Cadillac’s current flagship

After years of leaks, spy shots, and endless rumors about its feasibility, the Cadillac CT6 has finally become a reality, in time to make its debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show. Don’t think of it as a long-awaited answer to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series though, because Cadillac wants the CT6 to battle smaller German models as well, with a larger CT8 to be positioned directly against the aforementioned trio.

Even so, the odd positioning strategy makes the CT6 similar in size to any European luxury car, as its length and wheelbase are on par with those of a BMW 7 Series short-wheelbase. On the other hand, thanks to an aluminum-intensive platform, the model weighs about as much as the smaller CTS, which is lighter than a 5 Series. Whether Cadillac’s strategy will work in the long run remains to be seen, but the CT6 seems to tick a lot of right boxes.

Update 06/14/2016: Cadillac has announced two additions to the CT6’s bevy of technology. First, new HDMI and USB ports allow rear passengers to use video streaming devices like Google Chromecast though the cars’ on-board Wi-Fi connection in combination with a paired smart phone or tablet. Second is a video recording system that operates off four exterior cameras, allowing the driver to preserve the video footage. The system can also begin recording should the vehicle’s security system becomes armed, catching criminals or hit-and-run drivers in the act.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Cadillac CT6.

  • 2016 Cadillac CT6
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    eight-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    265
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    53495
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Cadillac CT6 Wallpaper quality
- image 624547
Likely to improve interior headroom, the side is more generic-looking, especially the greenhouse.

Even though everyone was expecting the CT6 to be based on the Elmiraj Concept’s styling, GM design boss Ed Welburn made it clear that it wasn’t. Instead, the model features a more evolutionary progression of the current Art and Science design theme of the CTS and ATS sedans. While that is sort of a letdown, the CT6 is far from looking derivative. Unlike the XTS, which will be be kept alongside the CT6, the new Cadillac flagship features a much more pronounced dash-to-axle ratio and a short front overhang, which emphasize the model’s rear-wheel drive and classic luxury-car proportions.

The front end looks like it has been chiseled out of solid block, while the vertical headlights frame the distinctive engine grille in a similar way to the CTS and ATS. Likely to improve interior headroom, the side is more generic-looking, especially the greenhouse. Likewise, the rear end is typical modern Cadillac, and no extra lines disturb the otherwise clean and angular styling.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase (in / mm) 122.4 / 3106
Length (in / mm) 204 / 5184
Width (in / mm) 74 / 1879
Height (in / mm) 57.9 / 1472
Est. curb weight (lb / kg) less than 3700 / 170

Interior

2016 Cadillac CT6
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2016 Cadillac CT6
- image 624552
2016 Cadillac CT6
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The center console features a 10.2-inch capacitive touchscreen display, while a smaller one takes the classic instrument cluster's space.

This is where the CT6 differentiates itself more from the lineup, even though the dreaded CUE infotainment system makes another appearance. Cadillac boasts that the model has best-in-class interior storage, including a 2.2-liter center console storage volume, although I fail to see how important this detail is for luxury-car buyers. The center console features a 10.2-inch capacitive touchscreen display, while a smaller one takes the classic instrument cluster’s space. If you don’t want to touch the large display on the console there is also a smaller touchpad on the arm rest. Modern gizmos like a 360-degree camera view around the vehicle or a night vision system that can detect people and large animals are also present, but Cadillac takes those up a notch.

The carmaker says that the CT6 features the "industry’s first application of full-display technology," which is a fancy way of saying that the conventional interior mirror is combined with the rear camera to give an unobstructed view of the rear. The 360-degree camera system can also record front and rear views while driving, or all-round view when the car’s security system is activated. There is also a quad-zone climate control system, while the audio system is from Bose and features 34 speakers placed around the cabin.

Cadillac is also debuting two technologies new to the automotive industry. First is the ability to connect a video streaming device into the car’s rear-seat entertainment system for viewing programming from site like Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube. This is done via devices like Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and Apple TV. These devices communicate with the user’s smart phone or tablet via the CT6’s in-car Wi-Fi network, just like the user would do at home. Now rear passengers can enjoy a Netflix and chill session while on the move. How convenient.

