2018 Cadillac CT6
The 2018 Cadillac CT6 offers a new option called SuperCruise that allows hands-free driving with the adaptive cruise control. Other, more minor, changes for the 2018 CT6 include new colors and improvements to the Park Assist feature.
With sleek looks and graceful handling, the CT6 was an all-new product for 2016, a luxury flagship sedan that aspired to challenge the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Audi A8.
For 2017, the Plug-In hybrid model joined the lineup, primarily for California.
An American V6 propels the CT6 as quickly as the German V8s power the heavy German cars, a benefit of the lighter weight of the CT6. That American V6 is also fuel-efficient and silky smooth. For spirited driving, the CT6 is available as a 400-horsepower four-wheel-drive Cadillac.
Three engines are available in addition to a plug-in hybrid. All use direct injection and are mated to an excellent 8-speed automatic transmission.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder comes standard making 265 horsepower and comes with rear-wheel drive. (All-wheel drive is not available with the four-cylinder.)
A 3.6-liter V6 makes 335 hp, while a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 delivers 404 hp. Both V6s come with all-wheel drive (rear-wheel drive is not available with the V6s).
The 2018 Cadillac CT6 ($54,095) comes standard with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and rear-wheel drive. Standard equipment includes rearview camera, while available safety features include forward-collision warnings with automatic braking, blind-spot monitors, and surround-view cameras. (All prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge, taxes, cash allowances or discounts.)
Optional is the 3.6-liter V6 with all-wheel drive ($55,090) or the 3.0-liter Twin Turbo engine and all-wheel drive. The CT6 Plug-In ($76,090) features an 18.4-kWh Lithium-ion propulsion battery paired with a 2.0-liter turbo direct injection engine.
Luxury, Premium, and Platinum trim levels are available. Options include massaging rear seats and 34-speaker sound systems.
The lovely CT6 has sharp sheetmetal creases, LED blade lenses, and other similar styling details. But because the CT6 is bigger, it stands out as the flagship, with a classic long Cadillac hood and trunk.
The CT6 boasts the finest cabin Cadillac has ever made, as it should, being the most modern flagship. The interior is rife with high-quality materials that fit as well as anything we’ve ever seen from Cadillac. Its design is spare and pure, an exciting direction for Cadillac. Yet it’s short on warmth.
It lacks the evocative flourishes of its German competition. It can’t compete with the Mercedes S-Class with its gorgeous arcs of chrome and glowing LED rainbows, or the fantastic sandwiched wood-and-metal trim in the Audi A8.
The driver’s seat is very firm and flat. We think it needs either more bolstering or softer cushions as well as a wider range of adjustment. There’s a large center console under an armrest. The CUE infotainment system is standard, appearing on a 10.2-inch hi-resolution screen. The pioneering rear camera mirror takes some getting used to.
The CT6 has exceptional room, especially rear legroom, although the center rear passenger will be perched high and uncomfortable on the transmission tunnel, while the tall passengers on either side of him or her will be fine. An optional Rear Seat Package massages and reclines the seats, and shows entertainment on the 10-inch screens, in your 400-horsepower four-wheel-drive Cadillac.
The rear seats don’t fold flat, while the rear seatbelt receivers are too deep in the seats, and hard to find especially when the armrest is down. There’s a trap door over the armrest to the trunk, to carry long thin things. The trunk holds a big 15.3 cubic feet.
It’s quiet inside because the engine has a steel block, says Cadillac. A steel block is quieter than aluminum. That means less interior sound-deadening material is needed. That material weighs more than the difference between a steel block and an aluminum block. That’s the efficient engineering. There appears to be some racing heritage in here. It’s an area where Cadillac has been extremely successful for more than a decade.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged model, 428 pounds lighter than the V6 models, is agile and light on its feet, and taut. In fact sometimes it’s too taut; if you want your CT6 to feel like a sport sedan, the four-cylinder is the way to go. But if you want more than that, the CT6 has nothing for the Mercedes AMG or BMW M models.
The turbocharged four-cylinder can hit sixty miles per hour from a standing start in 6.1 seconds, while the V6 can do it in 5.3 seconds. Power from the V6 is strong and smooth, equal to a V8.
The aluminum-and-steel chassis is rigid, and the electric steering is direct, with a pleasant heft and zesty response. But because the CT6 is long and wide, there’s too much car to feel truly sporty; the V6 with its heavier nose tends to understeer when pushed.
There’s an Active Chassis Package including magnetic dampers with a firm grip on body motion, and rear-steer system to help the car turn in better. The rear wheels turn in the opposite direction, up to 3.5 degrees, helping the car rotate in low-speed turns, and providing stability in quick high-speed maneuvers.
However the magnetic dampers don’t offer as much range as the suspensions do on the S-Class and A8. The CT6 rides firm all the time, no matter which mode it’s in, from Tour to Sport. The Mercedes and Audi know when to soften up.
Of course, the Mercedes is about 1000 pounds heavier than the CT6 with the 2.0 engine. The heaviest CT6, the twin-turbo V6 with all-wheel drive, that 400 horsepower four-wheel-drive model, is still 225 pounds lighter than a BMW 7.
The Cadillac CT6 is a worthy flagship. It’s sleek, light, and handles well. It’s big and roomy, quiet and luxurious, and fast enough for its purpose at three levels. The 8-speed automatic is sharp, and the three engines meet different desires. Overall we like the silky non-turbo V6 the most; but it’s hard to deny that honkin’ twin-turbo 404-horsepower baby.
Sam Moses filed this report, with driving impressions by The Car Connection.