GM’s luxury division is prepping a state-of-the-art, full-size sedan. Should be here in 2018

When Johan de Nysschen joined Cadillac in 2014, the luxury brand promised a massive assault on the premium market with brand-new nameplates spread over several niches. Caddy also promised new, large sedans that would compete against the most luxurious BMW and Mercedes-Benz offerings. In 2015, Cadillac launched the CT6, the company’s most luxurious and technologically advanced vehicle to date. Slotted above the XTS, the CT6 became Cadillac’s range-topping model, but GM’s premium division said it won’t stop there, looking to create an even larger sedan. It goes by the name CT8 and it will arrive in showrooms for the 2019 model year.

Although it has yet to elaborate on the upcoming flagship, Cadillac launched a preview of the CT8 in the form of the Escala concept at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Described as the car that signals the company’s return to "the pinnacle of premium," which is a strong reference to the CT8, the Escala also previews Cadillac’s next-generation design language. This means that unlike the Ciel and Elmiraj, two stunning concepts that never made it into production, the Escala actually has a future as a vehicle you can buy in showrooms.

Thus we decided to create a rendering of what the CT8 might look like when it hits the market later this decade and speculate on what it might bring to the table based on what we already know about Cadillac’s current and upcoming technology and features. Find out more below and stay tuned for updates about the car that could become a modern day DeVille.

Continue reading to learn more about the Cadillac CT8.

Exterior

Since the Escala previews Caddy’s next-generation design language, it’s safe to assume that the CT8 will borrow as many cues as possible from the concept car. It’s difficult to tell what will change given that Cadillac rarely turns concepts into production models, but I expect the CT8 to feature a slightly toned-down exterior with some elements revised as to make sense on a mass-produced vehicle.

The CT8 to feature a slightly toned-down exterior with some elements revised as to make sense on a mass-produced vehicle.

Up front, the extremely thin headlamps are likely the first to go, replaced by larger, more efficient LED units. These will be taller, but will maintain a similar shape that extends well into the fenders and toward the grille. The latter will probably carry over unchanged, but I think Cadillac will go with a more conventional look and add a chrome strip between the headlamps. As for the chrome crest, it will be replaced by the colored one as Cadillac changed its emblem only a few years ago and a rebranding isn’t necessary at this point.

Down below is where I expect the concept and production car to be identical. Both the wide lower grille and the vertical LED lights are as production-ready as they get and seem to be the defining features — alongside the grille — of the next-generation Cadillacs. If anything, Cadillac will probably add small turn signals on each fender and add a new engine hood.

Moving onto the sides, the sedan should keep its pronounced beltline, as well as the overall shape of the fenders and doors. The big recess at the bottom of the doors will be removed unfortunately, making way for a more traditional chrome strip. The side mirrors will be larger, and the dark chrome window trim will be replaced by brighter elements (at least on the base model).

More changes are in store for the CT8 around back, as the concept’s three-winged taillights are a bit too extreme for a production model. The fastback configuration will also be axed, with Cadillac likely aiming for a more traditional sedan body. All told, the CT8 will be quite different from the CT6, but at the same time it will remain recognizable as a Cadillac.

Interior

2016 Cadillac CT6
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Note: Cadillac CT6 interior shown here.

Inside, the CT8 should differentiate itself even more from the rest of the Cadillac lineup by means of never-before-seen luxury features and GM’s next-generation infotainment technology and safety systems. A massive touchscreen display will probably be the highlight of a dashboard wrapped in leather and genuine wood veneer, while a smaller display will act as an instrument cluster. All four seats will provide the utmost comfort to the driver and passengers by including enhanced adjustability, heated and cooling functions, as well as a massage feature. Naturally, all four will be wrapped in the finest Nappa leather available in a Cadillac.

Unlike the CT6, the CT8 will also get some sort of semi-autonomous technology.

A multi-zone climate control system and a premium sound system will be standard, as well as updated versions of various technologies that debuted in the CT6. An interesting one is the ability to connect a video streaming device to the car’s rear-seat entertainment system for viewing programming from websites 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 car’s in-car Wi-Fi network.

But, unlike the CT6, the CT8 will also get some sort of semi-autonomous technology. Granted, Cadillac is already behind the game as Mercedes-Benz is already offering it in its large sedans, but the CT8 should make up for it with a state-of-the-art system when it arrives in dealerships.

