Cadillac’s nautically themed design bent has an historical precedent: once upon a time its flagship luxury saloons really were proper American boats. With the advent of the CTS and ATS, particularly their performance driven V variants, it’s safe to say Caddy’s aren’t the sailing vessels they once were, but something closer to their European cousins in handling and performance.
About that— behind the wheel the CT6 inspires confidence with a side of endorphin release. Handling is fast and intuitive with excellent steering precision— the active damping absorbs the nasty bits, helping you hold cleanly to a line.
Both the 335-hp 3.6-liter V-6 and the all-new 404-hp twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6, offer palatable options, with the blown engine refreshing lack of turbo lag making it particularly appealing. Power is delivered to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission with flappy paddles if you want them
“The CT6 is nothing less than an entirely new approach to premium luxury – and an approach only Cadillac can offer,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Cadillac. “It is a bold endeavor with unmatched dynamism that reignites a passion for driving in large luxury vehicles. In short, it is prestige luxury reimagined.” Passengers will find themselves ensconced in the brand’s top tier expression of comfort, luxury and connectivity.
Caddy claims the CT6 is among the world’s lightest and most agile full-size luxury performance sedans, with dimensions and spaciousness of a pair with BMW’s short-wheelbase 7-Series, while weight, agility and efficiency akin to the Cadillac CTS – which is itself lighter than 5-Series. In fact, the CT6 is lighter than the 5-Series, 6-Series, and E-Class.
“We reinvented the approach to structural underpinnings in the quest to develop a unique formula for the prestige luxury performance sedan,” said de Nysschen. “Melding that new approach with the dynamics conveyed in our other award-winning rear-driven sedans – including V-Series – results in something that has been lost in the segment: the exhilaration of a true driver’s car.”
With the new flagship CT6 needing to be as light, well mannered, and capable of aggression as its smaller siblings, Cadillac looked to NASA for inspiration: “This is the rocket science of automobile construction and manufacturing today,” said Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen. “With the CT6, we used high-strength aluminum and high-strength steels; lightweight chassis components; we integrate aluminum and steel where it makes sense; we eliminate every gram of mass possible, while achieving world-class performance.”
All that focus on weight reduction helps improve fuel efficiency, while contributing to modern day sports/luxury driving dynamics. Keeping the kilos off also helps make the passenger cell more durable. By engineering the car so that 64% of the body structure is aluminium, including all exterior body panels –Caddy spared 90 kg over conventional steel fabrication.
“The structure of the CT6 is one of the most-advanced body systems we’ve ever produced,” said Travis Hester, Cadillac CT6 executive chief engineer. “The innovation surrounding our joining techniques have enabled us to create a vehicle structure with the highest torsional rigidity of any Cadillac while achieving one of the most mass-efficient vehicles in the segment.” In fact, Cadillac applied for 21 new patents in designing new material joining techniques that enabled engineers to design a completely new structure for the CT6. Its Omega architecture features 13 high-pressure aluminum castings in the body structure, creating a lighter, stiffer with “bank vault” levels of quietness. “This new construction approach has enabled us to produce a world-class vehicle that is larger in size and includes more standard equipment while achieving lower overall mass,” Hester said.
This flagship Caddy is loaded with tech, including standard true 360-degree camera view around the vehicle, enhanced night vision to help identify people, large animals and more via heat signatures, a rear camera mirror, advanced park assist and a large 10.2-inch-diagonal CUE interface screen with 1280 x 720 HD resolution and console mounted touchpad.
This new CT6 isn’t just on par with the competition; it is in some ways better. The car has much of the light touch and precision of a CTS, while gaining enough next level finery to compete with A8 and S-Class. You can wring every last drop of fun out of the CT6, and that’s a huge compliment. Then, when the day is done, you have a luxury saloon to roll home in— not bad, eh?
If there’s a downside at all, it’s that the car has both divisive looks and a lot of baggage as a marque. Caddy struggles to lure younger buyers in many markets, despite putting out what is arguably the greatest car in this segment. So ask yourself, do I care what other people think? Because the truth is, those other people probably wrong, unless they truly know what the CT6 has to offer.
By: Adel Habib