2008 Cadillac STS-V Test Drive

I regularly monitor Ebay for  any Cadillac V-Series that show up.  The Cadillac V-Series are tuned high-performance luxury models from Cadillac, and are special, limited production models.  The CTS-V, the STS-V, and the XLR-V are the examples released to date.  These are fairly rare automobiles, so I stopped by this morning to meet this local Cadillac STS-V in person.

2008 Cadillac STS-V

I have been shopping for a 2008 Cadillac STS-V.  I would enjoy simply getting a new 2009/2010 Cadillac CTS-V, but they are still more expensive than I care to spend.  The STS-V when new cost around US$79K, but they are depreciating nicely and have almost / not quite come into my targeted price range.

2008 STS-V Back

This example is a nice off-lease STS-V with 22K miles.  It was purchased in Oklahoma, then went to auction and came along to Addison, Texas near Plano.   It appeared to be in good condition, good tires, good interior.

The STS-V has a 469 hp Supercharged 4.4L DOHC VVT direct injected V8 engine. It has Brembo performance brakes, and a tuned suspension using Sachs shocks/struts. It is definitely a runner.  The leather seats have suede inserts to give additional friction for keeping you in the seat.  The steering wheel forgoes the normal Cadillac wood trim for more grippy leather. There are wood trim highlights on the console and doors of course.

2008 STS-V Door wood trim highlight

The STS-V was one of the first examples of the Cadillac cut and sew approach to interior leather. The interior pieces are hand-cut to fit and sewn together, giving a very careful, custom finish to the interior.  An interesting point to me is that the navigation screen actually has a narrow-angle tilt adjustment, I assume to ensure maximum visibility in a variety of lighting situations; I found this a very thoughtful feature.

2008 Cadillac STS-V interior shot

The STS-V uses 18″ wheels in the front, 19″ wheels in the back, with big rubber — P255/45R18 front and P275/40R19 rear, Pirelli, W-rated, EMT, blackwall from the factory.  This one had Bridgestone Turanza Serenity tires on it, so one might assume the originals were replaced.  Due to the staggered wheel sizes, and to save weight, there is no spare tire in the STS-V.  The original equipment tires were run-flat tires.

One can see the 4-piston Brembo brake calipers and 14″ discs in the photo below.  These Cadillacs are the complete package, and go, stop, and turn well.

2008 STS-V wheels

Driving Impressions

I was very interested to see how the STS-V compared with the 2010 Cadillac CTS-V I test drove last weekend.  The CTS-V had the optional Recaro Sport seats, and the STS-V had ‘regular’ seats.  The STS-V seats are comfortable, but I prefer the Recaro seats.

The STS-V has more then adequate pickup of course, with 469 hp on tap.   It gives up a bit to the CTS-V’s 556 hp, but it is hard to say that 469 hp is not enough. The CTS-V has the terrific MR magnetic suspension, while the STS-V shares the 1st generation CTS-V’s tuned Sachs struts/shocks.    Both cars have electronic stability control, traction control, limited slip differentials, and share the same 6 speed automatic transmission with driver shift control.

I was surprised that the STS-V has a bit of supercharger whine.  Nothing to complain about (I like it), but it is there.  The CTS-V made a variety of delightful noises under power, but I did not detect any Supercharger whistle from inside the car, although my friend Jim noted that as I pulled up he could hear the CTS-V Supercharger.

The attraction of the 2008 STS-V is that it is a lot less expensive than the CTS-V, but has a lot of the similar performance traits, and has some features that are not available in the CTS family.  For example, the 2008 STS-V has head’s up display (HUD), lane departure warning, side blind zone alert, and adaptive cruise control.


This test drive further validated my conclusion that the STS-V would be a terrific car to get for my next Cadillac.  With the jewel-like 4.4L Supercharged DOHC VVT Northstar V8, it is a historically important model.  This was not the ‘last’ Northstar, but this series was the peak of Northstar V8 development.  I am a function over form guy, but I recognize that this is a special, hand-built engine performing very well on the platform it was exactly designed to power.  In 2008 this car was the finest sports luxury sedan Cadillac offered.

2008 Cadillac STS-V Supercharged Northstar

2 thoughts on “2008 Cadillac STS-V Test Drive

  1. I really like both the STS-V and the newer CTS-V. I haven’t seen either of them yet over here in Sweden but I will own one someday.
    The new CTS is a beautiful car but then again the STS-V has a “brutish” but yet refined styling that really strikes me, and it is also the first and last Cadillac with the blown Northstar engine.
    Keep up the good work Bruce!

  2. In side by side photos the Cadillac STS-V has a lot more character than the 1st gen CTS-V. Not sure vs the 2nd Gen who would get the nod. I think either one would look good in the driveway!
    Another minor detail – the STS-V has a ‘manual’ sun shield cover below the sunroof, and a single width sunroof; the CTS-V has an electric sun shield and a double width sunroof.

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