More on the 2008 Motor Trend Car of the Year competition:
News flash to automakers in Japan and Germany: The eagle has landed. Again.
If you were one of those who wrote off General Motors as a dying dinosaur -- after all, it's been a decade since any GM car took home the Golden Calipers (the Chevrolet Corvette won back in 1998) -- prepare to rewrite everything you think you know about what's in the General's store. With this bold, savvy, uncompromising showpiece of a sedan -- the all-new Cadillac CTS -- GM has leapt straight from the rabble's side of the velvet rope into that coveted, highly selective inner sanctum marked "World's Finest Cars." For that remarkable achievement, and for making us grin like lottery winners every time we drove it, the CTS is our enthusiastic choice for Motor Trend's 2008 Car of the Year.
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. Allow your eyes to drink in that wide, gently chiseled shape. Mmmmm. This baby will turn heads like the elites from Europe, but it's unmistakably American, uniquely Cadillac. The wheel arches ride low and snug over the tires -- no more yawning "snow chain" gaps. The massive, cowcatcher prow says "get out of my way" -- but politely, like a tuxedo-clad bouncer. Close inspection of the headlamps and taillamps reveals exquisite, pizzazz-enhancing LED "light pipes." No, you haven't seen those before. GM's premium brand has perfected a look all its own.
Superiority? The CTS's winning ways go far beyond its fetching facade. Significance? Not only is the CTS the star of a new GM revival (including such standouts as the 2008 ChevyMalibu and Buick Enclave, to name just two), it's a true world car -- tested from the Nurburgring to China and sold across the globe (40,000 to 50,000 annually in the U.S., another 20,000 or so worldwide; Cadillac will also build right-hand-drive versions). Value? Base price is just $32,990, including a 263-horse VVT V-6 (a 304-horse direction-injection version is optional), eight-speaker Bose audio, 17-inch wheels, and dual-zone climate control. In comparison, you'll pay over $33,000 for a base BMW3 Series sedan with just 230 horses and north of $45K for the more comparably sized BMW 528i.
Read on to see how Cadillac -- winner of the first Motor Trend Car of the Year award nearly six decades ago -- earned the Golden Calipers for 2008. While you're at it, start practicing using the words "General Motors" and "celebrated" in the same sentence.