Fifty years ago, the muscle car era was just getting underway and if you wanted the biggest, most luxurious car in America, you bought a Cadillac. Even today, the big, beautiful Cadillacs of the 1960s (and earlier) are still head-turners, but with the downsizing of the American automobiles in the 70s and 80s, Cadillacs got to be a little less grand.
On top of the changes made during the fuel crisis era in the US, the influx of cars from European luxury brands like Mercedes Benz and BMW stole some of the spotlight from Cadillac – all of which was compounded when brands like Lexus and Infiniti took off in the 1990s. These newer luxury cars combined premium features with improved handling, as the “float like a boat” luxury feel became undesirable.
During that time, Cadillac remained a luxury automaker, with interior amenities which could rival the big German sedans, but the big Cadillac’s lacked the driving dynamics of the European rivals. The modern CTS played a big part in getting Cadillac back into the luxury limelight and with the arrival of the new CT6 – Cadillac has another big luxury sedan that is fun to drive. Mind you, I don’t mean to bash the Cadillac XTS, as that is a great large luxury sedan, but the XTS lacks the driving dynamics of the CTS which have become so important in the luxury segment.
The CT6 takes the best of all of Cadillac’s modern interior appointments and packs them into a big, sleek sedan that blends fun-to-drive factor with the ride quality that you would expect from a premium luxury sedan.
The 2017 Cadillac CT6 Platinum comes with standard all-wheel drive and the buyer’s choice of either the naturally aspirated 3.6L V6 or the twin turbocharged 3.0L V6. My test car was equipped with the twin turbo engine, which brings about a base price of $88,790, including destination. That includes everything mentioned in this review, so while there are a few options, like other wheel options, floor mats and an ashtray – the CT6 Platinum only comes loaded.
There are other, less expensive trimlines of the 2017 Cadillac CT6, but if you want the true luxury package – go with the Platinum and get everything that you could possibly want in a big premium sedan.
The new Cadillac CT6 Platinum shares an exterior design with the other Caddy sedans, and that is good thing.
Up front, the Cadillac CT6 has similar big, bright LED headlights with LED trim which start high on the fender and flow down to the LED fog lights in the bottom of the fascia. Between these high tech headlights is a big, bold grille set between a set of hard angles that extend up across the hood. The Cadillac logo is prominently displayed in the middle of this sporty silver grille and where there isn’t a ton of silver accents around the outside of the CT6 – there is just enough to leave no question of the luxury purpose of this big Cadillac.
Along the sides, the Cadillac CT6 is long and low, with the 20 inch wheels of the Platinum package bolstering the sporty look of this big sedan. The wheelbase looks huge compared to most other sedans, and this added length is what separates the CT6 from the CTS – as it leads to loads more interior space.(More on the Next Page.)
Finally, the back end of the CT6 is minimally decorated, with a bit of chrome running between the quad exhaust tips and underlining the big LED taillights.
The Cadillac CT6 isn’t heavily clad in chrome, but the thoughtful application of silver around the outside of the black luxury sedan gives this big Caddy a more subtle look – although leaving no question that it is a premium luxury machine. It might not be as flashy as the classic Cadillacs, but in the modern era of the luxury car – the exterior design of the CT6 is near perfect.
The Cadillac CT6 has a sharp exterior design, but the real show is the interior – as this is the most beautifully appointed General Motors luxury vehicle ever. This car has literally everything that you could want from a luxury sedan and on the CT6 Platinum, it is all standard equipment. This is a cabin that you have to experience to really appreciate it, but here is a rundown of what makes this the best appointed Cadillac ever.
