Cadillac CT6: The true American rival to German luxury sedans

During its release in 2015, the CT6 managed to get most car reviewers and buyers to scratch their heads for a little while as they couldn’t figure out what segment of cars to put it in and what to compare it against. Now we can almost call it a “flagship luxury sedan” that goes head to head with the likes of the Merc E-Class, Lexus GS and the Beemer 5 series but it still can’t pick a fight with cars like the S-Class or 7 series.

That’s okay because, in the ring with its aforementioned rivals, the CT6 shows promising performance to impress the average buyer of this segment. So let’s see exactly why it has become a success in a competitive environment like this in such a short amount of time. 2018 Cadillac CT6 is one of the best luxury sedans available at this msrp ($55,090)

Driving and Performance:

Although the CT6 represents the new age of Cadillac right from its revised nomenclature to the amount of tech loaded up into the car, it becomes a sort of “back to roots” model for the brand as it is their first rear-wheel drive full-size sedan since the Fleetwood that was discontinued in 1996. This new powertrain provides power and torque to the rear wheels with the help of three engine choices; a turbo 2.0-liter four-banger, a naturally aspirated 3.0-liter V6 and a twin-turbocharged version of the latter.

Almost immediately, the four-cylinder unit sounds a little misplaced in a car like this, doesn’t it? You’re not wrong as the motor feels a bit underpowered and not refined enough for a car of its stature despite having a decent 265 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.

To be frank, we advise you to avoid this motor in favor of the V6 siblings that put up more oomph on the table for your money. The stock V6 makes an appropriate 335 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque while its force-fed cousin pumps out a very satisfying 404 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque.

All units of the car use 8-speed Hydra-Matic transmissions named 8L45 and 8L90 out of which the latter is notorious for persistent mechanical issues which GM aims to avoid by introducing a new 10-speed transmission unit in the near future. In addition to the RWD system, there is also an AWD system available on this Caddy. So as long as you avoid the 4 banger and 8L90 transmission, life shouldn’t be too hard on the performance side of things for the CT6.

Interior:

As we have come to expect from Cadillacs of this decade, the CT6 has a well-appointed interior that feels close in both form and function to its European rivals. Though the color combinations offered for the cabin are less in number, they complement the upmarket nature and opulence of the car.

Obviously, the interior is covered in acres of flawless leather which is an absolute delight to run your fingers over while the wood trim is of superior quality to that of its predecessors. Though quality is never an afterthought in Cadillacs these days, the center consoles of some of their cars like the CTS or Escalade felt big and clanky while the CT6 completely avoids this problem as it was has a very sleek and elegant design much like current generation Audis if not better.

Another feature that shows just how much Cadillac has grown in the past few years is their trademark Cue Infotainment system which handles the car’s audio/visual functions seamlessly with satisfactory responsiveness.

The user interface with this infotainment system is handled by a 10.2-inch touch screen that has exceptional visual quality but in terms of placement, feels further away from the driver than most other cars so shorter drivers may find it difficult to use this system efficiently. The good thing is that Cadillac had already thought of an answer to this problem by installing a touchpad to control the screen that also recognizes handwritten gestures.

Other features on the interior include 360-degree parking cameras, a digital rear-view mirror, digital driver’s display, power reclining seats (optional in the Platinum trim), massaging seats (optional), Bluetooth, Apple Carplay, satellite navigation, rear infotainment screens (optional) and rear seat-mounted USB ports. On the whole, it is safe to say that the CT6 has a brilliant interior that is as well-equipped as the rest of the car.

Exterior:

There are cars in this segment that have polarising looks which may not appeal to everyone like the Lexus GS or the new 5 series but the CT6 is definitely not one of those cars. The design is almost synonymous with class with its long, charming front end and the large C-pillar portion that gives rise to a classic Cadillac boot with thin, boomerang-like taillights.

The design does play tricks on the eyes as it has a way of making itself look larger than it actually is which is important in a car like this as looking good is more important than looking where you’re going in most luxury car segments.

The front end has headlights with a large polygonal design as well as LED strips to take care of the turn signals that match the taillights. On the design front, the CT6 feels more top notch than the CTS range of cars and it definitely feels like more effort has been put into the exterior from the design team at GM. We should also mention that a facelifted CT6 is well on its way in just a few months and it looks even more stunning than the outgoing car so it wouldn’t hurt to wait for a while to get the new one.

Safety:

The safety department has become a sort of battleground for luxury car manufacturers to show off their new toys and tech so how can Cadillac not be a part of this game with the CT6? It all starts off with the number and type of airbags available on the car which are as useful as they are weird. There is a new overhead airbag which we are assuming will keep the passengers safe in case of a rollover. Knee airbags are also available on CT6 along with side and front impact airbags that come as standard.

Automatic seatbelt pretensioners are a smart addition to this list and there is also an anti-theft system which disables the ignition system in case the original manufacturer key is not used. And the list of safety features never ends with the most important ones being pedestrian braking, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward automatic braking and even side blind zone alert. All these features are packaged together with a bow on top as the ‘Driver Assistance Package’.

Verdict:

The ultimate testament of this car’s brilliance doesn’t simply come from its sales but instead, it comes from the fact that people actually prefer a new age caddy over a brand new Lexus or BMW despite being priced at the same amount. The public’s confidence in the brand has grown exponentially and for good reason as well since there is not one car on Caddy’s current lineup that anybody can point out to be extremely terrible unlike those from the early 2000s.

When it comes to the car, there are only two problems you might come across, both of which are avoidable; the unrefined four-cylinder motor and the 8L90 transmission. A first glance at the pricing might make the CT6 seem atrocious but since the top of the line ‘Platinum’ trim doesn’t have features very different to that of the ‘Premium luxury’ trim (at around $68,000), you could get a decently specced car that will suit almost all your necessities and luxuries without going over $80k.

In conclusion, the CT6 is a car that stands out in the mid-size luxury sedan segment with the swagger and tech of a full-size behemoth at a much lesser price so why wouldn’t you buy one?

Peter