If Cadillac has any chance of surviving as a luxury brand on this Earth, they needed a flagship. The XTS is a rental queen that’s only here so they have something to sell to livery fleets that’s FWD. The CTS is nice, but too small to be a true flagship. Luckily for us, GM had an ace in its hand–the new Omega platform. Cadillac’s been teasing us since 2011 for a flagship model to launch, and now, that day has come. Welcome, and welcome all, to the new Cadillac CT6.
Cadillac’s Ciel and Elmiraj concepts previewed the CT6’s chassis design, and to some extent, what they might do under the hood. While the hybrid powertrain featured in the Ciel from 2011 didn’t materialize, the twin-turbo V6 that made a part of it has reappeared here, and will be most likely the launch engine. It’s a twin turbo, 3.0L unit pushing out 400HP, hooked up to GM’s eight-speed automatic transmission. GM’s turbocharged 2.0L I4, already serving duty in the ATS and CTS sedans, will be available as well. GM has mentioned that there will be a V8 (which, although some might disagree, is a requirement) option but has been quiet about power output and displacement.
Unlike the XTS and almost every Cadillac flagship that’s been pushed on the American populace since 1997, the new CT6 gets a RWD platform. Although the one on display was AWD, they made it clear that this is to be a rear-drive platform and nothing less. Hallelujah indeed. Cadillac’s added rear-wheel-steering too–a nice touch for those of us who hate maneuvering a car as big as this one.
Speaking of size, this is actually rather a lightweight. The CT6 is the size of a BMW 7-Series, but weighs only 3,700 pounds–that’s 300 pounds lighter than a base Ford F-150, and 200 pounds lighter than the said 7-Series. That’s no misprint and no small feat. Cadillac isn’t messing around anymore.
The interior is a big upgrade, even from a distance (as I wasn’t able to get a seat in one). The seats look positively American; they appear to be cushy like a Barcalounger (nothing else belongs in a Cadillac cruiser). Cadillac is offering cameras literally everywhere to cover the entire perimeter–but the interior has even more good things to offer. The rear seats offer an inordinately large amount of legroom at a glance, there’s a set of DVD screens, and a standard rear center console that folds away. Cadillac isn’t leaving a single stone un-turned on the inside, or on the outside.
I haven’t even gotten to the styling–the best part of the new CT6. Yesterday, Nick said GM isn’t positioning this as a 7-Series/S-Klasse/LS460 competitor, and I agree with him in that it will be competing with it. GM is pricing this at between 70 and 80 grand, which is right around those products, and the styling sells the CT6 as a true fighter.
It’s distinctly American, with squared shoulders, a massive (and imposing) face, heavy fender accenting, and a lithe profile that carries a lot of weight. This thing is a car that the Mafia will love to drive just as much as the executive of your advertising firm, or pharmacutical organization. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about someone pulling up in one of these outside a bar and seeing the rear window roll down with Tony Soprano sitting in the back seat, saying “C’mon, we’re goin’ for a ride.” Give me one in black on black. There’s no reason Cadillac can’t make this car a grand slam.
Memo to BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi: Go home and get ya f*ckin shinebox. Cadillac is back from doing hard time in Rikers Island, and they’re taking over your action.
-Albert S. Davis