What it is: The CT6 is Cadillac’s full-sized luxury sedan which replaced ther DTS earlier this decade, and the CT6 is a perfect example of Cadillac re-inventing itself into a modern car manufacturer to compete with the likes of Audi or BMW. While there are hints of previous generations of Cadillac vehicles in the design, there is no mistaking the current models with their aggressive headlights and significantly more modern interiors.
My test model was the top-of-the-line Platinum AWD trim which starts at an eye-watering $87,790. The options and upgrades are “War and Peace” long and much too numerous for me to fully chronicle here, so I’ll touch on some of the highlights. The base CT6 model, the luxury trim, starts at a much more reasonable $51,490, so there are plenty of CT6s on the spectrum of what you are looking for.
First, it’s important to talk about the engine. Gone are the days of the rather bland Northstar V8. In its place is a 3.0-liter, twin turbocharged V6 that produces 404 horsepower. (A late addition for the 2019 year will be the CT6 V model that will be powered by a twin turbocharged V8 producing 550 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque). Cadillac is not messing around and wants to deliver on a premium driving experience. During my testing, I really enjoyed the way that the CT6 delivered power so linearly. Turbocharged engines deliver more torque at lower RPMs and sometimes it can hit you abruptly, but Cadillac did a great job not overwhelming you. Overall, the driving experience is quite excellent and is a great balance between a comfortable car and one that is fun to drive.
So let’s get back to the nearly $40,000 in upgrades my Platinum tester was equipped with. The twin turbo V6 is included in that (over a naturally aspirated V6 or a 2.0-liter turbo engine), a head-up display, panoramic sunroof, automatic braking, rear-wheel steering, magnetically adjustable suspension, 19-inch wheels, night vision, hands-free opening trunk, automatic high beams, quad-zone climate control, 12-inch LCD driver information center, 20-way power front seats, and so many other things.
There are two big features I should touch on in more detail. The first is Cadillac’s Super Cruise. Super Cruise is their hands-free cruise-control system which uses a system of sensors, cameras and pre-mapped roads to allow you to still pay attention while driving, but the car will drive itself. In our area, it’s most every bit of highway. There are a few pieces, like Beltway 8 from JFK to the Hardy Toll Road that aren’t mapped, but 59 from Splendora all of the way to Rosenberg is mapped. You can view the map on GM’s website, but as I mentioned, it’s basically all of every major highway. So how does it work? It works pretty well! They have a small camera inside of the car that monitors where you are looking, so you can’t read a book or crawl into the back seat, but 95% of the time it’s happy to do the steering for you. It’s certainly a stress reliever for commuters. Super Cruise does require a specific OnStar subscription, but it is included for three years. Furthering that subscription looks to cost $60/month, but no one is on a paid plan yet as the tech is new, so that may change.
The other big feature is the car’s stereo. Not the infotainment system, which I don’t particularly like, but my test model was equipped with the 34-speaker Bose sound system. Thirty. Four. The clarity is incredible and it was a joy to listen to music in the car. It’s designed to give a large sound stage and the effect mostly sounded excellent. Cadillac uses a series of four separate amplifiers and while it gets as loud as you would ever need it to be, it is all about the clarity and the staging.
MPG: 18 city/21 combined/26 highway
Price: $87,990 as-tested.
Upsides: Likely the best American car currently for sale.
Downsides: Eye-watering price.
Wrap-up: I always try to balance the price versus performance versus luxury of a car to form an opinion, and I was pleasantly surprised at what Cadillac has done with the CT6. I appreciate Cadillac giving consumers the choice to buy a car closer to the Cadillac they’ve known in the past, or they can splash the cash and get cutting-edge luxury and technology. Let’s be honest, someone that needs hearing aids might not fully appreciate the nuance of a 34-speaker stereo system. Cadillac will also sell you a sport trim that includes the 404 horsepower twin turbo engine, but it starts at a much more palatable $67,590 and you can even add Super Cruise, but for $6,000 more. I like where Cadillac is going, and they should be applauded for transforming themselves and their cars for the next generation.