We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Cadillac has historically been measured by its large vehicles, as they are a cornerstone of its heritage. Without a world-class large car, Cadillac would be an awful lot like New York City without any of its famous pizza, for example. Hard to even imagine, yet the American luxury brand has somehow soldiered on for decades without a class-leading full-size sedan. In the process, Cadillac has seemed to have lost the “Standard of the World” equity it once had.
Today, that trend appears to have taken an about-face with the debut of the 2016 Cadillac CT6.
The 2016 Cadillac CT6 offers a fresh take on the full-size segment, promising driving characteristics of vehicles much smaller, while at the same time showcasing breakthrough technologies one might expect from vehicles in this segment. Word is that the Cadillac CT6 is actually a full half-ton lighter than the Mercedes-Benz S-Class thanks to the mixed material usage of aluminum and high-strength steel being pioneered by the Omega platform. In fact, the new CT6 is supposedly lighter than the smaller CTS, which is already one of the lightest vehicles in its class. Chassis innovations include:
- 13 high-pressure aluminum castings in the body structure, which creates a lighter, stiffer structure, while also achieving what’s described as “bank vault” levels of quietness.
- An optional Active Chassis System, which features rear-wheel-steering, allowing for greater low-speed agility and high-speed stability. For example, in parking lots, the turning circle is only 37 feet (11.4 m), comparable with the CTS, which has a 114.6-inch wheelbase, while the CT6 manages to have a 122.4-inch wheelbase.
- Active-on-demand all-wheel drive featuring a continuously variable clutch that infinitely varies power delivery to the front wheels – up to 959 lb-ft (1,300 Nm) – to make the most of handling and stability in all conditions.
- Standard all-wheel-drive on all CT6 six-cylinder models. Cadillac says that its two-gear transfer case AWD system enables greater fuel economy than conventional fixed-torque AWD systems.
- Advanced performance chassis system designed to deliver an engaging driving experience – with segment-best ride, handling and isolation qualities – through the use of Active Rear Steer, Magnetic Ride Control and selectable drive modes.
- Auto Vehicle Hold – a driver-selectable feature that prevents forward/rearward vehicle creep when the driver’s foot is off the brake. It reduces fatigue during heavy stop-and-go traffic and improves vehicle control on steep grades.
As for some of the technologies, Cadillac hasn’t been shy in talking about them. Even from a few years ago, we knew that Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving technology would be coming to a Cadillac flagship. But more recently, Cadillac revealed the ThruView camera-based rearview mirror system, allowing for better visibility than just using the rearview mirror alone. There’s also the segment-exclusive Bose 34-speaker sound system, and more, including:
- True 360-degree camera view around the vehicle, displayed via the CUE screen.
- Industry-first surround-view video recording system that can record front and rear views while driving, and 360 degrees of recording if the vehicle’s security system is activated.
- Enhanced Night Vision that helps identify people, large animals and more via heat signatures on a display in the driver information center. Anybody that’s ever come across a deer on the highway can appreciate this.
- New Advanced Park Assist integrates automatic braking into automatic parking.
- New Pedestrian Collision Mitigation technology provides pedestrian detection indications, alerts and automatic braking to avoid collisions.
- Large, 10.2-inch-diagonal CUE interface screen with 1280 x 720 HD resolution and console mounted touchpad, while promising a more responsive user interface, while being more ergonomically friendly.
- Wireless phone charging and OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot.
The interior also has no shortage of indulgences, including:
- 40.4 inches (1027 mm) of rear legroom and segment-best interior storage, including 2.2L center console storage volume.
- quad-zone climate control.
- hands-free power decklid operation.
- 10-inch-diagonal rear-seat entertainment screens that retract into the front seatbacks, along with connectivity for brought-in devices.
- Opus leather, five massage programs, reclining rear seats and Cadillac’s first application of woven-in-seat heating elements. We told you it would.
At launch, the rear-wheel-drive-based Cadillac CT6 will offer three engines: the ubiquitous 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder LTG, the all-new naturally aspirated 3.6L LGX with 335 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque, and a twin-turbo 3.0L LGW V6 with a segment-best (for a V6) 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque that will exclusively be available in all-wheel-drive CT6 models. All of which are mated to eight-speed transmissions, while the V6 engines There won’t be any hybrid variants or V8 engines out of the gate, but you can do more than just expect them in the future
For now, all we can say is: welcome back to the full-size game, Cadillac. It hasn’t been the same without you.