Cadillac is climbing to a higher level with the world premiere of the 2016 CT6, a large premium sedan meant to compete against the big boys of the luxury segment — the Audi A7, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
It falls among the cars in the group — slightly larger than the A7, 7 Series short wheelbase models and Maserati Quattroporte, and just short of the BMW 7 Li versions and Mercedes-Benz S models.
It therefore plants Cadillac smack in the middle of the luxury prestige segment, hoping it hits the mark with integration of new technologies and dynamic performance.
“Luxury brands are built from the top down,” said Cadillac Chief Marketing Officer Uwe Ellinghaus at the car’s unveiling prior to the 2015 New York International Auto Show. “Adding a dynamic, top-of-the-range car is central to Cadillac’s elevation and global growth.”
The CT6 is also one of the eight new vehicles Cadillac wants to unveil by 2020, and the car that will take the Cadillac large sedan global.
“The CT6 is nothing less than an entirely new approach to premium luxury – and an approach only Cadillac can offer,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Cadillac. “It is a bold endeavor with unmatched dynamism that reignites a passion for driving in large luxury vehicles. In short, it is prestige luxury reimagined.”
The new aluminum intensive Omega architecture uses 11 different materials to achieve new levels of strength, sound insulation, performance and efficiency, and makes the CT6 one of the world’s lightest and most agile full-size luxury performance sedans. As presented, it is roughly the same weight of the CTS, which competes against the likes of the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class and outdoes all of them in terms of weight.
Power comes from a choice of three engines, most intriguing of which is a new 3.0-litre twin turbo V6 that puts out an estimated 400 hp and 400 lb.ft. of torque and features cylinder deactivation to improve economy. A 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder and regularly aspirated 3.6 V6 are also available.
A plug-in hybrid is also reportedly in the works, with more details of that expected at the Shanghai auto show.
An eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels (which can also be steered), with an all-wheel drive system also available. The usual suite of traction aids is on board, including a driver selectable feature that prevents creep when the brake pedal is continuously depressed (especially handy in stop-and-go traffic to reduce fatigue and on steep grades for safe launches).
Ride and handling is controlled by a front MacPherson strut, rear multi-link suspension set-up that features Magnetic Ride control to better read and respond to road surfaces and handling requirements.
The Cadillac CUE system makes it handy to control infotainment systems through one handy touchscreen, which also serves as the display for the camera monitoring system that now includes 360 degree view with a record feature that monitors the car when the security system is activated.
The CUE system now recognizes handwriting to make address searching easier and quicker. Other systems were also enhanced, with the parking assist system now including automatic braking and the night vision system better able to indentify objects through heat sensing.
For comfort, a new Articulating Rear Seat offers heating and cooling features, lumbar adjustment, cushion tilt, massage, an armrest with media ports and 83 mm (about 3.3 inches). A rear seat infotainment system uses 10-inch screens integrated into the front seatbacks.
Other noteworthy features include a 34-speaker Bose Panaray audio system and hands-free power trunk lid operation
“This is a car designed for passionate drivers,” said Andrew Smith, executive director, Cadillac Global Design. “CT6 is low, wide and sleek, which is just what you’d expect in a lightweight performance sedan. There is a great dash-to-axle proportion that reinforces the dynamics of the rear-wheel-drive architecture.”
Production begins at the end of 2015 at GM’s Detroit Hamtramck plant, with the car destined for European, Korean, Japanese and Middle East markets, in addition to North America.