Likely the most anticipated reveal of the New York Auto Show this year is the 2016 Cadillac CT6, the brand’s return to full size rear-wheel drive flagship status.
The new Cadillac CT6 was revealed at a standing-room only event in New York the evening ahead of the auto show, crowded with automotive journalists who were able to get their first up close look, sit in the car and talk with Cadillac executives.
For Cadillac this is a huge moment, representing years of bold work on a new full-size sedan that will compete against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series head to head. While it’s been talked about long, the car to do it is finally reality.
With an all-new Omega chassis platform architecture using the latest technologies to build it of both high-strength steel and aluminum, Cadillac says it weighs in at less than 3,700 pounds. That makes it less than a BMW 5-Series, while it is the same size as a 7-Series.
Powering the new CT6 will be three engines. The base engine will be a surprising powertrain for this class, the same 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder found in the Cadillac ATS with 265 horsepower.
Up from there and likely the mainstream engine offing is an all-new 3.6 liter naturally aspirated V6 with 335 horsepower. And topping the range will be a ground-breaking twin-turbo 3.0 liter V6 with an astounding 400 horsepower.
Known as the 3.0TT, it is the first of its kind to feature cylinder deactivation technology which allows four-cylinder operation during coast and low loads as well as auto start-stop technology all to save fuel.
All three engines will be paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission with multiple drive modes, and all-wheel drive will be optional.
At 204-inches in length with a 122-inch wheelbase, it will be the larges car Cadillac has built in decades. Nowhere does this become more apparent than inside.
The interior brings new levels of room and high design to Cadillac with liberal use of rich natural finishes of exotic woods, carbon fibers, top-grain Opus leather, and hand stitched soft trims on virtually every touchable surface.
Rear seat passengers especially get the royal treatment with generous space and amenities like an articulating seat package which offers 3.3 inches of seat travel, lumbar and tilt adjustments and back massagers.
Drivers will enjoy an eye catching cockpit design with a high center console and a new 10.2 wide touchscreen which can display all-around 360 imagery from the CT6 new camera system. It’s also loaded with a wide range of connectivity, information, and audio features too long to list here.
Material quality as well as fit and finish appear to be top notch here, though the center stack still appears to depend heavily on touch-sensitive controls which in current Cadillacs we found difficult to use.
Talk of features, details, and mechanical specification is all good, but this car is as much about the bold new image it presents for Cadillac as anything else. Its size and proportions along with its characteristic design are meant to be iconic, and they may have just succeeded.
A new upright grill and face take the established Cadillac Art and Science design language forward while LED signature lighting brings in touches of the brand’s design icons of the past. A long and upright silhouette has a sense of confidence and largess.
The car makes a statement without apology in that, giving luxury car buyers reason to buy in, to pass up the German brands without reservation. At least that was the goal of the people at Cadillac. Whether or not they succeeded, time will tell.
The 2016 Cadillac CT6 will go on sale later this year. What will it cost? Pricing has not yet been announced but we’d guess base pricing to be somewhere in the $60,000 range at least with fully optioned models likely pushing the $100,000 barrier.