Next is a potentially more bacon-saving technology. The CT6 will now record the video from four of its six outside cameras onto an SD card located in the trunk. Like GM’s Performance Data Recorder in the Camaro, Corvette, and V-series Cadillacs, the user can download the video onto a personal computer for safe keeping. The system can also be programmed to activate should the car’s security system become armed. Cadillac says the video feed is pulled from four cameras is recorded in a “round-robin fashion.”

For drivers who want to record video on the move, the system simultaneously records from both the front and rear cameras. Cadillac says owners could use this to record a memorable drive. We say this is a perfect built-in dash cam for evidence in a crash or just awesome video footage for YouTube. Let’s hope this sparks a growing trend among automakers.

Drivetrain

2016 Cadillac CT6
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A turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder and a 3.6-liter V-6 will be part of the engine lineup when the car goes on sale in 2016.

Unlike some German rivals, the CT6 has been launched with a "measly" V-6, but it more than makes up for it in technology and power. Its twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter, V-6 develops approximately 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, more than enough to move the sub-3,700-pound sedan in a sporty manner. There are no official words on fuel economy, but it should be pretty outstanding since the engine features cylinder deactivation technology and the car weighs so little. The V-6 is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

A turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder and a 3.6-liter V-6 will be part of the engine lineup when the car goes on sale in 2016. An intelligent all-wheel-drive system is paired with the twin-turbo V-6 as standard, and features a continuously variable clutch that delivers power to the front wheels only when needed. On top of that, the CT6 also comes with Magnetic Ride Control and – for the first time in a production Cadillac – Active Rear Steer, which should be similar to the systems used by other carmakers in the past and present.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type I-4 turbo DOHC DI V-6 DOHC DI V-6 twin-turbo DOHC DI
Displacement 2.0 liters 3.6 liters 3.0 liters
Output 265 HP 335 HP 400 HP
Torque TBA TBA TBA
Transmissions Hydra-Matic 8L45 eight-speed automatic Hydra-Matic 8L45 eight-speed automatic Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed automatic

Prices

2016 Cadillac CT6
- image 624545
Model Price
CT6 2.0L Turbo $53,495
CT6 3.6L V6 with AWD $55,495
CT6 3.0L Twin Turbo V6 with AWD $64,395

Competitors

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class High Resolution Exterior
- image 506438

Unfortunately for Cadillac, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class seems to be in another league than CT6, despite the two models sharing similar dimensions and being called "flagship sedans." First of all, the S-Class’s least-powerful engine available on the U.S. market is a twin-turbocharged, 4.7-liter, V-8 that delivers 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. So the least powerful engine in the S-Class is more powerful than the top engine in the CT6, although that may change, since Cadillac hinted that a twin-turbo V-8 is also on the way.

Also, the CT6 still has to make a name for itself, while the S-Class has a history going back to the 1950s, and most of today’s safety or comfort features debuted on the German luxury sedan. In the end, it is all a matter of choice in this segment, but the S-Class is one tough mountain to climb and not even BMW or Audi have managed to dethrone it so far. You can read our full review of the S-Class here.

Audi A8

2015 Audi A8 High Resolution Exterior
- image 523286

Just like the Cadillac CT6, the Audi A8 tries to follow a new approach compared to established models in the luxury segment. With an exterior design that could be easily switched to that of an A6, or even an A4, the biggest Audi sedan is not exactly the most distinctive-looking model in the range, but it does look like no other luxury car. Unfortunately, both the S-Class and especially the lighter CT6 may have the A8 beat in terms of dynamics, since the Audi is based on a front-wheel-drive architecture despite featuring AWD as standard (in the U.S.).

On the plus side, it looks more inconspicuous than any of its rivals, meaning that those who require a less ostentatious luxury sedan can always go for the A8. You can read our full review of the model here.

Conclusion

2016 Cadillac CT6
- image 624548

While the Cadillac CT6 doesn’t break any molds, it does bring a new take on the luxury sedan, one based on lightness and agility combined with the unmistakable Cadillac Art and Science design language. It’s not overly flamboyant, like the Cadillacs of old, but it does have presence, and the list of comfort features is long enough. I would have enjoyed more cylinders to go with that light chassis and long hood, and some design motifs of the side and rear could have a more dramatic look for this day and age, but overall I’m far from disappointed with the new CT6.

