2018 Cadillac CT6
The American manufacturers have long been absent from serious contention in the large sedan segment. No more. Cadillac's CT6 is a no-joke entry to compete with the best Germany and Japan have to offer in the luxury executive car segment.
It all begins with an exterior that's at once elegant and assertive, sophisticated and sporty. Separate but aligned LED running lights in the swept-back headlights and lower front fascia provide a unique bit of flair, while a broad grille and elongated hood hint at the sedan's rear-wheel-drive architecture.
The cabin blends a modern design with high-quality furnishings, with trim choices including anodized aluminum, carbon fiber and numerous selections of wood. None need be qualified by an "imitation-" prefix - they're the real deal. Premium "Opus” leather is available, but it doesn't stop there. Cadillac offers other leather options, carbon fiber, exotic woods and other interior combinations in order to help each customer tailor his her ownership experience.
As with all modern Cadillacs, the CT6 is fitted with CUE — Cadillac's infotainment system — which is operated through a touchscreen interface in the center stack along with capacitive-touch controls. Similar to tablet devices, it lets users tap, flick and swipe to control Bluetooth connectivity, entertainment and navigation functions while also providing access to weather information, local fuel prices, Pandora internet radio and more.
The CT6 aims to be a car that is just as pleasant to be driven in as it is to drive. As such, the rear seat received a great deal of attention. An articulating rear seat package allows 3.3 inches of adjustability, along with lumbar adjustment, tilting cushions, a massager and heating/ventilation.
The center console is adorned with inputs and controls for the expansive rear seat infotainment system. USB and HDMI inputs allow for device connectivity, while 10-inch retracting screens in the seatbacks provide the venue.
Other premium features available include a 34-speaker Bose Panaray audio system, "quadzone” climate control (front and rear dual-zone), concierge approach lighting, a hands-free power decklid and segment-leading interior storage.
Power and Performance
The CT6 can be optioned with one of four powertrain configurations. A turbocharged four-cylinder leads it off, followed by two V6s — one naturally aspirated and the other twin-turbocharged — and a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. All engines are paired exclusively to an eight-speed automatic transmission with the exception of the hybrid, which shifts through a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The four-cylinder is a two-liter, turbocharged unit producing 265 horsepower at 5,500 RPM and a very respectable 295lb-ft of torque between 3,000 and 4,500 RPM. This engine is rated for 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, making it very efficient for a large sedan with no hybrid option. It is only available in a rear-wheel-drive configuration.
The next step up is a 3.6L, naturally aspirated V6. It makes 335 horsepower at 6,800 RPM and 284lb-ft of torque at 5,300. It's good for 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. This engine is offered only with all-wheel-drive.
The range-topper is Cadillac's twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6. This excellent motor delivers 404 horsepower and 400lb-ft of torque, the former at 5,700 RPM and the latter from just 2,500. Like the 3.6L V6, this engine is offered only with all-wheel-drive. Fuel economy is rated at 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway—both very respectable for a sedan of this size.
The plug-in hybrid option teams the base CT6's turbo four with an electric motor that draws power from a 18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The system's total output checks in at 335 horsepower and a stout 432 pound-feet of torque, enough for a zero-to-60-mph sprint of 5.2 seconds.
Note Cadillac makes the plug-in CT6 alongside the Buick Envision in Shanghai, China. Non-electrified models are manufacatured in Michigan.
Fuel economy checks in at 26 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway, and 29 mpg in a combined cycle. The battery pack stores enough electricity to give the CT6 an electric-only range of up to 33 miles.
Trim Level Breakdown
The CT6 is offered in four trim levels: CT6 (base), Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum.
As befits a luxury car, the basic CT6 model comes very well-equipped. Standard features include an eight-speaker Bose audio system, OnStar with LTE, auto stop/start, 18” alloy wheels, body-colored door handles, a capless fueling system, laminated acoustic front glass, heated and power-adjustable outside mirrors, LED front and rear lighting, dual-zone climate control, driver's seat memory, front and rear dual USB charging ports, front and rear power outlets and rear auxiliary inputs and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The CT6 comes standard with the two-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with rear-wheel drive, but it can also be ordered with the 3.6L naturally aspirated six and all-wheel-drive. V6 models can be equipped with an available ground effects package and also come standard with dual exhaust outlets.
An available Driver Awareness and Convenience package adds a handful of comfort and safety features, including forward collision alert, low speed automatic braking, a following distance indicator, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, pedestrian detection (front), rear cross traffic alert, automatic safety belt tightening, blind spot monitoring, a panoramic power sunroof, IntelliBeam automatic headlamps, heated front seats, power-folding heated side mirrors and CUE with Navigation.
Stepping up to the 2.0T and 3.6L Luxury trim adds all of the features of the Driver Awareness and Convenience package, plus a power trunk lid, rain sensing wipers, a Bose 10-speaker audio system, a 110v power outlet, 16-way power adjustable front seats, surround vision camera and various interior sensors.
A new package is introduced with the Luxury trim: the Enhanced Vision and Comfort package. It adds a rear camera mirror with HD video, a panoramic power sunroof, ventilated front seats and heated outboard rear seats.
Certain Luxury models can also be equipped with the Rear Seat package. The Rear Seat package adds media controls to the center rear armrest, along with dual 10” rear seatback screens, a remote control, auxiliary inputs for the rear seat infotainment system, and wireless stereo headphones.
The Bose Panaray audio system is also available starting on the Luxury trim level. 3.0 TT Luxury models can also be optioned with the Comfort, Driver Assist and Active Chassis packages detailed below.
The next step up is the Premium Luxury trim. This is available only on 3.6L and 3.0L twin-turbo models. It includes all features of the Enhanced Vision and Comfort package, plus a configurable HUD.
Several packages are available on the Premium Luxury trim: the Comfort package, the Driver Assist Package and the Active Chassis Package.
The Comfort package adds ventilated front cushions and seatbacks and heated rear outboard seats. The Driver Assist package adds adaptive cruise control, enhanced night vision and front/rear automatic braking. The Active Chassis package adds magnetic ride control, active rear steering and 20” wheels with all-season tires.
The Platinum trim level essentially makes everything standard, with the exception of a ground effects package and a handful of a la carte accessories, including performance brake pads and an engine block heater.
Standard features include front, front-side, front-knee and side-curtain airbags. DRLs are also standard, as are LATCH anchors, a basic rear-view camera and OnStar basic/emergency services. Forward collision alert, low speed automatic braking, a following distance indicator, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, pedestrian detection (front), rear cross traffic alert, automatic safety belt tightening, blind spot monitoring can all be added via packages, as can adaptive cruise control.
The CT6 is aimed at the large executive sedan segment. Competitors include the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Jaguar XJ and Lexus LS. Infiniti also plays in this space with the "L” version of its Q70 sedan, though it hasn't fielded a dedicated entry in this segment in quite some time.