Cadillac’s newest sedan, the full-size CT6, has arrived for 2016, offering luxury-car buyers a solid domestic option to the European blue-blood models from such automakers as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi.
The CT6 marks Cadillac’s return to the global prestige luxury segment, the automaker says, and is one of eight all-new Cadillac vehicles that GM will launch by the end of this decade as part of its $12 billion investment to continue revitalizing the brand.
Larger and roomier than Cadillac’s popular midsize CTS, the new CT6 comes with a choice of three engines: the base 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder with 265 horsepower and 295 foot-pounds of torque; a new 3.6-liter normally aspirated V-6 with 335 horsepower and 284 foot-pounds of torque; and, for those of us who like more power, an all-new 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that cranks out 404 horsepower and 400 foot-pounds of torque.
All three are connected to one of two different eight-speed automatic transmissions.
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Prices start at $53,495 (plus $995 freight) for the base 2.0 Turbo model, and range as high as $87,465 for the 3.0 Twin Turbo Platinum model. In between are seven other models, distinguished by engines and included amenities.
Our test vehicle for this report was the CT6 Premium Luxury model, with a base price of $63,570. It came with the 3.6-liter engine and a host of standard features and $12,775 in select options, which ran the total sticker price to $77,340, including freight.
Cadillac says the new CT6 is one of the world’s lightest and most-agile full-size luxury performance sedans, with dimensions and spaciousness on par with BMW’s short-wheelbase 7-Series.
But it has about the same weight, agility and efficiency of the slightly smaller CTS. As a result, the CT6 is lighter than the BMW 5-Series and 6-Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Its body structure makes ample use of aluminum to provide strength and make the vehicle lighter, which helps with fuel economy.
The car has some really cool new features, including a rearview mirror that isn’t really a mirror, but a camera system that gives the driver a completely unobstructed view to the rear – with no headrests or body elements blocking the way. The regular mirror is there, too – the driver can choose the camera view by flipping the lever at the bottom of the mirror just like changing from day to night view on a standard rearview mirror.
After a week in the CT6, though, I can tell you that the camera mirror would take some getting used to. I tried using it several times, but found myself switching back to the conventional mirror, mostly because the camera view was a bit distorted at times, which was distracting. If I owned the car, though, I believe I would eventually use this feature more.
The CT6 four-cylinder models come with rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is standard with both of the V-6 engines, so it was included on our tester. Of course, the all-wheel drive is meant for slippery road surfaces and to add stability in turns, but isn’t intended for any kind of off-road driving. This car is too low to the ground to take off the pavement.
The active-on-demand all-wheel drive features a continuously variable clutch that varies the power sent to the different wheels to make the most of handling and stability in all conditions, Cadillac says.
The vehicle also comes with such technologies as Active Rear Steer, Magnetic Ride Control and selectable drive modes. Also included is Auto Vehicle Hold, a driver-selectable feature that prevents forward/rearward vehicle creep when the driver’s foot is off the brake. It reduces fatigue during heavy stop-and-go traffic and improves vehicle control on steep grades. Some SUV models have a similar technology that most call “hill hold.”
Our tester came with the 360-degree around-view camera, which put the image on the Cadillac CUE dash screen, to help reduce blind spots around the vehicle. It’s similar to the Nissan/Infiniti Around View Monitor. The image is displayed to the left of the rearview-camera view on the big dash screen – which is completely different from the rearview mirror camera system. It gives the driver a virtual bird’s-eye view of the vehicle and its surroundings, which was particularly helpful in crowded parking lots.
The CT6 also offers the industry’s first surround-view video recording system, which can record front and rear views while driving, and can do 360 degrees of recording if the vehicle’s security system is activated. It records onto an SD card, but we couldn’t test the system because our vehicle did not have an SD card installed.
There is also Enhanced Night Vision, which helps identify people and animals in the vehicle’s path, displaying them on the instrument-panel display for the driver information center. This is part of the Driver Assist Package ($4,380) that was included on our test vehicle. The package also brought front and rear automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control, which paces the vehicle to the one it is following.