  • Leave it
    • * Looks a bit generic
    • * Not exactly ground-breaking technology
    • * It’s not a full-on rival for German luxury cars

Update History

Updated 11/02/2015: Cadillac announced that the all new 2016 CT6 will be put into production in Detroit in January, 2016 with initial shipments to dealers set to begin March. Prices will range from $53,495 for the base CT6 and will go up to $83,465 for the CT6 Platinum.

Updated 04/01/2015: The new Cadillac CT6 made its world debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show and will go into production in early 2016.

Updated 03/31/2015: The new Cadillac CT6 should be unveiled in a couple of hours at the 2015 New York Auto Show, but until then Cadillac decided to drop a new teaser image for the upcoming luxury sedan.

Updated 12/19/2014: Cadillac unveiled new high-resolution streaming video mirror technology that will be offered in the future CT6. This new feature improves field of vision by an estimated 300%, or about 4 times better than a standard rearview mirror. Details after the jump.

Updated 09/09/2014: Cadillac is preparing a competitor for the Mercedes S-Class and while we’re still waiting for an official debut, we created a rendering of what we thing the future CT6 will look like. Check it out after the jump.

Updated 09/19/2014: Cadillac officially confirmed that it will manufacture its new, top-end, high-tech car at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant starting the fourth quarter of 2015. According to the company this new sedan "uses completely new, custom-designed materials on a unique vehicle architecture." Also, the new model will make its public debut in the first half of next year.

Updated 09/24/2014: Cadillac has revealed that the new, range-topping model will be named the CT6. It will use advanced lightweight materials and new body construction to help enhance fuel economy. Also announced is Cadillac’s plan to change up its naming scheme, making all cars carry the CT prefix followed by a number that indicates its position within the range.

Rendering

2016 Cadillac CT6 Exclusive Renderings
- image 567454

As expected, our rendering borrows heavy styling cues from the Elmiraj concept and we added a super-long wheelbase, four seats, huge wheels and basically everything you can imagine in a competitor for the S-Class.

Press Release

Cadillac tonight held the world premiere of the 2016 CT6, elevating it to the top of its range and creating a new formula for the prestige sedan through the integration of new technologies developed to achieve dynamic performance, efficiency and agility previously unseen in large luxury cars.

2016 Cadillac CT6
- image 624545

CT6 marks Cadillac’s long-awaited return to the global prestige luxury segment, and is one of eight all-new vehicles the brand will launch by the end of the decade as part of its $12-billion product investment to expand and elevate.

“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.”

Cadillac CT6 takes drivers to a higher threshold of involvement, with technologies that make them more aware of their surroundings, chassis systems – including active technologies – that make the most of control in all conditions, and powertrains led by an all-new Cadillac Twin Turbo engine that rewards with stirring power on demand. Passengers are ensconced in the brand’s ultimate expression of comfort, luxury and connectivity.

The CT6 features one of the industry’s most advanced automotive body structures, an aluminum-intensive architecture that incorporates 11 different materials to achieve strength, performance and efficiency thresholds practically unmatched among the world’s elite luxury performance sedans.

It is one of the world’s lightest and most agile full-size luxury performance sedans, with dimensions and spaciousness on par with BMW’s short-wheelbase 7-Series, but the approximate weight, agility and efficiency of the smaller Cadillac CTS – which is lighter than a BMW 5-Series. The CT6 is lighter than the BMW 5-Series, 6-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

2016 Cadillac CT6
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“We reinvented the approach to structural underpinnings in the quest to develop a unique formula for the prestige luxury performance sedan,” said de Nysschen. “Melding that new approach with the dynamics conveyed in our other award-winning rear-driven sedans – including V-Series – results in something that has been lost in the segment: the exhilaration of a true driver’s car.”

Cadillac focused on three pillars that would coalesce to deliver the CT6’s dynamic experience – and do so with higher levels of presence, elegance and technological innovation to help elevate Cadillac around the world.

“Luxury brands are built from the top down,” said Cadillac Chief Marketing Officer Uwe Ellinghaus. “Adding a dynamic, top-of-the-range car is central to Cadillac’s elevation and global growth.”

