THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: A full-size sedan accommodation stylishly done
- What’s Worst: Ride and handling should be a little softer in Touring mode (that’s what Sport mode is for). Self-tightening seat belts are disconcerting
- What’s Interesting: The announcement of a plug-in version for the spring of 2017
A word association game with the Cadillac name might garner a variety of responses.
Or, stretching back into the haze of time, Cadillac mystique might bring to mind the sexy Dagmar bumpers, rocket-styled tailfins and the long, low luxury land yachts of yore.
In fact, that’s still probably the predominant image, which makes it all the more surprising to realize that Cadillac hasn’t had a flagship full-size rear-wheel drive sedan in the lineup since they dropped the Fleetwood back in 1996.
Well, they’ve got one now.
Tested here, the 2017 Cadillac CT6 builds on GM’s latest Omega platform, utilizing an aluminum-intensive chassis incorporating lightweight rigidity, harnessing three powertrain choices and blending sport performance, handling and ride smoothness through the latest dynamic handling technologies.
The CT6 has enough style and swagger to be aimed squarely as an import interceptor, with BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz brands in the crosshairs, those brands named often in Cadillac’s own bumpf as benchmarks for comparison.
With its emphasis on lightweight handling, the CT6 shares similar dimensions with the BMW 7 Series but it carries less mass than even the smaller BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 or Mercedes E Class.
The body styling is definitively North American, boasting bold lines, long, low proportions, crisp edges and strong vertical Cadillac cues, along with features like the Indirect Fire light-emitting diode front lighting assemblies that, although different from anything seen before, couldn’t be anything but Cadillac.
The CT6 lineup ranges from about $60K-$100K, with content stepping up through base, Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum trim levels.
A three-stage powertrain selection starts with a 265 hp 2.0-litre direct injection DOHC turbo, followed by a 335 hp 3.6-litre direct injection DOHC V6 and topped off with a new 404 hp 3.0-litre direct injection DOHC twin-turbo V6.
All three engines are mated to paddle-shiftable eight-speed automatic transmissions putting power to the road through either rear-wheel-drive (with the four-cylinder engine) or all-wheel-drive (with six cylinder engines).
Our 3.0L Twin Turbo Luxury AWD tester ranks in the upper echelon of the lineup, outfitted only in Luxury trim perhaps, but powered by the ultimate engine option – the 404 hp 3.0-litre direct-injected DOHC twin-turbo V6 with VVT.
Cadillac engineers are preening a little over this sophisticated mill, notable not only for its power density but also for the first application of cylinder deactivation in a turbocharged V6 engine.
When you are cruising under a light load, you will note a gauge indicator switching from V6 mode to V4. Combine that with the auto stop/start system and you get a fairly respectable 13.1/9.1L/100km (city/hwy) fuel economy rating.
Also Read: Cadillac CT6 plug-in boasts 400+ mile range
My real world results averaged out to 12.1L/100km (comb) and there is a caveat here – the twin-turbo also requires 91-octane fuel.
Entry-lux buyers might be more tempted by the more affordable 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder models, still sprightly and about 200 kgs lighter with even better fuel economy ratings based on regular gas.
But I’m guessing that shoppers in this upper price bracket won’t be scared off by the 3.0-litre twin-turbo’s fuel costs.
Goose the go-pedal and all is forgiven as the CT6 springs up to speed with a vengeance. There’s just enough sound and fury to perk your adrenaline when that power is combined with the intrinsic abilities of the CT6’s sport chassis.
Our tester builds on those abilities with an Active Chassis Pkg ($3,895) that adds GM’s Magnetic Ride Control, active rear steering and 20-inch Ultra-Bright machined aluminum wheels.
A rear view mirror that flips from a normal view to live video streaming is worth noting, even though it requires a focal shift that takes some getting used to.
A 34-speaker, BOSE Panaray sound system doesn’t take any getting used to at all.
It just makes it hard to leave the car.
And I don’t have enough space in this story to pay tribute to a roomy, classy interior and a content list that includes automatic parking assist, surround vision, wireless cellphone charging, heated seats all around and a long list of other standards and options.
Coincidentally, while I was testing the CT6, GM Canada announced next spring’s launch of a CT6 Plug-in model ($85,995), sourcing Volt tech and promising V6-like power, an approximate 50 km EV range and plug-in hybrid levels of reduced emissions and fuel economy.
This is just the beginning of a promised surge of eight new vehicles before the end of the decade but, for now, given its combination of amenities and abilities, this flagship full-size CT6 is an able contender in the premium sedan segment, and an appropriate standard bearer for the Cadillac brand.
2017 Cadillac CT6 3.0-litre Twin-Turbo Luxury AWD
BODY STYLE: Full-size prestige sedan
DRIVE METHOD: Eight-speed automatic transmission with AWD
ENGINE: 3.0-litre, direct injection DOHC VVT Twin-Turbo V6 (404 hp, 400 lb/ft)
FUEL ECONOMY: (Premium) 13/9.1L/100km (city/hwy); as tested 12.1L/100km (comb)
CARGO: 433 litres
PRICE: CT6 3.0L Twin-Turbo Luxury AWD 2017 $73,575. As tested $85,165 incl BOSE Panaray ($4,255), Active Chassis Pkg ($3,895), Enhanced Vision & Comfort Pkg ($2,515), Dark Adriatic Blue ($825). Destination ($1,950) not included