There have been rumors and reports of a plug-in hybrid version of the upcoming CT6, but they remained unconfirmed until now. Today, at the Shanghai Auto Show, Cadillac confirmed that there will indeed be a plug-in version of its upcoming flagship.

When Cadillac first unveiled the 2016 CT6 at the 2015 New York Auto Show, it arrived with a trio of engine options. The smallest of the group was a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that pumped out 265 horsepower. The two optional engines were both V-6s, but one was a 3.6-liter that produced 335 horsepower, while the other was a twin-turbo 3.0-liter with 400 ponies.

As of 2015, it appears as if the CT6 PHEV will only have to butt heads with the Mercedes S550 Plug-In Hybrid, as neither Audi nor BMW have released range-topping plug-in hybrid sedans. With the hybrid flagship market still in its very early stages, can this thrifty but expensive sedan thrive?

Continue reading my full preview of the 2016 Cadillac CT6 PHEV.

  • 2016 Cadillac CT6 PHEV
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    Electric Variable Transmission
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    335
  • Torque @ RPM:
    432
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    135 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    70000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Cadillac CT6 PHEV Exterior
- image 627590

On the outside, the CT6 PHEV will be nearly indiscernible from the standard CT6, from the looks of things. It of course will have badges to distinguish it, but the differences in the actual body are nearly non-existent from the images that Caddy released.

Some of the mild differences that may help set it apart are the possibility of more aerodynamic wheels and the addition of grille shutters to help make the sedan sleeker when the engine doesn’t need cooling.

I personally like the idea of making the PHEV version almost identical to the standard model, as this class of vehicle wouldn’t look or feel quite right with any major differences added in.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase (in / mm) 122.4 / 3109
Length (in / mm) 204 / 5182
Width (in / mm) 74 / 1879
Height (in / mm) 57.9 / 1472

Interior

The interior, like the exterior, will likely be structurally identical to the standard CT6 sedan. The only differences will be the addition of a monitoring system for the electric side of the drivetrain. This means there will be screens that read your driving style, estimate the range in the battery pack, monitor the regen braking, and more.

Drivetrain

2016 Cadillac CT6 PHEV Exterior
- image 627588

Combined, the gasoline engine and two electric motors pack a healthy punch at 335 horsepower and 432 pound-feet of torque. If I were a betting man, I would say this luxury sedan will hit 60 mph in about five to six seconds.

Cadillac didn’t announce exact fuel-economy estimates, but it did mention that it expects the CT6 PHEV to double the fuel economy of the gasoline-powered models.

Cadillac didn’t announce exact fuel-economy estimates, but it did mention that it expects the CT6 PHEV to double the fuel economy of the gasoline-powered models. Cadillac will also include regenerative braking to help boost the charge of the battery, and its regen on-demand feature will give the feeling of downshifting. The driver can activate the on-demand feature via a paddle on the steering wheel.

The battery is an 18.4 kWh unit with 192 cells that Cadillac stuffed between the rear seats and the trunk. This battery can be charged using a 120- or 240-volt outlet. There are no initial estimates for EV range or charging time.

The CT6 PHEV will also feature a trio of driving modes: Normal, Sport, and Hold. Normal mode is for the daily drive to and from work. It offers the best mix of power and range (EV and hybrid). Sport mode adjusts the mapping of the accelerator and it stiffens the steering. The result is improved acceleration and better road feel. In Hold mode, the driver chooses when the CT6 uses its gasoline engine. This allows the driver to reserve the battery’s charge for city driving.

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder
Transmission Two motor rear drive electric variable
Total System Power 335 HP
Total System Torque 432 LB-FT
Brakes iBooster / Electronic Stability Program tailored for hybrid electric vehicle; fully blended regenerative

Prices

2016 Cadillac CT6 PHEV Exterior
- image 627591

Pricing remains unknown for now, but look for the CT6 PHEV to call for at least $70,000. There is no initial estimate for its release date.

Competition

Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-In Hybrid

2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 568906
The perfect compromise for rich nerds, the Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-In Hybrid

The Mercedes-Benz S550 is a key model that the entire CT6 lineup has in its crosshairs, which means the S550 Plug-In Hybrid will be the key competitor for the CT6 PHEV. In terms of luxury, the S550 will likely trump the CT6, but with added options, the CT6 should be a dollar-for-dollar better value.

Powering the S550 Plug-In Hybrid is a 3.0-liter V-6 biturbo engine and an electric motor mated to its seven-speed transmission. This system puts out 436 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to get the big sedan to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. On electric power alone, the S50 Plug-In Hybrid can travel up to 20 miles.

Read our full review of the Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-In Hybrid here.

Conclusion

It took a while, but we’re finally seeing plug-in hybrids infiltrate the large, luxury sedan market. First came the S550 Plug-In and now comes the CT6 PHEV. This means that Audi and BMW are likely right behind Caddy and Mercedes. I think this will be a huge seller, as even the most wealthy of folks are becoming more eco-conscious and are doing what they can to help the environment – without impacting their lifestyles, of course.

