Archive | February, 2016

2017 Cadillac CT6

1 Feb


Remember when the word Cadillac was synonymous with best of? The Cadillac of lawn mowers? Toasters? When Cadillac was the aspirational automotive brand? When a showing up in a Caddy inspired envy, and told the world you’d really made it?

Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen wants his company to return to those thrilling days of yesteryear, and every new vehicle that emerges on his watch is aimed to that objective.

The CT6 sedan is the latest. Some impressions follow.

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Eyes Only: Cadillac has developed and evolved its bold Art and Science design language since 1999, when the Evoq concept car made its debut. The CT6, is its latest interpretation. It’s not quite as edgy as some of its predecessors, but it’s unmistakably Cadillac with those cascading LED running lights adorning the front fenders and that big egg crate grille. The wide track suggests that this is a car that means business, the wheels fill the wheel wells, giving the car a hunkered-down look, and the whole package looks tightly wrapped. But the most compelling element of this big sedan, at least to me, is its proportions. The long hood suggests power, and the short front overhang—not much Cadillac extending beyond the front axle—conveys a sense of athleticism. BMW has made a religion out of this design approach, particularly with its 3-series cars, and it works well here. I see the CT6 as a valet front-row car, no matter where you go.

The Inside Job: A few of my colleagues think the inner CT6 isn’t quite as luxurious as it should be to compete in this high end sedan game. I disagree. The materials are posh, the décor is subdued, the instruments are exemplary in terms of legibility, the central touch screen is big (10.2 inches), and Cadillac has made its CUE telematic control system a little more user-friendly. The CT6 isn’t a long-wheelbase 7-series BMW, but there’s plenty of room in the back seat. The rear seatbacks recline, the cushions adjust fore and aft, and there’s a massage function. There’s a camera integrated into the inside rear view mirror that enhances vision, and there’s a triggered video function that can record up to 32 hours of driving. Probably pretty boring video, but still. And of course there’s that celestial Panaray audio system. What’s not to like? Okay, the little touch pad control in the center, just ahead of the armrest, isn’t very useful—gotta be careful dangling your fingers—especially with the onset of gesture controls. And the bucket seats could deliver a little more lateral support when the g-loads start coming at odd angles. Still, this is an interior that’s both posh and functional. Looks like luxury to me. Maybe I need to drive more Bentleys.

Money Talks: That’s not exactly news. But what does money say? It’s not always the same thing. Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen says you can’t discount your way to a prestige image, and the division’s vehicles sport window stickers with bottom lines similar to those of their opposite numbers from other shops. The strategy is that this will be a tough discipline for awhile, but the excellence of the cars will keep winning hearts and minds, lease car residuals will close the gap, and Cadillac will regain its place in the sun. However, the CT6 hedges that bet a little bit. Size-wise it slots between the mid-size and full-size entries from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes, so it’s perceived as a competitor for the Audi A8, BMW 7-series, and Mercedes S-Class. As such, it enjoys an enviable price position, ranging from $54,490 to $88,460 all-in, across four trim levels. The rival Germans start at a little over $82,000, and two of them range well over $100,000. It’s hard to apply the word bargain in this sector of the market, but this new Caddy’s got a case.

Zero to Whatever: Okay, this biggest of current Caddy sedans is not a rocket. But it’s no somnambulist, either, particularly with its new 404-horsepower twin-turbo V6 providing propulsion. That’s the boss engine in a three-engine lineup, which starts with a 265-hp 2.0-liter turbo four. There’s a 335-hp 3.6-liter V6 in the middle. The four-cylinder is rear-drive only, while the two V6s are all-wheel drive. All three engines send power to the drive wheels via a whipped-cream-smooth eight-speed automatic transmission. This is an all-new chassis, very solid structure, the fundamental prerequisite for all dynamics. The design team has done a great job of paring weight from the structure—lots of aluminum—and with Cadillac’s brilliant magnetic ride control, plus a new rear steering feature, this big sedan can dance with the best. The steering is very precise, ride quality is refined Euro firm, and it’s quiet at any speed on any surface, the better to hear the orchestral soaring of the Bose Panaray audio system—34 speakers, sound that’s visceral as well as audible: $3700. If you’re an audiophile, you gotta have it. Anyway, if none of these engines deliver enough punch for you—the twin turbo will deliver 0-to-60 in about 5 seconds—a 4.2-liter turbo V8 is expected, probably in the vicinity of 500 hp. A plug-in hybrid is in the works as well.

Space does not permit me to do lengthy reports here. For more detailed reviews check and/or

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