– Los Angeles, California
The top end of the luxury segment is increasingly flush with more efficient hybrid options, and Cadillac is joining the game with its own offering, the 2017 CT6 Plug-In. The hybrid variant of Caddy’s top model offers the automaker a competitive foot in the niche, fullsize, plush eco-cruiser segment that now includes plug-in hybrid versions of the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and Porsche Panamera.
Largely a technology play, the CT6 Plug-In shows an American company can bring its own brand of electrically motivated hybrid technology to rival competitors from Germany and Japan. The 2.0E pairs Cadillac’s 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with an electric motor and battery pack, with total output rated at 335 horsepower, 432 pound-feet of torque, and an EPA-rated 62 MPGe.
Distinct styling. If the segment had a “which one of these is not like the others?” the answer would be clear. Sleek, modern, and immediately identifiable as a Cadillac, the CT6 Plug-In shares the same captivating lines as the non-hybrid version. It also looks fantastic on the the road, especially in motion. Amid a sea of luxe German and exotic cars during my drive in Los Angeles, Caddy’s new hybrid garnered a noteworthy share of glances. Slight visual cues such as the inscription door sills, hybrid badge, and blue “E” on the 2.0E trunk badge let people know there’s an electric motor on board as well. A unique gauge cluster and power flow screen also help differentiate the interior.
Price. Simply put, the 2017 Cadillac CT6 Plug-In is markedly less pricey than the competitive set. Available in only one well-equipped trim, the hybrid starts at $75,095 before delivery, which is about $15-25k below the starting prices for the German full-size hybrids from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche – and considerably less than how pricey the Germans get if you equip them comparably. The CT6 Plug-In comes with a standard panoramic sunroof, rear-seat entertainment screens, and a driver assistance package that includes Night Vision. When the Volvo S90 T8 Plug-In arrives, it should be more similarly priced to the electrified CT6.
Comfort. Even in Sport, the CT6 Plug-In is relatively quiet, and in Tour mode there’s an exceptionally little amount of road, wind, or engine noise. The suspension is competent over a variety of asphalt conditions, and overall the ride is smooth. The one exception is a slight lag when you depress the throttle while in motion, which is on account of the gasoline engine trying to match the ‘revs’ of the electric motor. No matter where you’re sitting in the car, you’ll be comfortable, and those in the rear will find an abundance of leg and knee room, a factor that will be especially important in this car’s key market of China, where people often prefer to be chauffeured.
Not as luxurious. Cadillac’s green machine is priced below the German competition, but it’s also not quite as luxurious as S550e, nor does it handle quite like the BMW 740e xDrive. Small touches such as the pillow-top headrests and ambient lighting of Mercedes-Benz’s hybridized flagship are noticeably missing.
Size matters. Luxury buyers often still equate cylinder count with premium feel. The CT6 Plug-In plays in a unique segment, one that champions the ultimate in luxury, but also offers a slightly less-guilty conscience in regards to environmental impact. Cadillac points out that it can pull the similar 0-60 times as competitors with fewer cylinders, but competitors can also point out they achieve similar efficiency ratings with a bigger block. Attitudes are certainly changing, but in this luxe sedan segment, egos are as outstretched as wheelbases.
2017 CADILLAC CT6 PLUG-IN