High Tech Meets Luxury – and the merger is awesome
Cadillac has long been America’s premier luxury brand . . . and for good reason. Not only have Cadillacs been historically opulent with luxurious interiors and big car styling, more often than not they broke ground with a large number of industry “firsts.” Cadillacs were the first vehicles equipped with self-starters, they were the first to mass produce V8-engines, they were the platform that introduced Magnetic Ride Control and the first with Telematics offering On Star services in 1996. So it’s no surprise that the new CT6 is a groundbreaking machine that folds in ample helpings of luxury, technology along with impressive performance and handling.
The Cadillac CT6 is GM’s highly luxurious vehicle delivering on a wide variety of fronts that will impress even savvy buyers. Cadillac’s newest Plug-In Hybrid features a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine boosted to 265 horsepower through the use of twin turbochargers. While some buyers will opt for the normally aspirated V6 engines rated at 335 and 404-horsepower respectively, the 2.0-liter engine is the most heralded of the line up but not simply for its advanced turbo technology and fuel saving nature (3-5 mph better than either V6 in normal driving, the Plug-In hybrid achieving a calculated 62 eMPG when you incorporate the all-electric mode mileage). In our testing, the four-cylinder turbo-boosted machine hits 60 miles from a standing stop in only 5.2-seconds. The version we tested featured the Premier package and comes with a premium price tag starting at $76,090.
In keeping with the cutting edge nature of Cadillac’s past, the CT6 sports all of the key technological advancements you’d expect from a premium class vehicle. Adaptive Cruise Control, rear automatic emergency braking, Lane Keep Assist and anti-lock braking are present and perform brilliantly. In Super Cruise, the vehicle delivers semi-autonomous driving assist that is a hint of the driver assist features yet to come. The Active Chassis Package adds active rear steering, 20-inch diameter wheels and adaptive suspension with Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control. Break out elements found on the CT6 include thermal night vision (very helpful in inclement weather), live camera rear view mirror and personally programmable dashboard data readout.
As noted earlier, the twin turbo four-cylinder engine package is capable of 5.2-second 0 to 60 mph times but that’s just part of the story. Passing maneuvers benefit from the advanced design suspension components (the rear steer is subtle but very beneficial) along with the continuously variable automatic transmission that puts the engine torque at exactly the right place in the curve. Even low-speed maneuvers are a breeze despite the car’s 4000 lb.+ weight – again engine torque coming on without a hint of turbo-lag. While the gear changes are notable, they were not objectionable in any way.
With big disc brakes at the four corners stopping power is excellent even from high speeds. We can honestly state that we have driven few cars that exhibited the smooth pedal feel of this Cadillac, something that was not the case with several other luxury cars we recently tested making those vehicles almost impossible to drive comfortably. The large 20-inch optional wheels and Continental tires were exceedingly quiet but were both soft on long rides and “grippy” when called upon.
The Plug-In Hybrid feature does allow the CT6 to run on 100% all electric power for a number of miles but like all cars of this kind, the stated range is never the same as we experienced in our driving cycle. GM states that on a full charge you can achieve 31 miles of all-electric range. In our case, we never achieved more than 18 miles and that required a very conservation-minded driving style. Of course, any hills in your surrounding area will erode that range significantly. Regardless, were surprised that this figure was so low.
Fully recharging the CT6 on our home 110v system took about 14 hours using the cable supplied with the Cadillac. Our recommendation if you plan to buy a CT6 is to upgrade your parking location with 220v system power, which brings the recharge time to about seven hours – basically overnight. In electric mode, the vehicle drives remarkably similar in full gasoline-power mode. The “torque curve” of an electric motor is always superior to internal combustion engines and that is clearly evident here.
The CT6’s styling won’t be for everyone but we liked the highly aerodynamic look that goes hand in hand with today’s high-end, high tech luxury vehicles. The styling is in keeping with current signature Cadillac design cues featuring elegant and luxurious elements that should appeal to today’s luxury vehicle buyer. If the Cadillac name is a turn off for some luxury vehicle buyers, that would be a shame since it is far afield from the overstuffed Cadillac-emblemed “boats” of the past. Once the exclusive territory of 65+ aged buyers, Cadillac has been doing an excellent job drawing interest from younger buyers who have discovered the brand through their smart marketing (their racing program has definitely been a great way to reframe the brand) and taking a drive in cars like the CT6. For those that take the time to drive the new CT6, they are in for one happy surprise.