The front seats of the Cadillac CT6 Platinum are heated and cooled, they have 20-way power adjustability and a massage feature. The high level of adjustability guarantees that any driver will be comfortable while any passenger will be comfortable whether they are navigating or laid out napping, and with the massaging feature turned on – it is not hard to get comfortable in the GT6 front seats. This is a car that you won’t mind driving in dense traffic, as the seats might be the most comfortable I’ve experienced in a car under $100k. Of course, there is plenty of space in every direction around the driver and front passenger, so in addition to having the remarkably comfortable seats, even the tallest driver or front passenger will have plenty of space to stretch his or her legs.
Many of the comforts of the CT6 front seats extend to the rear seats of the Platinum model, with 8-way power adjustability, the massaging feature and both heated and ventilated surfaces on the outboard positions. The long wheelbase of the CT6 yields to massive amounts of rear leg and head room, so two people seated in the rear of this big Cadillac will enjoy every comfort of a modern limousine. In fact, each rear passenger also has his or her own climate controls for their seating position while with the push of a button, each rear passenger can view a 10” monitor that rises out of the seatbacks of the front seats.(More on the Next Page.)
So to review, the front seats of the Cadillac CT6 are beautifully padded with 20-way adjustment, heated, cooled and the massage your back while the rear seats are just as nicely padded with 8-way adjustment, heated, cooled, they massage your back and each rear passenger can watch a movie on their own screen while listening via wireless headphones.
The seats are incredible and there is a ton of interior space but this is just the start of the CT6 cabin.
Next, we have the Cadillac CUE infotainment system, which is operated via the 10” screen mounted high on the dash. The CUE system offers touch control of every aspect of the CT6 interior, including the sound system, the hands-free phone system, navigation, the interior climate control and a spread of customizable apps – such as Pandora or the Onstar weather information. This system also has a laptop-style touch pad down near the center armrest, where the driver to move a cursor around the screen while his or her right arm is near the shifter. Of course, there is also an array of buttons on the steering wheel and the driver can use the voice control button to access the many features of CUE – and there is a dedicated HVAC control panel mounted low on the center stack.
If you don’t like touch sensitive controls, you might want to avoid the CT6 Platinum, as you will find that this system does require you to use the touchscreen from time to time, but with only a handful of dabbling in the system – I find the CUE setup to be very easy to use. CUE does everything and while it takes a few minutes to get a feel for how to make the most of the system, this is a great infotainment system for such a gorgeous luxury sedan.(More on the Next Page.)
The majority of the steering wheel controls work with the in-dash infotainment features, but these controls also adjust the fully configurable driver information center. Like other Cadillacs, the CT6 has a 3-pod gauge layout and by flipping from one pod to the next, the driver can change the information in each – posting navigation information, sound system information and every type of vehicle readout you could want. The (blurry) video below offers a quick look at the adjustable sections of the CT6 driver information display.
One unique feature of the Cadillac CT6 which I particularly enjoyed was the new camera-based rear view mirror system. Rather than a tradition rear view mirror, the CT6 uses the backup camera system to broadcast a clear image on the rear view mirror, which is actually an LED screen. This offers a far clearer view of what is going on behind your vehicle, without the headrests or the rear window frame limiting visibility. Day or night, the CT6 rear view mirror system is great – and it is something which I hope to see available in more cars in the near future. Best of all, if the camera gets dirty or if you don’t like the camera view, pushing the button on the mirror converts it to a traditional rear view mirror. The video bellows offers a look at the function of this high tech mirror.
Finally, we come to one of the most talked-about features of the Cadillac CT6 – the 34-speaker Bose Panaray sound system. There are speakers tucked everywhere in the CT6 with this premium system, including one that rises out of the center of the dash, and that leads to an audio experience like few others. No matter what type of music you enjoy, it will sound great via the Panaray speaker system at even the highest volume levels. The highs ae crisp and the lows boom, with crispness that you would expect from one of the best sound systems in the luxury market. Also, whether you are in a front seat or a rear seat, the spread of 34 speakers guarantees that the sound experience is just as impressive in every seating position. Every person who rode with me in the CT6 was amazed by this Bose system and I suspect that most prospective buyers will be drawn in by this feature in the big Cadillac.