Agility

All-new Omega architecture features 13 high-pressure aluminum castings in the body structure, creating a lighter, stiffer structure that also enables “bank vault” levels of quietness
All-new Cadillac 3.0L Twin Turbo engine offer an estimated 400 horsepower (298 kW) and 400 lb-ft of torque (543 Nm), making it among the most power-dense V-6 engines in the segment, at 133 horsepower (99 kW) per liter
Efficiency is enhanced with the industry’s first application of cylinder deactivation technology on a turbocharged V-6 engine, as well as an eight-speed automatic transmission
2.0L I-4 turbocharged and new 3.6L V-6 naturally aspirated engines, each with a new eight-speed automatic transmission
Active-on-demand all-wheel drive featuring a continuously variable clutch that infinitely varies power delivery to the front wheels – up to 959 lb-ft (1,300 Nm) – to make the most of handling and stability in all conditions
Advanced performance chassis system designed to deliver an engaging driving experience – with segment-best ride, handling and isolation qualities – through the use of Active Rear Steer, Magnetic Ride Control and selectable drive modes
Auto Vehicle Hold – a driver-selectable feature that prevents forward/rearward vehicle creep when the driver’s foot is off the brake. It reduces fatigue during heavy stop-and-go traffic and improves vehicle control on steep grades.

Connectivity

True 360-degree camera view around the vehicle, displayed on the Cadillac CUE screen, helps reduce blind spots around the vehicle
Industry-first surround-view video recording system that can record front and rear views while driving, and 360 degrees of recording if the vehicle’s security system is activated
Enhanced Night Vision helps identify people, large animals and more via heat signatures on a display in the driver information center
Rear Camera Mirror is the industry’s first application of full-display technology, combining camera technology with the conventional inside mirror to project an unobstructed view in the mirror
New Advanced Park Assist integrates automatic braking into automatic parking
New Pedestrian Collision Mitigation technology provides pedestrian detection indications, alerts and automatic braking to avoid collisions
Large, 10.2-inch-diagonal CUE interface screen with 1280 x 720 HD resolution and console mounted touchpad. The capacitive-touch screen reacts faster when scrolling and recognizes handwriting for address/points of interest search. The touchpad allows control of CUE features while resting an arm on the center console rather than touching the screen
Wireless phone charging and OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot.

Indulgence

2016 Cadillac CT6 Wallpaper quality
- image 624547

Bold American luxury design, distinctly Cadillac – a true rear-wheel drive car, with a dramatic dash-to-axle ratio offering classic long, low proportion and luxury presence that commands attention
Lightweight and a design that conveys it. Dynamic use of line work and sophistication and precision in surfacing – CT6 looks as light and agile as it actually is
Elevates modern craftsmanship with curated environments that are rich, expressive and spacious, combining luxurious leathers, exotic woods, and carbon fiber in unprecedented ways
Standard Indirect Fire light-emitting diode front lighting system offers state-of-the-art, more efficient illumination for a distinctive appearance that is both technical and expressive in its character and personality
Extended comfort seats offer a refined, luxurious appearance. Features include premium Opus leather, five massage programs, reclining rear seats and Cadillac’s first application of woven-in-seat heating elements
All-new Articulating Rear Seat package offers new thresholds for comfort and luxury, with approximately 3.3 inches (83 mm) of adjustable seat travel, lumbar adjustment, tilting cushions, massage feature, heating/cooling features and armrest with media controls, including HDMI and USB ports
Comprehensive rear seat infotainment system with articulating 10-inch-diagonal screens that retract into the front seatbacks, along with connectivity for brought-in devices
Quadzone climate system, which employs a secondary full-HVAC system that allows passengers to personalize temperature and airflow for each seating position, along with ionizing air purification
Cadillac-first Bose® Panaray® audio system features 34 strategically placed speakers for exceptional dynamic range and clarity, including the first automotive application of design and technology elements from Bose home entertainment and professional audio products
Concierge welcome lighting that illuminates the outside of the car as the owner approaches, based on the signal from the passive entry fob
Hands-free power deck lid operation
Generous rear-seat legroom – 40.4 inches (1027 mm) – and segment-best interior storage, including 2.2L center console storage volume.

