For 2005, the Cadillac CTS introduces a new line, the CTS 2.8, providing an under-$40,000 entry-level to what is Cadillac’s entry-level model. Other CTS changes include new 16-inch painted or machined wheels, a restyled instrument cluster, and three new exterior colours.

The 2.8 is a variation of the all-aluminum 3.6-litre V6 found in the mid-range CTS 3.6. A new six-speed manual comes with both the 2.8 and 3.6, although both can be optioned to a five-speed automatic.

The 2.8 comes with all of the luxury features expected in a Cadillac, including fog lights, heated power mirrors, 16-inch aluminum wheels, automatic dual-zone electronic climate control, cruise control, five-language driver information centre, puddle lights, auto-dimming mirror with compass and OnStar system, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, power express up/down on the front windows and express down on the rear, "leatherette" heated seats with eight-way power driver’s seat, rear seat pass-through, CD player with seven speakers, four-wheel vented brake discs with ABS, wiper-activated headlights, and traction control. It’s quite a package, considering that the 3.6 only adds the bigger engine and real leather interior.

The CTS 2.8 doesn’t have the acceleration of its bigger brother (which, in turn, has nothing on the CTS-V, but that car’s $70,700), but it’s still a superb ride, with a suspension that spent considerable time at the fabled Nürburgring in Germany, where engineers made sure the crisp handling, tight springs and minimal body roll were up to the standards set by such competitors as BMW and Audi. The six-speed manual makes for spirited driving even with the smaller engine. The interior has been refined considerably, although it still looks a bit industrial; the exterior styling that seemed so bizarre at first has mellowed to angular elegance, at least in the eye of the beholder. Personal preference will always mean a lot, but this time, it looks like Detroit can hold its own against the Teutons.

The CTS is built in Lansing, Michigan.

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