Drivetrain

2016 Cadillac CT6
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Note: Cadillac CT6 drivetrain pictured here.

Cadillac has already divulged that the Escala concept uses the Omega platform that debuted in the CT6 and it’s safe to assume that the CT8 will get the same underpinnings. The concept also utilizes the company’s new twin-turbo, 4.2-liter V-8 engine, which will also find its way in the CT6 in 2017. There’s no word on output, but given that the twin-turbo, 3.0-liter V-6 in the CT6 generates 400 horsepower, the V-8 should crank out close to 500 horses, if not more. The V-8 could also be used to create a high-performance, V-spec model aimed at the Mercedes-AMG S63, in which case it could deliver in excess of 600 horsepower. Both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive should be available, but the sedan will limited to only an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Prices

As Cadillac’s range-topping model and based on the amount of luxury features and technology it will get, the CT8 will become the company’s most expensive model by far. A starting price of at least $90,000 is likely for the V-6 model, with the more powerful V-8 fetching in excess of $100,000 before options.

Competition

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Is Mercedes Trying to Put an End to Tesla's Reign at the Top of the EV Food Chain? Exterior Spyshots
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Launched in 2013, the current Mercedes-Benz S-Class is one of the most advanced full-size sedan on the market. Superior to the CT6 in just about any department, the S-Class not only has an imposing exterior and impressive interior, it’s also offered with some of the company’s most powerful drivetrains. In the U.S., the range begins with the S500, which gets its juice from a 4.7-liter V-8 rated at 449 horsepower. Next up is the S550e, a plug-in hybrid using a 3.0-liter V-6 and an electric motor good for 436 horses combined. At the top of the non-AMG model range sits the S600. With a massive 6.0-liter V-12 under the hood, this version benefits from 523 horsepower. Pricing starts from $96,600 and goes well into $150,000 territory with the V-12 powerplant.

Find out more about the Mercedes-Benz S-Class here.

BMW 7 Series

2016 BMW 7 Series Exterior High Resolution
- image 647227

The 7 Series is the newest of the German flagship sedans, having been launched for the 2017 model year. Redesigned to a new body, a lighter platform, and upgraded engines, the Bimmer will still be fresh by the time the CT8 arrives in 2018. Elegant on the outside and luxurious on the inside, the 7 Series too is available with a wide range of powerplants. It starts with the 740i trim level with 320 horsepower from a 3.0-liter, turbocharged, V-6, while the 750i comes with a 4.4-liter V-8 that delivers 445 horsepower and a 60-mph sprint in just 4.7 seconds. Opting for the 750i xDrive gets you the same horsepower with all-wheel drive. Pricing starts from $81,500 for the base model and from $97,600 for the 750i xDrive. If you want to stand out from the crowd, there’s the Alpina B7 xDrive, but the beefed-up sedan will set you back $137,000 before options.

Learn more about the BMW 7 Series here.

Audi A8

2018 Audi A8
- image 683524

The A8 is about to get a complete redesign in 2017, and while official details are being kept in the vault, the actual car is not much of a mystery. As it is with most current Audis, the A8 won’t change much on the outside. Sure, its features will be sharper and the overall styling will borrow some cues from the company’s recent concept cars, but the understated appearance will soldier on. Bigger changes will occur inside, where the A8 will get upgraded materials, a new infotainment system, and much like all new luxury cars, a semi-autonomous features. Under the hood, expect the same selection of V-6 and V-8 engines, with the range-topping model delivering as much as 500 horsepower.

Read more about the Audi A8 in our speculative review here.

Conclusion

2019 Cadillac CT8 Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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While brands such as Audi, Lexus, and Infiniti (and even Hyundai through its new Genesis division), have evolved dramatically in the last decade, Cadillac is still struggling to recover after its abrupt decline from the 1990s. Granted, the company has made important steps forward with the Escalade, CTS, ATS, and more recently the CT6, but it’s nowhere near close the imposing status it had when models such as the Eldorado and the Deville were still ruling the premium market. This is exactly what Cadillac wants to fix under De Nysschen’s leadership, but it’s too early to say whether the CT8 will push the brand in the same league with the big boys of the German industry. At this point, I think that the new flagship could be anything between a huge success and a massive failure, but my fingers are crossed that the CT8 becomes a modern incarnation of the once impressive Deville. Cadillac needs to return at the top of the luxury market and De Nysschen is the right man for that.

  • Leave it
    • * Tough competition from Mercedes-Benz and BMW
    • * Cadillac’s image in this segment doesn’t look too good
    • * Not much is known about it
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