About the architecture
The body-in-white of the 2016 Cadillac CT6 is structurally lighter and stiffer than any other dynamically similar vehicle such as the BMW 5-Series or Audi A6. That state-of-the-art architecture is the foundation for its benchmark-establishing agility and vault-like solidity and quietness.

The new architecture has a mixed-material structure with all-aluminum exterior body panels. Engineers conducted 50 million hours of computational analysis – including 200,000 structural simulations – in its development, generating 21 patents.

“Every panel of the body-in-white is optimized with innovative joining techniques,” said Travis Hester, executive chief engineer, Cadillac CT6. “It’s an uncompromising approach that provides the best balance of strength, lightness and refinement.”

Thirteen high-pressure aluminum die castings in the lower body construction reduce complexity and are significant contributors to the architecture’s low mass. The CT6 is approximately 218 pounds (99 kg) lighter than a comparable vehicle using predominantly high-strength steel.

GM’s most advanced body manufacturing methods are used to fabricate the structure, including proprietary aluminum spot welding technology that is more efficient and helps reduce weight. Laser welding, flow drill fasteners and self-piercing rivets are also employed, along with roughly 591 feet (180 meters) of advanced structural adhesives.

Chassis and suspension highlights
The CT6’s rigid, lightweight architecture is the foundation for its segment-challenging agility, enhanced by active-on-demand all-wheel drive, active rear steering and Magnetic Ride Control on the available Active Chassis System.

“To put it succinctly, every wheel drives and every wheel steers,” said Hester. “And with Magnetic Ride Control, every wheel’s dampening is adjusted by the millisecond, for responsiveness and driver control unparalleled in the segment.”

2016 Cadillac CT6
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The chassis system also balances responsiveness with segment-best isolation for exceptional refinement. In the front, the CT6 features a lightweight, aluminum-intensive high-arm multilink short-long arm front suspension. At the rear is a five-link independent suspension that uses multiple outer ball joints and cross braces for optimal handling and steering precision.

Active rear steering with the Active Chassis System contributes to greater low-speed agility and high-speed stability. In parking lots, the turning circle is only 37 feet (11.4 m), comparable with the CTS, which has a 114.6-inch wheelbase vs. the CT6’s 122.4-inch wheelbase.

Active-on-demand all-wheel drive is also part of the Active Chassis System, making the most of handling and stability in all weather conditions. Its lightweight, compact design and two-gear transfer case enable greater fuel economy than conventional fixed-torque all-wheel drive systems. All-wheel drive is standard on all CT6 six-cylinder models.

Selectable Tour, Snow/Ice and Sport modes allow the driver to tailor the CT6’s advanced chassis system for practically any weather or road condition.

Bold proportions, exquisite attention to detail
A bold proportion dominated by a long hood and sleek upper body distinguishes the CT6, evolves the brand portfolio and reinforces the agility enabled by the lightweight architecture.

“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.”

The “face” of Cadillac evolves with the CT6 through new executions of the grille and signature lighting elements. The vertical light signature, for example, features new LED light blades that frame the front of the vehicle, with forward illumination from technologically advanced Indirect Fire LED headlamps.

Proportion, craftsmanship and technology also define the CT6’s cabin. Cadillac designers aimed to deliver a bold, elegant and spacious interior. That elegance is expressed in curated environments and in surface sculpture featuring authentic materials, exquisite details and elevated executions of the brand’s signature cut-and-sew interiors. The CT6 uses state-of-the-art technology to reward its occupants with high levels of comfort, connectivity and safety.

“Never before has such craftsmanship and technology been so seamlessly interwoven,” said Smith. “The CT6 represents our next step in the continuing evolution of the Cadillac brand portfolio.”

Production and manufacturing
Production of the 2016 Cadillac CT6 begins at the end of 2015 for the North American market at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, which underwent a $384-million investment in tooling and other upgrades to support the manufacture of the CT6 and two other products. Chinese-market models will be assembled at an all-new facility in China starting in early 2016.

2016 Cadillac CT6
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The CT6 also will be offered in Europe, Korea, Japan, Israel and the Middle East. Production for those markets begins at Detroit-Hamtramck in early 2016.

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