There’s lots of competition in this class and not just from Europe and Japan anymore with some serious South Korean entries as well, Hyundai included with its spin off Genesis division and the Genesis G90. Cadillac has been doing this for awhile though as you know and the CT6 seems to be a little bit of everything, invoking sportiness and elegance.
Two items had me the moment I plunked down into the leather driver’s seat. The console shifter looks like it comes straight from a Cirrus SR22 private jet. It’s just the coolest shifter I’ve laid a hand on. Just below to the right was something else I couldn’t keep my finger off. The Cadillac CUE Touchpad. Variations of this are becoming common now in other luxury brands like Lexus, Audi and BMW but I love the responsiveness with this particular track pad or character recognition surface. It’s ergonomic and intuitive allowing you to navigate the beautiful CUE interface. With one finger you can move the cursor around to whatever function you want to go to, be it audio, climate, navigation or anything else. Various movements with two fingers allow you to swipe pages or zoom in and out on maps. It’s perfectly placed so you can comfortably keep your arm on the armrest and manipulate the track pad without having to reach out for any buttons. It adds to the relaxation factor to this car so you’re less likely to use another finger for other drivers.
There’s lots of curb appeal to the CT6. Like previous generations of the CTS, this new flagship first introduced for 2016 has a bold front end but the statement seems to change as you look at the cars profile where it looks more elegant than muscular. It really is a beautiful car. The front end framed with beautiful vertical LED lighting is both elegant and striking but as I was doing the walk around photo shoot for the CT6 I came across my biggest disappointment. The rear end seems dull and dated. I swear I had seen it before on a Caddy from perhaps ten years ago. In terms of size, the roomy CT6 is somewhat unique. For a flagship Cadillac the designers have gone for a shorter than usual wheelbase (122.4 in.) in a much lighter car. It tops the scales 3,657 pounds which is about the same as the smaller CTS. This would explain in part its agility and surprisingly good acceleration.
Fast and Curious
The CT6 certainly feels more like a driving luxury vehicle than the recently reviewed Lincoln Continental which has more focus on comfort. The base engine is a 2.0 litre turbo but my Luxury AWD test vehicle came with the optional 3.0 litre twin turbo that delivers 404 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque coupled to an 8 speed automatic transmission. I wondered how much performance I would feel buckled into this version. Yup, it’s fast. 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in just over the time it takes you to read this sentence. It also sounds great when pushed but cylinder deactivation will switch the V6 to a 4 cylinder when driving in a more civilized manner.
The 8 speed transmission mated to this all wheel drive V6 works well enough but perhaps not the smoothest accelerating through lower gears. This was also evident in a recent drive in its SUV counterpart, the Cadillac XT5. The V6 will deactivate two cylinders as well when you’re driving efficiently. That’s a first for a turbo plant. The electronic steering is so responsive you forget you have electronic steering. The handling is surprisingly good with little of the under steer that can be present with a chassis of this size at higher speeds. My tester did have the optional Active Chassis package (3895.00) which controls body roll and turns the rear wheels slightly in the opposite direction of the front wheels to improve turning radius. This helps with parking this car too. At higher speeds the wheels front and rear turn the same way for stability. Magnetic Ride Control also independently monitors and adjusts each wheel every millisecond for added control. There are two driving modes. In Touring mode the all wheel drive is set to a 40/60 front to rear ratio and in Sport 80% power goes to the rear. The aforementioned package also gives you 20 inch Ultra Bright Machined wheels.
I’ve always been partial to Cadillac interiors and the CT6 did not disappoint. The high quality leather is complimented by beautiful wood and chrome finishes. There is ample legroom ad height even with the lower stance of this car. There are a number of seat controls to snugly fit you into the cockpit and keep your passengers comfy.
Another impressive piece of tech is the available rear camera mirror with streaming video. (See photo gallery). This is a ground breaking feature that we’ll see adopted on a wide scale in the future or variations of. GM has several patents out on this. It is a regular mirror that you can flip to a video monitor with a switch that streams HD video and turns your mirror into a monitor. It enhances your field of view by 300 per cent. This is part of the Enhanced Vision and Comfort Package. ($2515.00) This is one options group that is well worth it. It includes the power sunroof, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats. The Cadillac CUE infotainment system isn’t perfect but I consider it one of the best out here. One reason is its touch screen which is extremely vivid and rich looking. As for functionality some of the often used controls are not conducive to touch screens with sliders and you’ll find yourself reaching for the steering wheel buttons instead. The touch volume slider just doesn’t respond well enough when you’re in a hurry. There are physical buttons for the climate controls and heated seats, thank goodness, unlike the incredibly awkward Jaguar/Land Rover system that will have you in stage 1 road rage just trying to get your bum warm. The on screen layout is nicely organized, particularly the radio and satellite presets.
That takes us to the sound system. My test unit had a new offering called the Bose Panaray sound system. This is an incredibly pricey option! ($4,265.00) Panaray uses four amplifiers to drive 34 speakers positioned in 19 locations throughout the car including a very cool pop up array on the dash. (See photo gallery) It’s all controlled by the CUE infotainment interface and sounds incredible. Is it worth it? Nope. The standard is a 10 speaker Bose system that sounds great. I would listen to great and keep the 4 thousand plus dollars. There just isn’t THAT much of a difference.
No shortage of airbags here side, rear and front including front knee. There is a lot of on board safety tech as well Collision alerts, blind spot monitoring, and pedestrian collision system that detects pedestrians and stops the vehicle. Beyond that there is a VERY COOL but VERY expensive (almost 6000.00 Cdn) Enhanced Night Vision package that uses thermal imaging to show you people and animals in the dark.
There are also not so new features like adaptive cruise control and lane change alert and lane keep assist to keep your wheels pointed to where they should be. I am disappointed that a heads up display is not standard or included in one of these packages.
GM has sized this platform to offer three different power trains and I was pleasantly surprised how efficient my 3.0L twin turbo was. The combined city/highway rating is 11.2 and on one highway trip I was actually averaging 8.1 litres per 100 kilometers. I wouldn’t ’expect that all the time but the CT6 strikes a nice balance between large sedan performance and luxury. The pricing may hurt this car. For example it comes in over $10,000.00 more than that recently tested Lincoln Continental but the cost of some of those tech packages can really throw the sticker price out of whack. Still, with the craftsmanship and beautiful interior and high tech in this vehicle it absolutely holds up against its competition from BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Jaguar.
2017 Cadillac CT6 3.0l Twin-Turbo Luxury AWD
8 Speed Automatic Transmissions
As tested $87,115.00
Mileage 13.0 L/100 km city and 9.1L/100 km hwy and 11.2 L/100 km combined