Other new technologies include Advanced Park Assist, which can almost park the car by itself, and Pedestrian Collision Mitigation, which gives the driver alerts to dangerous situations. Both are standard on the Premium Luxury model we had, along with lane departure warning and lane-keep assist, automatic safety belt tightening, rear cross-traffic alert, and side blind-zone alert.
Our car also had a head-up display that projected the vehicle’s speed and other information on the lower edge of the windshield directly in front of the driver.
The Jet Black leather interior included two very comfortable heated bucket seats up front, with 16-way power adjustment for the driver and front passenger. The rear bench seat can hold three people quite comfortably, and there is no lack of leg or knee room.
This car also has a power-operated trunk lid, which has hands-free operation. These are features usually seen only on SUVs. There’s also a very cool wide-view sunroof, and the rear side windows have manual sunshades. They can interfere with the driver’s side vision, though.
My only real complaint about the interior was the lack of cubbies/storage spaces for gadgets and such. There is room for one smartphone on the outside front of the center console storage box, and it does allow for wireless charging of compatible phones – although my state-of-the-art Samsung Galaxy S7 didn’t want to connect.
Standard is the Cadillac Cue information and media control system with Apple CarPlay capability and a Bose 10-speaker Surround Sound audio system. But our car came with the optional Bose Panaray Sound System ($3,700), which had incredible sound through its – count ’em – 34 speakers.
We also had the Active Chassis Package ($3,300), which added Magnetic Ride Control, the Active Rear Steering, and 20-inch ultra-bright machined-aluminum wheels. The Comfort Package ($900) gave us ventilated front seats and heated outboard rear seats.
The Dark Adriatic Blue exterior paint added $495 to the price.
Our tester’s normally aspirated V-6 engine provided more-than-adequate power, but not quite as much as I expected. The eight-speed transmission shifted smoothly, and handling was precise and predictive, even on some tight mountain twisties we found during a weekend drive.
Overall, the CT6 is a luxury sedan that can hold its own with those pricey European competitors, and it’s comfortable and accommodating even for long road trips. I haven’t had the opportunity to test the four-cylinder or turbocharged V-6 models yet, but I’m looking forward to trying them soon.
The automotive columns of G. Chambers Williams III have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 1994. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @gchambers3.
2016 Cadillac CT6
The package: Five-passenger, four-door, rear- or all-wheel-drive, four-cylinder or V-6 powered, large sedan.
Highlights: Cadillac’s newest large sedan arrived as a late 2016 model, offering a choice of three engines – two of them turbocharged – and a host of new technology, connectivity and luxury features, including a rearview mirror that uses a camera to eliminate blind spots.
Negatives: Can get quite pricey; all-wheel drive not offered with four-cylinder engine.
Engines: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder (standard); normally aspirated 3.6-liter V-6 (optional); twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 (optional).
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.
Power/torque: 265 HP./295 foot-pounds(2.0-liter); 335 HP./284 foot-pounds (3.6-liter); 404 HP./400 foot-pounds (3.0-liter).
Brakes, front/rear: Disc/disc, antilock.
Length: 204 inches.
Base curb weight: 3,657 pounds (2.0); 3,926 pounds (3.6); 4,085 pounds (3.0).
Trunk volume: 15.3 cubic feet.
Towing capacity: 1,000 pounds.
EPA fuel economy: 22 mpg city/31 highway (2.0); 18/27 (3.6); 18/25 (3.0).
Fuel capacity/type: 19.5 gallons (all models)/premium recommended but not required (2.0); unleaded regular (3.6); premium required (3.0).
Base price: $53,495-$87,465, plus $995 freight.
Price as tested: $77,340, including freight and options (Premium Luxury model, 3.6-liter, AWD).
Major competitors: Lexus GS, LS; BMW 5-series, 7-series; Mercedes-Benz E-class; Infiniti Q70/Q70L, Audi A6, A8, Jaguar XF.
On the Road rating: 9.3 (of a possible 10).
Prices shown are manufacturer’s suggested retail; actual selling price may vary.