2016 Cadillac CT6 Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Editor
June 13, 2016

With the space of a larger car, the handling of a smaller car, and a starting price in the $50,000s, the CT6 is a large luxury car value.

Cadillac's upmarket shift hasn't gone as smoothly as the company had hoped. A universally praised redesign of the CTS moved it up in size and price, but sales have been tepid and customer incentives have soared as high as a combined $10,000. Many have suggested it might have been better if the new mid-sizer didn't share its name with the formerly compact, formerly cheaper CTS.

That's where the all-new full-size Cadillac and its all-new name—CT6—may avoid such positioning missteps, and finally reestablish the brand as a serious player in the luxury market. With the CT6, Cadillac has set its competitive sights on flagships from Lexus, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi.

The CT6 continues the evolution of Cadillac's "Art & Science" design language. The nose features vertical LED headlights that slash up and over the top of the fenders. These frame a broad grille with Cadillac's new de-wreathed-and-supersized badge. The car has an athletic, planted stance with the sheet metal draped over the wheels. The long dash-to-axle ratio indicates this is a rear-drive-based car, the short front overhang adds to the athletic look, and the long rear overhang gives a sense of direction and indicates this a large car.

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Inside, the CT6 has a horizontal theme to emphasize the width. A single character line runs the full width of the dash, and the center peak from the exterior can be found in the middle of the dash as well. The shape of the opening for the 10.2-inch center screen echoes the chevron shape of the grille, and the same shape can be found in the seat pattern. Satin chrome is used to keep the car from looking too "blingy," and it is accented by wood, carbon fiber, and leather.

The new Omega architecture combines aluminum and steel, and Cadillac says that makes it lighter than an all-aluminum car would be. The result is a car that, in its lightest form, weighs in at just 3,657 pounds, about 1,000 pounds less than the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Given its modest weight, one might expect the CT6 to drive like a sport sedan. However, there is simply too much car here to deliver truly sporty handling. Instead, the CT6 combines a capable dynamic character with on-road comfort.

From the driver’s seat, all CT6 models have the vault-like, hunkered down ride quality of the top full-size luxury sedans, though the suspension is a bit firmer than you’ll find in the 7 Series and certainly firmer than in the S-Class. Similarly, the steering is heavier and more direct than you’ll find in the CT6’s full-size rivals.

The CT6 launches with a trio of direct-injected engines, all mated to 8-speed automatic transmissions: a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 making 265 horsepower, a 3.6-liter V-6 with 335 hp, and a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that produces 404 hp.

The purest expression of the CT6’s weight savings ideology is actually the 2.0-liter, rear-wheel-drive base model. With 428 fewer pounds to carry around, this version feels the most agile, the lightest on its feet, and the closest thing to a full-size sports sedan. The 4-cylinder provides surprisingly good power, too.

The new twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 delivers strong, smooth power. However, it also adds more weight over the nose. That makes turn-in a bit slower and gives the car a tendency to understeer when pushed into corners. The lighter base model rotates a bit better and so do models equipped with the optional active rear steering system (part of the $3,300 Active Chassis Package), which can apply 3.5 degrees of opposite steering angle to the rear wheels to virtually shorten low-speed turns.

The CT6’s interior is Cadillac’s finest cabin yet, and it is rife with high-quality materials. It has the next generation of the CUE infotainment system, complete with a 10.2-inch, high-definition touchscreen, and a touchpad that can recognize handwriting in a search for addresses or points of interest.

However, in some ways the cabin doesn't measure up to those of its rivals, which are some of the finest interiors on the planet. It lacks the little design flourishes and unexpected bits of metallic trim that the German sedans have. The driver’s seat isn’t as comfortable, either, with too little bolstering and not enough range of motion for all types of drivers to find their ideal seating positions. Space, however, is not a problem.

The rear seat is similarly spacious. At 40.4 inches, it has enough leg room for an NBA forward, and head room is plentiful, too. A large center console provides storage and a nice armrest. It covers what is otherwise a rather unfriendly middle seating position.

Like most cars in this class, The CT6 offers a multitude of safety features. These include forward collision alert, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, front pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alerts, blind-spot monitors, intelligent high-beam headlights, low-speed automatic front braking with pedestrian detection, low-speed automatic rear braking, and night vision. There is also a surround-view camera system, and an industry-first rear camera mirror.

The CT6 hasn't been crash tested yet, but its solid structure should produce top results.

Fuel economy ratings have pegged the CT6 near the top of its competitors. Fitted with a small-displacement, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine has its benefits: the EPA rated it at 31 mpg in highway cruising.

In addition to the safety features, Cadillac offers numerous luxury amenities and technical features. Like the rest of the GM fleet, there's OnStar 4G LTE with a wi-fi hotspot. An optional Rear Seat Package has a massaging function and two 10-inch rear screens. A 34-speaker Bose Panaray audio system is offered, and so is a panoramic sunroof.

In addition to active rear steering, the Active Chassis Package features GM's Magnetic Ride Control suspension and 20-inch wheels.

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