Photo courtesy of GM.

Photo courtesy of GM.

I recently had an opportunity to test drive the 2016 Cadillac CT6, which is a significant model for Cadillac because it provides a glimpse of the brand’s future product development direction.

The 2016 Cadillac CT6 is a rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (AWD), 5-passenger large luxury performance sedan. It 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. According to Cadillac, the CT6 represents its next step in the continuing evolution of the Cadillac brand portfolio.

I believe the CT6 accomplishes this mission in terms of exterior/interior styling, drivability, and safety/technology features.

The exterior styling has bold proportions dominated by a long hood and sleek upper body, which makes the CT6 standout in a crowd. The body style is low, wide, and sleek, which is just what you’d expect in a lightweight performance sedan. Personally, I am a fan of this styling direction, which, I believe, gives the CT6 an eye-pleasing product differentiation from other cars on the road.

The wheelbase for the CT6 is 122.4 inches, with overall length of 204 inches. It is built on a lightweight architecture, which reduces its overall curb weight, thereby increasing fuel efficiency. The body structures of the CT6 is an aluminum-intensive architecture that incorporates 11 different materials. According to Cadillac, the CT6 is approximately 218 pounds lighter than a comparable vehicle using predominantly high-strength steel.

Fuel efficiency is further enhanced in the CT6 using eight-speed transmissions, with the industry’s first application of cylinder deactivation technology on a turbocharged V-6 engine.

A Driver’s Car

I test drove the AWD CT6 Premium Luxury model powered by a 3.6L V-6 engine mated to an eight-speed transmission. My experience after several days behind the wheel of the CT6 is that it was designed to be a driver’s car and it succeeded in fulfilling this mission. Despite its size, the lightweight architecture makes the CT6 a very agile car to drive and gives it excellent ride handling characteristics. 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, 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. AWD is standard on all CT6 six-cylinder models. The active-on-demand all-wheel drive features a continuously variable clutch that infinitely varies power delivery to the front wheels – up to 959 lb.-ft. – to make the most of handling and stability in all conditions

Another nice feature is Auto Vehicle Hold – a driver-selectable feature that prevents forward and rearward vehicle creep when the driver’s foot is off the brake. The Auto Vehicle Hold feature reduces driver fatigue during heavy stop-and-go traffic and improves vehicle control on steep grades.

Photo courtesy of GM.

Photo courtesy of GM.

Choice of Engines and Tansmissions

The 2016 Cadillac CT6 is available with three engine choices:

  • 0L I-4 turbo DOHC DI – 265 hp.
  • 6L V-6 DOHC DI – 335 hp.
  • 0L V-6 twin-turbo DOHC DI – 404 hp.

In addition, the CT6 is available with two transmissions, depending on the engine:

  • The new Hydra-Matic 8L45 eight-speed automatic is available for the 2.0L I-4 turbocharged and 3.6L V-6 engines
  • The Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed automatic is available for the 3.0L twin-turbo engine.

The powertrains of the CT6 is an all-new Cadillac Twin Turbo 3.0L V-6 engine can generate impressive acceleration power on demand. The Twin Turbo engine generates an approximately 400 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque, which Cadillac says makes it among the most power-dense V-6 engines in the segment.

Quiet and Spacious Interior

The CT6 body structure is lighter and stiffer, creating what Cadillac describes as “bank vault” levels of quietness. I can attest that the CT6 did an excellent job in isolating the driver from outside road noise. The CT6’s cabin interior is spacious with plenty of legroom for front seat passengers and there is a generous 40.4 inches of rear-seat legroom. In addition, there is an all-new Articulating Rear Seat package, with approximately 3.3 inches of adjustable seat travel, lumbar adjustment, tilting cushions, massage feature, heating/cooling features, and armrest. The CT6 is also a Wi-Fi hotspot, which you don’t fully appreciate until you drive a vehicle without it.

The quadzone climate system employs a secondary full-HVAC system that allows passengers to personalize temperature and airflow for each seating position, along with ionizing air purification.

A Wealth of Safety Features

The CT6 Premium Luxury AWD model offered as standard equipment a rear vision camera, side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision alert, and lane keep assist with lane departure warning. One nice safety features is surround vision, a 360-degree camera view around the vehicle, displayed on the Cadillac CUE screen, helps reduce blind spots around the vehicle.

A new safety feature is Pedestrian Collision Mitigation technology, which provides pedestrian detection indications, alerts, and automatic braking to avoid collisions.

If the CT6 is a harbinger of the future direction of Cadillac, I like what I see and drive. It will be exciting to see what’s next in the product pipeline.

About the author
Mike Antich

Mike Antich

Former Editor and Associate Publisher

Mike Antich covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Global Fleet of Hal in 2022. He also won the Industry Icon Award, presented jointly by the IARA and NAAA industry associations.

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