The Cadillac CT6 represents the future of GM’s luxury division and, after years of stasis, it appears that the brand is finally being infused with a much-needed shot of vitality.
Built on GM’s full-size Omega platform, the CT6 marks a point of divergence with other contemporary Cadillacs insofar as it utilizes a core rear-wheel drive architecture – with available all-wheel drive – and is the first full-size rear-driving model since the Fleetwood was retired in 1996.
Unlike the Fleetwood of old, however, the CT6 is not available with a V8. Rather, the CT6 is powered by a trio of smaller engines: a 2.0L turbo four, a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 and a normally aspirated 3.6L V6.
The pattern of putting a larger displacement turbo six into a large rear-wheel drive sedan – a traditional V8 platform – is really beginning to take hold.
The forthcoming 2018 Lexus LS, also a rear-wheel drive car, will come with a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6, which will replace the 4.6L V8 in the outgoing car. Kia is going a similar route, with its forthcoming Stinger gran turismo, which will also feature a twin-turbo V6 in the place of a V8.
While some may still suggest a V8 is the price of entry in the segment, or at least to be taken seriously, the manufacturers are beginning to see things differently.
Personally, I don’t think the lack of a V8 makes the CT6 any less of a legitimate full-size luxury sedan.
The very well-appointed Luxury model I drove for two weeks features a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 that produces 404 horsepower and 400 lb-ft. of torque.
Tuned to deliver V8-like performance, the 3.0L V6 has a flat torque curve (peak output begins at just 2,500 rpm) that makes the CT6 pretty quick off the line for a long and relatively heavy car. A paddle-shift eight-speed automatic and available all-wheel drive also adds to the CT6’s get-up and go.
The interior, as one might imagine, is quite plush. An impressive mix of soft-touch fabrics and attractive plastics and metallic trim accents give the CT6 a pleasingly refined and tasteful personality, and while I’m not the biggest fan of the Cadillac’s CUE infotainment interface, the 10.2-inch navi touchscreen looks great and was easy to use.
A console-mounted touchpad came in handy, as did the inductive cell phone charge slot tucked into the console armrest.
On the road, the CT6 offers a hushed, almost tomb-like ride. The outside world rarely intrudes, except when you choose to stand on the accelerator which will cause the turbo V6 to emit a nice growl.
Several driving modes are available, but a dynamic, white-knuckle driving experience isn’t what the CT6 is all about – a comfortable, quiet ride in a cabin filled with the latest luxury tech is, and the big Caddy delivers on that score.
SPECIFICATIONS – 2017 Cadillac CT6 3.0L Twin-Turbo Luxury AWD
BASE PRICE / AS TESTED: $73,575 / $87,685 (incl. $1,950 destination)
ENGINE: 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6
HORSEPOWER: 404 hp @ 5,700 rpm
TORQUE: 400 lb-ft. @ 2,500 – 5,100 rpm
CURB WEIGHT: 1,853 kg
CONFIGURATION: front engine, all-wheel drive
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
FUEL ECONOMY RATINGS (L/100 KM - CITY / HWY. / COMB.): 13.0 / 9.1 / 11.2
WARRANTY (MOS. / KM): 48 / 80,000
ALTERNATIVES: Audi A8, BMW 7-Series, Jaguar XJ, Lexus LS, Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Photography by Lee Bailie