There was a time when Cadillac's big sedans were the cars to which every American aspired. Those days are long gone, but the Cadillac brand has been undergoing a resurgence in recent years, and it now has a large car worth talking about: the Cadillac CT6. The CT6 offers the space and amenities we expect from a large luxury car, but it's also a fine handling sedan at a price that undercuts its main competition.
Despite measuring 8.5 inches longer than Cadillac's midsize CTS, the bigger CT6 weighs about the same. Compare it to some of its big German rivals, and it's about half a ton lighter. That lighter weight translates to quicker acceleration (even from the CT6's smallest engine, a turbo four-cylinder) and better agility in the corners. Some CT6 versions are surprisingly athletic, challenging their heavyweight German rivals for driver appeal, though ride quality isn't quite as smooth. The CT6 is an appealing package and a reminder that Cadillac still knows how to build big cars to which buyers can aspire.
Current Cadillac CT6
Cadillac sells five versions of the CT6: Base, Luxury, Premium Luxury, Platinum and Plug-In. Most options are bundled into packages, which become standard as you move up to more expensive versions. The Platinum gets all of the options offered on lower models plus an upgraded interior with massaging front seats. Options for top-of-the-line cars include adaptive cruise control, a night-vision camera and a Bose Panaray audio system with an astonishing 34 speakers. The CT6 Plug-In gets its own plug-in hybrid powertrain and comes with much of the equipment that is optional in the Luxury and Premium Luxury trims.
Most large luxury sedans offer six- or eight-cylinder engines, but thanks to its light weight, the Cadillac CT6 Base and Luxury models perform well with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that delivers 265 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Optional on these trims, and standard on Premium Luxury and Platinum models, is a 3.6-liter V6 with 335 horsepower. The top two trims can also be had with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that puts out 404 hp, enough to get the CT6 to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. That's not as quick as some of the CT6's turbo V8-powered rivals, but still a respectable performance. All engines use an eight-speed automatic that sends power to the rear wheels on four-cylinder models and all four wheels on V6 models.
The CT6 Plug-In pairs the turbo four-cylinder with two electric motors and rear-wheel drive, for a total system output of 335 hp. The large battery allows electric-only operation for up to 31 miles, and EPA-estimated fuel economy is 26 mpg combined using the gasoline powertrain and 62 miles per gallon equivalent with the battery charged. Other CT6 powertrains return fuel economy in the low to mid-20s.
Out on the open road, the CT6 is a real treat. It doesn't float like an old-school Cadillac; it also doesn't isolate you from the road like some of its German rivals. Road feel is excellent, though the ride is stiffer than we expect from a luxury car of this caliber. V6-powered CT6s have somewhat dull edges, but the optional Active Chassis package, which includes all-wheel steering and an adaptive suspension, sharpens them right up. A CT6 equipped this way is a world-class driver's car. We also like the base-model four-cylinder CT6 since the lighter engine emphasizes the CT6's featherweight feel and sharpens the steering. The Plug-In model has lots of torque thanks to its electrically augmented powertrain, and its regenerative brake system is strong enough to allow one-pedal driving.
No question, the CT6's interior is one of the best Cadillac cabins we've seen in years, though it's still not quite up to the standard of some of its rivals. We're not fond of Cadillac's CUE infotainment system, but the CT6 has a larger screen, which makes living with the system a bit easier. It has excellent front seats and the back seats are particularly generous, with a variety of comfort options, including heating, cooling, power adjustment, a massaging function, and a twin-screen rear-seat entertainment system. Unfortunately, the trunk is rather small at 15.3 cubic feet, and the Plug-In variant loses nearly 5 cubic feet due to its large battery.
Used Cadillac CT6 Models
The first-generation Cadillac CT6 made its debut for the 2016 model year. In 2017, the plug-in hybrid model was added to the lineup. The 2018 model year saw more technology improvements, including over-the-air updates and more automation for the automated parking system.