  • Leave it
    • * Likely to be very expensive
    • * Why not buy a Tesla Model S 70D?
    • * Looks are a little bland

Press Release

Cadillac announced today at the Shanghai Auto Show that it will add an available Plug-In Hybrid Electric (PHEV) propulsion system to its upcoming range-topping CT6 sedan. The new PHEV system is expected to more than double the fuel economy of the conventional powertrain offerings.

2016 Cadillac CT6 PHEV Exterior
- image 627587

The CT6 PHEV takes advantage of the car’s advanced lightweight structure to create a unique formula for the prestige sedan.

“The first-ever CT6 is a technological showcase throughout, making it an ideal platform for Cadillac to offer its first plug-in hybrid,” said Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen. “In the CT6, Cadillac presents a new formula for prestige luxury. The advanced Plug-In Hybrid system is a key addition, providing a combination of exceptional fuel economy, crisp acceleration and strong electric-driving range.”

The CT6 Plug-In Hybrid system is designed to provide all-electric driving for most daily commutes, while maximizing fuel efficiency by providing blended power from the engine and battery at higher speeds and higher loads, even when energy is stored in the battery.

Battery Technology

The CT6 PHEV leverages General Motors’ proven battery technology. An 18.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is located between the rear seat and the trunk. The battery system is comprised of 192 prismatic pouch cells, which use the latest generation cell chemistry found in other GM plug-in vehicles.

With industry-leading quality levels of fewer than two problems per million battery cells produced, more than 20 million battery cells have been made for more than 73,000 GM plug-ins on the road today. The CT6 PHEV battery system will use the company’s proven active thermal control system that maintains electric range over the battery system’s life.

2016 Cadillac CT6 PHEV Exterior
- image 627588

The battery system can be charged using a 120V or 240V charger. Range estimates will be provided closer to U.S. launch of the PHEV option.

Electric Variable Transmission Delivers Exceptional Performance

All-electric launch performance is one of the key purchase considerations for PHEV and EV owners. The Cadillac CT6 PHEV combines an all-new rear wheel electric variable transmission (EVT) with exclusively designed motors to provide smooth, spirited acceleration.

The two-motor EVT also uses three planetary gears and is mated to a 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder engine with spark-ignited direct injection and variable valve technology. The use of a two-motor system provides smooth and seamless power through the entire driving range.

The combined system is capable of producing total system power of 335 hp (250 kW) and 432 lb-ft (586 Nm) of torque.

“The CT6 PHEV will deliver exceptional smooth, responsive acceleration that Cadillac and luxury sedan owners demand,” said Travis Hester, Cadillac CT6 executive chief engineer. “We have managed to achieve superior drive quality when compared to our PHEV competitors due to our exclusively designed EVT.”

Cadillac expects the fuel economy of the CT6 PHEV to be more than double that of the car’s conventional engine offerings, as measured by miles per gallon equivalent. Standards for measuring vehicle fuel economy differ between China and other global regions. Full details on the CT6 PHEV efficiency in the U.S. and other markets outside China will be released closer to the car’s introduction in those markets.

Regenerative Braking

The CT6 PHEV will feature iBooster and Electronic Stability Program tailored for hybrid electric vehicle regenerative blended braking to provide maximum energy recovery combined with reduced stopping distance and improved fuel economy over traditional regenerative braking systems.

The iBooster and ESP-hev technology balance the use of the CT6 electric motors to act as generators to slow the vehicle and capture as much kinetic energy as possible during low-demand scenarios, while blending the traditional hydraulic brakes with the motors in high-demand scenarios.

As expected from a driver’s car like the CT6, the system provides improved brake pedal feel and enables increased opportunity for engine stop-start operation.

Operating Modes and Regen on Demand

CT6 PHEV drivers will be able to select among three distinct operating modes: Normal, Sport and Hold.

2016 Cadillac CT6 PHEV Exterior
- image 627589

Normal: Designed for everyday commuting. Provides ideal balance of comfort, performance and maximized EV range and fuel economy.
Sport: Provides more aggressive pedal mapping for improved off-the-line feel and a stiffer steering response.
Hold: Allows owners to select when the CT6 PHEV uses its engine, reserving the remaining battery charge for later use. This feature helps enhance efficiency because owners who mix city and highway driving can save the battery charge for city travel, where the CT6 EV mode operates most efficiently.

The CT6 PHEV will also feature Regen on Demand, which allows the driver to temporarily regenerate energy from vehicle momentum into electricity and store in the battery pack for later use.

Regen on Demand supports a more-engaging driving experience by slowing the vehicle when entering a turn to better position it on the exit, much like downshifting with a manual transmission. Regen on Demand is engaged via steering-wheel paddles adapted from traditional performance cars.

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