Cadillac CT6 — All-American luxury sedan

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The Cadillac CT6, currently the brand's flagship sedan, dwarfed by the mid-20th Century Cadillac behemoths — but large by today's standards — has a well-controlled, but slightly firm ride; a quiet interior befitting top-drawer luxury; and the latest in automobile technology.

It's very comfortable especially with the adaptive suspension, which irons out road imperfections and controls body movements. Like its predecessors, it remains a luxury sedan in the image of performance and comfort. It is not in the sports sedan class of a BMW 5-Series or an Audi A6. The CT6 seeks a different category of buyer.

The CT6 thankfully returns the biggest Cadillac to a rear-wheel drive configuration. And while traditionalists might cringe at the thought that the big V-8 is gone in favor of a twin-turbocharged V-6, note that this powerplant packs as much punch as any Caddy V-8 of the past. Also available for the gas mileage and budget minded is a turbocharged 4-cylinder and a smaller naturally aspired V-6. And all-wheel drive comes on the V-6 models giving the CT6 cold weather capability.

We drove the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 in the Premium Luxury edition. The 404-horsepower engine (400 pound-feet of torque) mated to an eight-speed automatic, is one of the quicker cars in its class. Our car with adaptive suspension offered a satisfying driving experience on the back road twists and turns exhibiting accurate steering and exceptional braking ability. In the go-fast department, the CT6 has been measured from 0-to-60 in 4.7 seconds and with a 13.2-second/106 mph time in the quarter mile.

The basic 3.6-liter V-6 is also a viable option making 335 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque. For comparison purposes it has been clocked at 5.2 seconds from 0-to-60. The 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder makes 265 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. If gas mileage is a consideration, the 4-cylinder is rated at 22 mpg city, 30 highway and 24 overall on premium gas. The 3.6-liter V-6 is EPA-rated at 18/27/21 on regular gas, and the twin-turbo V-6 with AWD is rated 18/26/21 on premium.

The interior is conservatively styled with high-end materials including leather and big swatches of wood. Cadillac's infotainment interface includes a large 10.2-inch touchscreen with big, easy-to-understand icons and an intuitive menu structure. Other controls including those on the steering wheel are easy to use. It also features an optional heated steering wheel that activates automatically.

As expected the CT6 is loaded with safety equipment especially in the higher trim levels. But the most intriguing feature and the most autonomous feature we've encountered in any car is the $5,000 optional Super Cruise package. It’s a hands-free driving technology for the highway that utilizes two advanced technology systems — a driver attention system and precision LiDAR map data — to ensure safe and confident vehicle operation.

We approached Super Cruise with some apprehension, but after driving with it for several miles we marveled at its ability to take stress off the driver, especially on a long tedious drive on an Interstate highway.

Engage Super Cruise with the adaptive cruise control button and the top section of the steering wheel turns blue to inform the driver it has been activated. When the light turns green, Super Cruise takes over the steering chores, no need to keep hands on the wheel. When it can no longer handle the steering or when it determines the driver is not paying attention, the steering wheel turns red and it hands steering back to the driver.

The driver attention system uses a small camera located on the top of the steering column that focuses exclusively on the driver and works with infrared lights to track head position to determine where the driver is looking whenever Super Cruise is in operation.

The system works on limited access highways that have been mapped into the system. That includes virtually all interstate roads and freeways, plus we discovered that the system even worked on new highway bypasses around our communities. As long as the painted lines on the highway were clear, Super Cruise worked flawlessly. And it doesn't take long to get used to having your hands in your lap and available for taking a drink of diet soda. If your driving life involves a lot of long-distance driving we think the option is worth the cost.

The CT6 comes in four trim levels — Base, Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum — starting at $55,090. The Platinum with virtually all optional features standard equipment starts at $91,685. Our Premium Luxury AWD test car with several options including Super Cruise carried a bottom line of $81,990.

Base price: $55,090; as driven, $81,990
Engine: 3.0-lier twin=turbo V-6
Horsepower: 404 @ 5,700 rpm
Torque: 400 pound-feet at 2,500 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: all wheel
Seating: 2/3
Wheelbase: 122.4 inches
Length: 204 inches
Curb weight: 4,085 pounds
Turning circle: 40 feet
Luggage capacity: 15.3 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 19.5 gallons (premium)
0-60: 4.7 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: BMW 7 Series, Lincoln Continental, Lexus LS 500

The Good
• Excellent performance with twin turbo engine
• Spacious interior
• Super Cruise

The Bad
• Not a good fit with base 4-cylinder engine

The Ugly
• Price goes up for many safety features