinements and the
pop-up nav system and asking, provocatively:
“When you turn the car on, does it do the same for you?”
In my best curmudgeon mode I grumbled that the ad was dumb, and what woman
would be intrigued by the notion of being turned on by a car?
“Me,” said my wife, the librarian. “I want to try it.”
So she did. First, Marilyn walked around the deep, burnished red sedan, noting
the slim, chrome parallelogram on the side of the gently sloping hood, serving as an air
vent and matching the angular shape of both the high density headlights and the
aluminum, 18-inch wheels.
She nodded approvingly at the unobtrusive, dual exhausts and the car’s short, tapered
She ran her hand along the contoured surface of the sedan’s body, noting the
slight, angular lines which subtly changed the slope of various surfaces and hinted at the
power inside. She settled comfortably in the driver’s seat, adjusting the telescoping
pedals and leather steering wheel, running her hands across the African Mahogany wood
trim spanning the dash and doors, and nodding approvingly at the soft, blue lighting
emanating from underneath. She listened to the soft jazz humming from the 10 Bose 5.1
digital speakers and nodded approvingly when she saw – but could not hear – a garbage
truck rumbling by.
Then she started the CTS. She was quiet as she drove through the residential and
commercial districts and remained silent when she drove on to the Palisades Parkway,
until she pulled into a scenic overlook 400 feet above the Hudson River, with the lights of
Manhattan blazing on the other side of the dark water.
Then she said, “This is a car for a professional woman who is confident in herself,
feels sexy, knows what she wants, follows her own lead, wants luxury without excessive
frilliness, and has no time to waste on any man who does not have enough testosterone to
“I want one.”
Which proves I know as little about marketing as I do about women.
The Cadillac CTS is the latest evolution of a venerated brand long associated with
old codgers with fat stogies and outlandishly large tail fins, but which is now in the
forefront of 21st century automotive design. The guys at Motor Trend magazine named
the CTS their 2008 Car of the Year and positively gushed the following:
“News flash to automakers in Japan and Germany: The eagle has landed. Again...Not since Neil and Buzz spiked Old Glory into the lunar dust in 1969 have red-
white-and-blue ambition and technological prowess looked so good.”
Its eye-catching exterior look stems from the imagination of Ed Welburn, the
Howard University sculptor who how heads General Motors’ design teams and views the
Cadillac as a symbol of modern space technology. To Welburn, the fins on the back of
the Cadillacs he saw as a kid in the 50s signified the huge, propeller driven bombers
which had recently won World War II.
The new Cadillac designs still reflect the latest in space technology, he said, but
today’s skies are ruled by stealth aircraft, with short, angular lines that subtly modify the
plane’s shape. Both the stealth jet and the CTS embody power packed in a small frame,
and seem to be racing even when parked.
Under the hood, the CTS has a 304-horsepower V-6 engine which can be
remotely started from inside the house and with a low rumble from the twin exhausts.
Once unleashed, the CTS can jump from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.9 seconds. It has a
six-speed, automatic transmission which shifts with no detectable jolts or noise en route
to triple digits.
But it is the interior of the CTS where GM has outdone itself in comfort. The
captain’s chairs are wide, padded, covered with soft, double stitched leather and, in front,
can be either heated or air cooled. The dash consists of a pair of curved, leather-coated,
split-level, sections joined by a console topped with a pop-up navigation and information
system that operates via a touch screen and is one of the easiest to use on the road today.
Overhead is a double “ultra-view” sunroof spanning the front and rear sections of
the sedan – though only the front roof opens – with a power shade to keep all or part of
the sunlight out, if desired. There is no Bluetooth cell phone connection, but the CTS
does have GM’s OnStar communication system which, if you prefer, can also provide
turn by turn directions and serve as a built in phone system.
For music, the sedan has AM/FM and XM satellite radio, a single disc CD and
iPod player. And, for convenience, the entertainment system houses a 40 gigabyte hard
drive which can be used to copy music from CDs or take them from the iPod and
permanently store them. In short, it is a system providing something for any mood.
The 2008 CTS provides the kind of ride that can make you take an extra spin
around the block just because you’re reluctant to park and get out. It’s just that good.
2008 Cadillac CTS
DI V-6 Performance Sedan
EPA Mileage: 17 MPG City 26 MPG Highway
0 – 60 MPH 5.9 Seconds
1⁄4 Mile 14.8 Seconds
3.6-Liter Direct Injection V-6 engine producing 304 horsepower and 273 pound/feet of
torque; all wheel drive; 6-speed, automatic transmission; 4-wheel independent
suspension; stability control; all speed traction control; tire pressure monitor; 18-inch
painted aluminum wheels; sport suspension; antilock brake system; 4-wheel performance
disc brakes; adaptive, high intensity discharge headlamps w/ washer; fog lamps; daytime
running lamps; front & side impact airbags; head curtain side airbags; remote, keyless
AM/FM/ XM satellite radio; Bose 5.1 digital surround sound system with 10 speakers
and 40-GB hard drive; CD and iPod player; OnStar communications; double sunroof with
powered sunscreen; heated or cooled leather seats; tilt and telescope leather steering
wheel with audio and cruise controls; pop up navigation, audio and information system
with touch screen controls.
BMW 3 and 5-Series; Mercedes C-Class; Lexus GS; Infiniti G-37; Audi A4