After about 500 miles behind the wheel of this Cadillac CT6 I can say that it’s not quite plush enough to be a ‘big Cadillac,’ and it’s not quite quick/agile enough to be a sporty Cadillac; it’s just pretty good in all facets.
The twin-turbo V6 is smooth and powerful. This is a big car so it doesn’t stun with its speed, but jumping between 70 and 87 mph to pass slower traffic is easy. I didn’t get pinched off in the slow lane by faster drivers. There’s not a ton of sound to it either, so don’t expect that. I did notice a little steering wheel vibration at 85 or so, I checked the tires and didn’t see anything. I wonder if anyone else will feel that.
The stop-start system is one of the least intrusive I’ve experienced on a V6, which meant I never turned it off in anger. I do that about 75 percent of the time — take that EPA fuel mileage!
The eight-speed automatic hunts a little bit if you’re hesitant with the throttle but shifts are normally smooth and quick. Sometimes you give it a little more throttle to increase thrust, but instead it shifts and you lose a little. Hard two, three or four downshifts at a time aren’t a problem though.
Throttle weight and sensitivity are good, helping the CT6 take off both fast and clean, without snapping your neck back on the leather-wrapped headrest. The brakes are spectacular: stiff pedal, little movement, feel like they could haul this thing down from 100 mph to 0 in seconds.
I love that the CT6 is rear-wheel based all-wheel drive, as opposed to the Lincoln Continental (front-wheel based, all-wheel drive) I’m driving this week, but I had no weather to speak of, so I can’t really comment. I know you can flatten the pedal from a dead stop with no wheelspin.
From the driver’s seat, I like the adjustable head-up display that shows your speed and other information in the dash. It is height- and brightness-adjustable. I want mine to be just barely visible in the road ahead. Staying on tech, the radar-equipped cruise control still leaves a little too much space in between you and the car ahead, plenty for two or three cars to slip in, slowing you down even more. Conversely, the collision avoidance brake warning doesn’t go off until absolutely necessary; some systems are tuned way too sensitively and are more annoying than anything. I loved the massaging seats, seat and wheel heat and automatic start. Is it too much to ask that every car has these? Probably.
Inside, I like the dash and instrument cluster but the combination of wood and carbon fiber styling never looks right to me. Apple CarPlay worked perfectly as did the navigation; my big complaint though, was that the 12-volt power source was all the way in the back seat. The radar detector I was testing necessitated a cord stretched through the passenger compartment that looked like it was about to snap back at any moment. I’m sure that’s not a priority for Cadillac, considering if it was a phone that was charging it wouldn’t need to be attached to the windshield.
This CT6 is $90K; that’s a helluva lot of money for a car that’s smaller than the S-Class by a touch, and it feels way smaller than the Hyundai G90, though it’s about the same size. The G90 undercuts it by about $20,000 too. I suppose this Caddy undercuts the S-Class, but when you get in an S-Class, I think it feels like $90K. I don’t think this Cadillac does that.
— Jake Lingeman, road test editor.
Getting out of the new Continental and directly into the CT6 was instructive. This car is firmer, seems better built (especially inside) and looks to have more rear-seat room. I was all set to prattle on about how I liked this Caddy’s sportiness better than the Lincoln’s soft/smoothness. There’s a solidity here the Lincoln simply lacks. Then I saw the CT6 wears a sticker price almost $10K higher so hmmmm. Might have to rethink.
Lingeman sums up the Cadillac well: Not really soft and smooth enough to be a big Cadillac, not quite fast enough to be a sporty Cadillac. Last time I drove a CT6 I asked what its purpose was, and I ask again. On the other hand there’s nothing wrong with a tweener.
I do think the car is good looking, and yes, the twin-turbo V6 is smooth and powerful and the chassis super-responsive especially considering how big it is. The car is way sharper than you’d guess just by looking at its size, from steering response to low body roll to excellent brakes. It’s quiet on the highway (actually, its freeway quietness is particularly impressive) and sweeps through corners at confidence-inspiring speeds, even the bumpyish ones.
Back in May we wrote that “since the market is trending away from sedans to crossovers, perhaps the best big Cadillac ever won’t sell.”
Then we said “With fewer than 700 sales in May, it’s got nowhere to go but up.”
That turns out not to be true: Cadillac only sold 634 in June.
–Wes Raynal, editor