Cadillac launches new flagship, showcases future of the brand

I like to think I am a man of the people. That my musings here help you get a sense for the amazing cars I get to drive. I try to avoid jargon, or enthusiast lingo. Who really knows what fit and finish means? What about flagship? Yeah, I’m in the industry, and I struggle with those. So I try to avoid them. Be forewarned here: my tester this week will require me to at least use the term flagship. I’ll still avoid the talking about fit and finish. The 2016 Cadillac CT6 represents a lot for GM’s luxury brand.

It shows the way their design is going and represents their vision for the future. And, if all that is true, the future is bright for Cadillac.

The CT6 is Cadillac’s new flagship sedan. This means it’s their biggest, most luxurious offering within their sedan product line. But don’t be fooled when you hear big and Cadillac together. This isn’t your grandparents’ Cadillac.


2016-cadillac-ct6-026The CT6 does look long at first glance. It’s certainly bigger than the sleek and sexy CTS. The CT6 is 204 inches long. That is a throwback to the “boat”-like Cadillacs of yesteryear. But with the modern, stylized looks, there’s nothing throwback about the CT6. It has a bold exterior that combines aggressive styling with luxurious, timeless looks. The grille is big, and comes to an angled point. The head lights are attractive and with Intellibeam technology, they bend and twist to the road ahead at night. In fact, the CT6 may be one of the few cars on the road that looks better at night than in the daytime.


The CT6 has a versatile powertrain. There are three different engine options including a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo, a steady and predictable 3.6-liter V6 and the powerful turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. This was the one I drove and it was exhilarating. This engine, mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission makes 404 horsepower. This blows away the 265 hp of the four banger and the 335 hp of the big V6. I question why anyone would buy the bigger V6, with less power and worse fuel economy. To me, the CT6 should only be offered in the other two engines. The CT6 is certainly fast off the line, and the engine has a nice purr to it, but it’s still a refined engine. My tester even came with optional all-wheel drive which just made this CT6 such a pleasure to drive. It was everything you want a car to be: powerful, controlled, refined and fun.


2016-cadillac-ct6-047Inside, the CT6 is incredibly comfortable and also quite luxurious. It has that special feeling, without feeling too garish either. Despite all that power, road and engine noise is minimal thanks to soft touchpoints on the dashboard and door panels. The interior design of the CT6 feels vibrant and modern. There are plenty of niceties including a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled leather seats, and an impressive, panoramic sunroof.

There’s ample leg and shoulder room in the back seat. It would make for an excellent executive car with such a vast and comfortable back seat. The trunk is on the small side for a vehicle of this size. There is only 15.3 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk.

The infotainment system features the second generation of Cadillac’s CUE system. The first generation was impressive, but was cumbersome to maneuver. This one is much more intuitive, but features plenty of technology and smart phone integration, all on the 10.2-inch color touchscreen, that is showcased brilliantly on the center stack. The angle for the driver is just right and the touchscreen is quick to respond.


The CT6 is offered in four trim levels: Base, Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum. My tester was the Premium Luxury which upgrades to 20-inch alloy wheels and an advanced sound system. It comes with sensor technology that aids the driver in lane departure, crash avoidance, pedestrian detection and blind spot monitoring.

The base trim CT6 has an attractive starting price that can rival any of the German rivals and even some of the Japanese luxury sedans. The CT6 starts under $60,000. My tester though escalated the MSRP quickly to $67,570. With added features, my tester had a final price tag of $81,840, showing why it’s truly a flagship-type vehicle.


Fuel economy is average for the CT6. Not surprising, but the smallest engine gets the best fuel economy. The 2.0-liter has an EPA rating of 22 mpg/city and 31 mpg/highway. This is actually pretty good for a car of this size. My tester, with the optional AWD didn’t rate as well. The CT6 with the turbocharged V6 and AWD has an EPA rating of 18 mpg/city and 26 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of driving, I averaged just under 20 mpg (19.8 to be exact).

The brand new Cadillac CT6 may be close to ideal with the looks, size and performance you can ever expect from a large luxury sedan. It shows where Cadillac is heading with this and the rest of their product line.


2016 Cadillac CT6 Premium Luxury

Price/As tested price………………………. $67,570/$81,840

Mileage…………………………………… 18 mpg/city; 26 mpg/hwy

Engine……………………………………… 3.0-liter V6

Horsepower…………………………… 400 hp/404 lbs./ft.

Transmission……………………………Eight-speed automatic

Drive Wheels………………………….. All-wheel drive

Final Assembly Point……………… Detroit, Michigan

Jimmy Dinsmore
For several years Jimmy Dinsmore has reviewed new vehicles, offering up a unique look and an interesting voice in his weekly column. Jimmy looks at vehicles from the consumer’s point of view. Light on the technical jargon, and lacking the cynicism that pervades many other auto reviews, Driver’s Side treats each vehicle fairly, offering a light-hearted take. Email him at - and follow him on Twitter @driversside.