The Cadillac CT6 Platinum cabin exudes premium luxury from top to bottom, with a suede headliner, leather-wrapped everything, plush seats that heat, cool and massage you, a rear seating layout like a limo and one of the greatest sound systems I’ve tested. The CT6 interior is not just an interior – it is an experience, no matter where you are sitting.(More on the Next Page.)
The high tech show that is led by the interior of the Cadillac CT6 is continued into the drivetrain, with a twin turbo V6, an 8-speed automatic transmission, an advanced all-wheel drive system, rear steering, Brembo brakes and GM’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension setup.
The twin turbo 3.0L V6 delivers 404 horsepower and 400lb-ft of torque, which makes the big Cadillac sedan quick from a stop and strong through the mid-range. In normal “Tour” drive mode, the CT6 AWD system sends 60% of the power to the rear wheels, but in Sport mode, 80% is sent out back. This gives the CT6 the rear-drive feel that has become so popular in the big luxury sedan world, but in the event that traction becomes a problem – the AWD system shifts power to the front wheels as needed. Even with the 80% rear-power bias of Sport mode, the added grip of the AWD system allows you to launch the CT6 hard from a stop without any concern of traction issues and the 8-speed automatic gearbox pops quickly from gear to gear – making this big Cadillac swifter than you might expect. Also, when you hit the highway, that turbocharged power allows this big Caddy to get down the road at speeds well above any posted speed limit.
The Magnetic Ride Control allows the CT6 to offer a beautifully smooth, quiet ride during normal driving situations, but when you flip this Caddy to Sport mode and begin to hit the turns hard – the dampers adjust to provide impressive cornering capabilities for a big luxury car. In the event that you get into a turn a bit too hard, the Brembo brakes bring this big sedan down to a manageable speed in a hurry, so as well as it accelerates, rides and handles – the CT6 has the brake credentials of a performance car. This combination of performance and ride quality which comes with the Magnetic Ride Control is one of the reasons that the CT6 is such a great luxury sedan, as it offers the ideal driving dynamics for every situation.
Finally, the Cadillac CT6 Platinum with the twin turbo V6 and all-wheel drive is expected by the EPA to return 18mpg around town, 26mpg on the highway and 21mpg combined. I found myself driving the CT6 in sport mode, using the paddle shifters much of the time, and that hurt my fuel economy numbers a bit. On one long highway drive, I was able to get 27.2mpg, but during the course of a week – I only averaged 20.1mpg. I believe that with less aggressive driving, better fuel economy numbers could be achieved, but I enjoyed driving the CT6 so much that I didn’t care about feeding the TTV6.
Mind you, this isn’t a V-Series car, but for someone who wants a strong-running and great-handling large luxury sedan – the Cadillac CT6 Platinum is a great option. The CT6 is a blast to drive in a spirited fashion, but it is also as smooth, quiet and comfortable as any large luxury sedan sold in America.(More on the Next Page.)
The Final Word
At long last, Cadillac has a big, beautiful luxury sedan with the rear-drive dynamics which have long been reserved for European models. The CT6 combines the great exterior design of the modern Cadillac lineup, the most well-appointed interior that General Motors has ever offered, a high tech suspension setup that perfectly blends handling with ride quality and a drivetrain that is powerful and efficient – all for less than $90k.
While there are still plenty of strong competitors from Europe and Japan, the new Cadillac CT6 Platinum is, without a doubt, the best large luxury sedan from Cadillac and the best large luxury sedan from an American automaker. Like the Cadillacs from back in the day, the CT6 is big, bold, beautiful and loaded to the hilt with everything that you could ask for in a large luxury sedan.
If you are in the market for a large luxury sedan, make sure that you drive the new Cadillac CT6 before making your purchase, as this is the big sedan GM has needed to properly challenge the best from Lexus, BMW and Mercedes Benz.