Review: 2016 Cadillac CT6 3.6
– Cleveland, Ohio
That may sound like an insult, but there’s demand in the U.S. for a big, comfortable, and competent American luxury car. Lincoln isn’t making one anymore since the Town Car died (though will build again soon with the new Continental), but the CT6, particularly this middle child with its born-from-common-roots 3.6-liter V6, could fit the bill. While I don’t recommend parking this version of Cadillac’s range-topping luxury sedan in your driveway (spring for the 404-horsepower, biturbo 3.0-liter V6 model instead), I sure wouldn’t mind being picked up from the airport in one.
- This CT6 comes with an abundance of tech, which makes you feel you’re getting your money’s worth in a luxury car at this price level. The long list includes highlights like all-digital gauges, a large 10.2-inch capacitive touchscreen, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, active rear-wheel steering, and a $3,700 Bose Panaray sound system with 34 speakers. There’s no perfume atomiser like in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but the CT6 has some exclusive features too…
- The rear camera mirror that gives you a 300-percent-larger field of view compared to the standard rearview mirror is a Cadillac exclusive – for now – and I’d pick it over pumping perfume into the cabin any day. The display features an ultra-crisp resolution and high frame rate so it feels like you’re looking at the real world reflected back at you, and it’s bright so objects and people stand out when they’re in motion. I did experience some eye fatigue using it all the time, but the standard rearview mirror remains when you turn the camera off.
- I felt as comfortable in the CT6 as I ever have in any of its more expensive European rivals. The leather inside feels premium and every place you rest your parts is padded. The area where my right knee rests against the center console was particularly stuffed; it felt like a down pillow for my patella.
- This 335-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 engine isn’t quite good enough for this car. It doesn’t feel very powerful, it’s not particularly efficient, and it’s not as refined (in terms of both noise and vibrations) as a luxury-car engine should be. It’s the same V6 found in many other Cadillacs, as well as the Camaro, Buick LaCrosse, and GMC Acadia, which is perhaps why it feels a grade cheaper than I expect in a car that just crests $75K. It’s probably the engine Cadillac expects limo services and fleet operators will pick.
- This CT6 comes with an optional Active Chassis Package that includes General Motors’ Magnetic Ride Control suspension and an active rear-steering system, but neither are worth their $3,300 price tag. The magnetic suspension does an amazing job on sports cars like the Corvette and Camaro, where it can switch from a comfortable ride to very firm control with the flick of a switch (or automatically), but its effects are muted almost to the point of being invisible on the CT6. The sport setting here just isn’t hardcore enough to show off what this amazing hardware can do. And if the active rear-steering has any effect on how the CT6 drives, I never felt it during my week driving one. To be fair, that’s the modus operandi of systems like this, but it makes me wonder why they’re worth an extra nickel to begin with.
- This is the first time Cadillac has used a large haptic touchpad on the center console to control its CUE infotainment system, and it’s pretty bad. It’s way less accurate and trickier to control compared to a dial, which is what every German competitor offers. It feels more like the mouse-based system that Lexus uses, and that’s bad company to be in when it comes to user interface designs. It’s a shame because this latest version of Cadillac’s CUE system is the best it’s been and works fine using the touchscreen on the dash.
Photos: John Neff / Motor1.com