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2016 Cadillac CT6 the Brand’s Most Important Model In a Decade


GM’s Cadillac luxury brand has pulled a complete transformation since the early 2000s, when the refreshing new CTS midsize luxury sedan debuted a modern “Art and Science” design language as well as rear-wheel drive,a more-refined interior and thrilling performance.

In the years since, several new Cadillac models including the more-compact ATS sport sedan and second-generation CTS have grown more reliable and even sportier, but the once-infallible carmaker who ruled the American luxury market for decades has failed to produce a true flagship.

The current range-topping XTS offers a nice interior and a smooth ride but has failed to catch on with buyers who find it too coarse and too small to make a true competitor top-line models from the Germans. Meanwhile, the big and flashy Escalade continues to fly off of dealer lots as quickly as it arrives, signaling that Cadillac shoppers are willing to buy at a higher price point for a vehicle that is up to their expectations.

All-New Platform For Improved Handling, Ride Quality

The all-new CT6 is just the large, ultra-luxurious and distinctly American car that Cadillac needs right now, and it could not come a moment too soon. Making a surprise debut during the 2015 Super Bowl under the tagline “Only Those Who Dare,” the new model should appeal to Cadillac’s more-traditional buyer, or one who cares much more about luxurious accommodations and effortless performance than 0-60 or track times.

Riding on Cadillac’s all-new Omega II platform that will soon underpin other General Motors full-size rear-wheel-drive cars, the CT6 features a strong, aluminum-intensive unibody structure for light weight and dynamic handling. GM’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension tech, which reads the road ahead many times each second and adapts the car’s suspension response accordingly, will surely make an appearance here to create a cloudlike ride without making sacrifices in handling. Getting comfort right will be key to reaching the CT6’s target buyer: someone slightly older who appreciates stately Cadillac models of old that are comfortable cruisers on the boulevard.

Two New V-6 Engines For Strong Performance

The CT6 debuts a pair of powerful new V-6 engines, both of which come first to the Cadillac brand but may make the jump to other GM products. Each engine features advanced technology for a high output relative to its displacement, and Cadillac promises the best fuel efficiency in the full-size luxury class.

Entry-level models will see power from a naturally aspirated direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6 making 335 horsepower and 284 lb-ft. of torque. While this engine is related to previous GM engines with the same displacement, it has been revamped in its top end and refined to produce more power while also seeing a fuel efficiency gain of 9 percent. It also features the highest SAE-certified power output of all naturally aspirated V-6 engines on the market, Cadillac says.

Those who crave a little bit more in the way of performance can step up to the clean-sheet new twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6. Featuring stop-start and cylinder deactivation technology for improved efficiency, this motor makes no shortage of power. With 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft. of torque, it boasts a higher horsepower-per-liter output than all V-6 engines currently available, turbocharged or otherwise. Thanks to its cylinder deactivation tech, it can also run as a V-4 engine when full thrust is not necessary, which Cadillac says will help the CT6 achieve stellar efficiency, especially when compared with V-8 models from competitors featuring a similar power output.

Both engines come mated to an 8-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission with manual shift technology and rear-wheel drive, while AWD should be available as an option. An inevitable CT6-V ultra-high-performance model should follow a year or two down the line, rumored to feature the supercharged smallblock V-8 now seeing duty in the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 with upwards of 650 horsepower.

World-Class Exterior Styling Interior, Even For Cadillac

With the all-new CT6 set to debut at the 2015 New York International Auto Show, Cadillac has already taken the wraps off this exciting new model’s design. While showing a clear lineage with the brand’s other current models, the CT6 is softer on the eyes, featuring less in the way of the sharp creases and angles that have become the more-compact CTS and ATS’s trademark features. The new large sedan’s sheer length and presence call to mind classic Cadillac models such as the STS and Eldorado. Indeed, this will be the “Cadillac of Cadillacs” and the true flagship buyers have been clamoring for. That is, at least, until an even larger sedan model debuts in a few years with its sights set on Bentley and Aston Martin.

Cadillac has graced the car’s elegant interior with just as much thought. Eschewing the ATS’s sharply angled dashboard that some have been less than enthusiastic about, the CT6 features real wood trim in one of several veneers and sumptuous leather in a variety of hides and colors. Expect bespoke customization options for everything from the car’s trim color schemes to an available long-wheelbase model with two executive class rear seats that should debut after launch time. At launch, standard seating for five passengers will include rear outboard seats designed to be familiar and coddling for those used to first-class airplane flights thanks to extra legroom and dedicated rear infotainment and climate system controls.

A standard wide-angle rearview camera will help in tight spaces. Expect a full complement of cutting-edge active safety and driving assistance tech including a 360-degree camera and sensor system, lane-keeping assist, smart cruise control with active follow mode, and collision avoidance braking with the ability to bring the car to a complete stop should traffic conditions suddenly change. Cadillac will surely use the new CT6 as a showpiece for GM’s most forward-thinking safety and driving assistance technology, so think features never before seen on a production car, Mercedes-Benz or otherwise.

Perhaps even more exciting, Cadillac has partnered with Bose to deliver what could be the most sophisticated and impressive premium audio system ever to be fitted to a production car. The new Bose Panaray System features no less than 34 speakers strategically place all throughout the cabin to create a true surround sound experience for both front and rear passengers. Cadillac says the new system will reproduce music and audio with more clarity and deeper bass than any sound system before it.

Pricing and Release Date

Things are shaping up nicely at Cadillac with the all-new CT6, which will be built in Detroit and is expected to hit dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2015 for the 2016 model year. As for pricing, this info has not yet been released, but around $70,000 to start would place the CT6 right in line with the BMW 7-Series, Audi A8 and Lexus LS.