Let’s pretend for a second that you are shopping for a luxury car. You probably have Mercedes, BMW, Audi, and Tesla high on your list of preferred brands, followed by Lexus and maybe Jaguar or Volvo. Cadillac is unlikely to be high up on that list, if it’s on the list at all. I think this is a real shame, because the Cadillac CT6 is a seriously good luxury sedan that more people should consider before buying another BMW or Merc.
Me with the Cadillac in our driveway. I took all these pictures (except this one, which was taken by my mom), and you can use them if you want, so long as you are not a white supremacist, and so long as you credit me (or in this case, my mom).
(Full disclosure. GM sent a Cadillac CT6 to my house so I could review it and get very angry at the hazard lights because I’m an idiot who couldn’t be bothered to spend five minutes looking for the switch)
What it is
Not a rival to the Mercedes S-Class. The CT6 may be Cadillac’s flagship sedan, but it is positioned as another of Cadillac’s tweeners, being bigger and more expensive than the Mercedes E-Class sized CTS but smaller than an S-Class sized Caddy would be.
The CT6 starts at around $62,000 for the base Premium trim, $67,000 for the Sport, and $86,000 for the Platinum. The sold-out CT6-V stickered for $90,000, and our tested model was a Platinum with a sticker price of $88,000.
The base engine on the CT6 is a 3.6 liter naturally aspirated V6 making 335 horsepower. You can option a 404 horsepower twin-turbo 3 liter V6, and the Platinum had it as standard, as does the one-rung-down Sport model. The CT6-V had a 550 horsepower 4.2 liter twin-turbo V8.
Now it’s time to talk about Super Cruise. This is pretty much why I received this car--to test the Super Cruise system. Super Cruise is a semi-autonomous driving system like Tesla’s stupidly named Autopilot, but Super Cruise only works on highways. Which is fine, because that is the only time a self-driving car makes sense to me, and also because semi-autonomous technology is not yet advanced enough to safely operate on normal roads. All you have to do to activate it is turn on the cruise control like normal, center the vehicle in your lane, wait for the white steering wheel icon to show up on the gauge cluster, and press the Super Cruise button on the steering wheel. Then the icon, and the steering wheel mounted light bar, will turn green, and you can take your hands off the wheel. It works really well and is not bothered at all by corners and all but the most sudden changes in speed. The only things that will cause it to shut off (with fair warning, it should be said) are badly marked lane lines or a driver that is not paying attention. It uses a camera mounted behind the steering wheel to make sure the driver is not asleep, or texting, or engaging in sexual activity with a passenger (which people have done while using the Tesla system). If the camera detects that the driver is ignoring the road, the car will go through three stages of increasingly aggressive alerts. On the third, it will actually slow the car to a stop. This doesn’t seem like a good idea on the highway, but what do I know?
A full view of the Super Cruise system, with the light bar on the top of the steering wheel and the camera in the middle of the steering column. Not pictured: Stern reprimands from the car to PAY ATTENTION, DAMN YOU!!! (I’m paraphrasing)
The CT6 looks really good. Sorry for being Captain Obvious, but it does. When the majority of modern cars have embraced bland, jelly-bean styling, the sharp edges and elegant proportions of the CT6 stand out. I think it looks really good in gray, too, and I am not a fan of gray.
Look closely at the grille: It’s made up of tiny Cadillac logos. Nice touch, huh? (BTW, my mom took this one too. I had forgotten)
That chrome strip across the back was the only part of the styling I didn’t like.
Also, the touch-screen system is so much better than before. Cadillac has done away with the cheap-feeling, confusing, touch sensitive slide controls of the ATS and CTS and replaced them with a much cleaner and more high-quality center console. Of course, that means that more of the solid controls are now on the screen, but that’s less of an issue now, since the new touch-screen is very responsive and easy to use.
With the cheap center stack out of the way, Cadillac has done away with their biggest interior problem. The interior now comes across as the equal to most of their rivals. I say most, because Audi, Volvo, and Mercedes still do it better. But then, no one this side of Rolls-Royce does interiors better than Volvo.
The quality wasn’t the only thing that impressed about the CT6’s interior. During the week we had the car, we received several days of unbearable, triple-digit temperatures. I would have thought that the black leather interior of the CT6 would become approximately the same temperature as the surface of the sun, but it stayed remarkably cool for the conditions, even when parked in direct sunlight, and I could not figure out how. Maybe the glass has some sort of treatment to prevent the greenhouse effect? Does the car continue to cool itself after being shut off? I cannot figure it out.
On the Road
The CT6 has a surprisingly firm ride. It’s not punishing by any means, but it is stiffer than I might have expected. But this starts to make a lot of sense when you point the big Caddy at a corner.
Even from the passenger seat, I could tell the CT6 cornered very well. There was little understeer or body roll, and it had the agility of a car half its size. I was also very impressed with the engine. It takes very well to being run hard for long periods of time and delivers a great amount of low-end thrust, releasing a sedate growl when pushed. It hits redline at 6000 RPM--just when a Honda S2000 finally starts to make power.
The car’s ten-speed automatic is also very good. Like most modern automatics, it is much smarter than the driver, and is always in the right gear. There is really no point in using the paddle shifters-I felt a noticeable decrease in speed when they were engaged. Also, the car sounded like it was being overrevved in manual, but maybe that was just my dad. (I wasn’t driving, because I’m too young to have a license.)
Strengths & Weaknesses
The CT6 has very few weaknesses. Most of them are small things, like how you can only use the standard wireless headphones in the back seat. Of course, the fact that the car comes with wireless headphones at all means I shouldn’t be complaining. The two biggest problems the car has are frontal visibility and the slightly confusing shifter design-though that last part is not as annoying as it was on Day 1. Several points that stand out as strengths include the sharp handling, elegant exterior design, high-quality interior, and smooth, powerful twin-turbo engine
The slightly confusing shifter in all its glory. Buy a CT6 from a dealership, and you can get one without a picture of my hand on the shifter.
The CT6, for some reason, has not gotten a lot of attention from the mainstream automotive media. I think that is a real shame, because the CT6 is an excellent car that can easily stand toe-to-toe with the best that Mercedes, BMW, and the like have to offer. This car is not as immediately gratifying as some rivals, or some other Cadillacs I’ve tried, but after a while you really start to appreciate its all-around excellence.
How I’d have it
To me, the mid-level Sport trim seems like the best value, as it comes standard with the twin-turbo V6 but starts at almost $20K less than the Platinum. I would then add Red Horizon Tintcoat for $1,225. Yes, I know that seems like a rip-off, but it is one of the only interesting colors the CT6 has.
The Super Cruise Package isn’t cheap at $6K, but I think it’s well worth the money. Also, you get a full suite of active safety features included in the package, as well as rear-wheel steering and magnetic dampers. I would also have the $2000 Comfort and Technology package, which included cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and a heads-up display among other things. I would also go for the $3700 Bose Panaray surround sound system. Final price, including a $1500 discount, is $79,015.
One more thing…
If you want to ask me any questions, tell me about your interesting car, or just have a nerdy digital conversation about ridiculous car stuff, you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or find me on Twitter @MotorRevRory. I have Facebook and Instagram accounts, too, but I never use them.
Rory Cahill is a highly sarcastic teenage car enthusiast and amateur automotive journalist, who is especially interested in 80s/90s cars, classic off-roaders, and anything weird. He owns a 1984 Mercedes-Benz 300D Turbodiesel. He is also very interested in rock music and politics, and wrote this whole bio in the third person because he is a filthy, filthy snob