DETROIT – The Cadillac CTS, which five years ago breathed new life into the listless brand, returns as a redesigned ’08 model for its debut here at the North American International Auto Show.

The updated sedan softens the angular lines of its predecessor, a design cue that will carry over into a coupe, wagon and cross/utility vehicle variant that are on the way.

The front fascia of the ’08 CTS, with its prominent chrome dual-textured grille, center-positioned wreath and crest and vertically stacked headlamps, is mindful of the Cadillac Sixteen supercar concept unveiled by General Motors Corp. at the Detroit show in 2003.

The ’08 CTS retains the previous vertical taillamps, but its new roofline and rear backlight provide a coupe-like feel. The vehicle sports 7-spoke, 17-ins. wheels, with 9-spoke, 18-in. alloys available.

GM’s new focus on interiors is evident, with a brighter and more upscale ambiance. Interior upgrades include hand-cut and sewn instrument panel and door-trim surfaces, as well as light-emitting diode backlighting for door pulls, foot wells and instruments.

The new CTS is 191.6 ins. (476.6 cm) long, 72.5 ins. (184 cm) wide and 58 ins. (147 cm) in height. Wheelbase is 113.4 ins. (288 cm), with a front/rear track of 61.8 /62.0 ins. (157/158 cm).

GM has not announced the engine, but it likely will be the auto maker’s new high-feature 3.6L V-6 with direct-gasoline injection.

The new mill is said to produce 15% more horsepower than anything in GM’s current V-6 lineup and shares its architecture with the current CTS’ existing 3.6L.

The more powerful engine would allow the CTS to compete with BMW, Nissan and Toyota brands, all of which have crested the 300-hp mark with their high-end 6-cyl. mills.

– with Mike Sutton

scanderson@wardsauto.com