Cadillac’s new full-size CT6 sedan certainly isn’t “old Cadillac.” It seems to be trying very hard to be a competent German car, and it succeeds in some ways. But while I like this Caddy’s sharp exterior styling, the inside seems more like an upscale Chevrolet, although it is luxurious in a sport-tuned way.
These may just be observations of growing pains, as this brand stretches its wheelbase and aims for younger customers. Cadillac says it set out to create a prestigious luxury sedan that combines technology and full-size luxury with the driving attitude of a midsize sport sedan.
The CT6 is sold with three engine choices and an eight-speed automatic transmission in rear- or all-wheel drive. Pricing starts at $54,490 for the rear-drive CT6 with a 265 horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The range-topping CT6 Platinum with twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine is sold in Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum trim levels. Starting prices range from $65,390 to $88,460. The midrange model with a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V-6 engine has starting prices that range from $56,490 to $84,460. Today’s tester is a Premium Luxury AWD (one step below Platinum). It cost $77,340 with five options, including the $995 freight charge from Hamtramck, Michigan.
The sticker price went beyond my initial guess, but technologies add up. And the tester included a 34-speaker Bose Panaray audio system, $3,700, the driver-assistance package, $4,380, with front and rear automatic braking, adaptive cruise control and night vision. The Dark Adriatic Blue metallic paint, $495, is a beauty. But for $77,000 it would seem that vented front seats and heated rear window seats, $900, should be among the standard equipment.
The most significant and worthy package for the sport-sedan enthusiast was the active-chassis package, $3,300, which adds magnetic ride control, active rear steering and 20-inch wheels. Magnetic ride control is more like magic ride control; it makes ride quality so much better with subtle, yet svelte cornering, bump mitigation and balletic dips and turns. The active rear steering helps the car tuck in quicker at high speeds. In the standard CT6, the ride control also cuts the turning circle down from 40 feet to 37 feet at low speeds.
Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen calls the CT6 “the rocket science of automobile construction and manufacturing today.” It is one of the world’s lightest and most agile full-size luxury performance sedans, he said. It has the dimensions and spaciousness of the BMW 7-Series, but at 3,926 pounds its curb weight is about 800 pounds lighter.
Lighter is better for performance and fuel economy. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to enjoy the car.
The 335-horsepower, direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6 engine integrates auto stop-start at idle and active fuel management, known as cylinder deactivation, for those times when not all six cylinders are needed. The power is adequate, but not demonstrative. The 284 foot-pounds of torque peaks rather high at 5,300 rpm, so there is more passing power for interstate action rather than low-end launch force.
Fuel economy on the recommended 87 octane is 18 mpg city, 27 highway and 22 mpg combined. I averaged 22.6 mpg and wasn’t sparing the horses.
Moving up, the 404-horsepower, direct-injection and twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 makes a stronger Cadillac statement, but it is still not demonstrative of power. This new engine has 400 foot-pounds of torque from 2,500-5,100 rpm with mileage numbers of 18 mpg city and 26 highway on the required premium fuel.
The eight-speed automatic is fairly direct when responding to a heavy foot on the accelerator. Between all the sensors monitoring traction and stability inputs, the steering-wheel angle and the appropriate gear for a downshift, there are a lot of numbers to be analyzed before the driver gets what he or she wants.
Four-wheel disc brakes have 13.6-inch vented front rotors with ferritic nitro-carburized rotors (whatever those are) and 12.4-inch vented rear discs with two-piston, aluminum calipers.
The lane-keep assist with departure warning is more insistent and abrupt in its intervention that other such systems. It was as if the machine was arguing with me, and at times, depending on the curvature of the road, the system seemed oversensitive to me straying too near the white line, or what it thought was the white lane. But it makes no correction when crossing the center yellow lines. I didn’t like the insistence and wanted to turn it off.
The CT6 has the content and technology credentials of a world-class competitor. It’s all here. The only question might be whether the CT6 is your style of Cadillac.
Mark Maynard is online at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find photo galleries and more news at Facebook.com/MaynardsGarage