Cadillac CT6 was an all-new car for 2016, a luxury sedan intended to challenge Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Audi A8. The 2017 Cadillac CT6 lineup includes a new plug-in hybrid model. Otherwise, CT6 carries over to 2017 unchanged.
The CT6 is sleek and graced with good handling. It has efficient engineering going for it, enabling it to weigh substantially less than similar Mercedes or BMW models. That means the Cadillac’s silky V6 brings as much speed as the competitors’ throaty and thirsty V8s.
There are three gasoline engines available, all direct injection and mated to an excellent 8-speed automatic transmission. Base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 265 horsepower; then a non-turbo 3.6-liter V6 making 335 hp; and a new 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 breaking the 400 barrier with 404 hp. The V6 powertrains are available with all-wheel drive. A 400-horsepower four-wheel-drive Cadillac sounds pretty honkin’, even if it is called a Platinum.
The CT6 is Cadillac’s new flagship sedan.
The 2017 Cadillac CT6 ($53,495) comes with a choice of 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and rear-wheel drive or 3.6-liter V6 and all-wheel drive ($55,495). CT6 can be upgraded to Luxury ($54,891), Premium Luxury ($59,438), and Platinum ($78,040) trim levels. Options include massaging rear seats and 34-speaker sound systems. (All prices are MSRP and do not include destination charges.)
The CT6 comes with a standard rearview camera. Available safety features include forward-collision warnings with automatic braking, blind-spot monitors, and surround-view cameras. The pioneering rear camera mirror takes some getting used to.
The CT6 and CTS share styling details, from sharp sheetmetal creases to LED blade lenses. But the longer wheelbase of the CT6 gives it a Cadillac-classic long hood and trunk.
The cabin is the finest Cadillac ever made, and it’s rife with high-quality materials that fit as well as anything we’ve ever seen from Cadillac.
But the aesthetics could be warmer; it lacks the flourishes that have made the German sedans evocative and emotionally appealing machines. The CT6 can’t compete with the Mercedes S-Class with its gorgeous arcs of chrome and glowing LED rainbows, or the fantastic sandwiched wood-and-metal trim in the Audi A8. Don’t misunderstand. We think the Cadillac design of spare and pure is a good one. It’s the Barcelona chair of its class, and that’s an exciting direction for Cadillac.
The CT6 has exceptional room, especially rear legroom, although the center rear passenger will be perched high and uncomfortable on the transmission tunnel, while the NBA forwards on either side of him will be fine, even with headroom. An optional Rear Seat Package massages and reclines the seats, and shows entertainment on the 10-inch screens, in your 400-horsepower four-wheel-drive Cadillac.
The rear seats don’t fold flat, while the rear seatbelt receivers are too deep in the seats, and hard to find especially when the armrest is down. There’s a trap door over the armrest to the trunk, to carry long thin things. The trunk holds a big 15.3 cubic feet.
The driver’s seat is very firm and flat. It needs either more bolstering or softer cushions, as well as a wider range of adjustment. There’s a large center console under an armrest. The CUE infotainment system is standard, appearing on a 10.2-inch hi-resolution screen.
It’s quiet inside because the engine has a steel block, says Cadillac. A steel block is quieter than aluminum. That means less interior sound-deadening material is needed. That material weighs more than the difference between a steel block and an aluminum block. That’s the efficient engineering.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged model, 428 pounds lighter than the V6 models, is agile and light on its feet, taut and sometimes even too stiff, the closest thing to a sport sedan that CT6 offers. (Mercedes has their AMG and BMW their M, but there’s nothing there for the CT6.) The aluminum-and-steel chassis is rigid, and the electric steering is direct, with a pleasant heft and zesty response. But because the CT6 is long and wide, there’s too much car to feel truly sporty; the V6 with its heavier nose tends to understeer when pushed.
There’s an Active Chassis Package ($3300) including magnetic dampers with a firm grip on body motion, and rear-steer system to help the car turn in better. The rear wheels turn in the opposite direction, up to 3.5 degrees, helping the car rotate in low-speed turns, and providing stability in quick high-speed maneuvers.
However the magnetic dampers don’t offer as much range as the suspensions do on the S-Class and A8. The CT6 rides firm all the time, no matter which mode it’s in, from Tour to Sport. The Mercedes and Audi know when to soften up.
Of course, the Mercedes is about 1000 pounds heavier than the CT6 with the 2.0 engine. The heaviest CT6, the twin-turbo V6 with all-wheel drive, that 400 horsepower four-wheel-drive model, is still 225 pounds lighter than a BMW 7.
The turbocharged four-cylinder can hit sixty miles per hour from a standing start in 6.1 seconds, while the V6 can do it in 5.3 seconds. Power from the V6 is strong and smooth, equal to a V8.
The Cadillac CT6 is big, quiet, roomy and luxurious. It’s sleek and, lighter than the competition, it handles well.
Sam Moses filed this report, with driving impressions by The Car Connection.