The Cadillac CT6 Premium: Classic Luxury Meets Modernity

It’s odd to describe an $88,000 car as a bargain, but when talking about the top-spec Cadillac CT6 Premium, it’s hard to find another descriptor that feels right. Yes, the CT6 is Cadillac’s full-size, flagship sedan. And yes, it starts at a reasonable $54,000 and change. But paying that $88k price tag gets you an American luxury machine that’s loaded with everything. And we mean everything.

For less than the price of a base S-Class sedan, Cadillac will sell you a CT6 Platinum that can drive itself, see (and brake for) pedestrians in the dark, and features four heated and air-conditioned massage chairs. Four-zone climate control also comes in this package, as does individual high-definition video displays for the rear-seat passengers. A Bose Panaray 34-speaker sound system is included. Oh, and before we forget: the rear-view mirror itself doubles as an always-on video display for a rear-facing camera, giving you a wide, high-definition view of all that’s going on behind you.

All this stuff is bolted to a platform that’s unique as well. Though from the outside it looks similar to the front wheel drive based XTS, the Cadillac CT6 is actually the first car built atop General Motors’ new rear-wheel drive Omega architecture. This Omega architecture uses aluminum and other innovative metal to improve rigidity while reducing weight. All-aluminum body panels further keep weight down, making this Caddy a full 1,000 pounds lighter than that S-Class we talked about earlier.

So what does this mean in plain English? Well, it means that the Caddy CT6 offers a smooth, quiet ride.

Whereas Cadillac almost went overboard proving the Nürburgring-worthiness of its ATS and CTS sedans, the CT6 offers an unabashedly old-school take on luxury. Want a raucous exhaust note? Find another car. The CT6’s cabin is optimized for silence and keeps engine, wind, road, and tire noises outside where they belong. Its Active Chassis system, which features Magnetic Ride Control, keeps the ride feeling pillow soft while allowing the car to competently handle corners. No, this system doesn’t transform the large luxury car into a canyon carver, but it at least keeps the CT6 from scraping its door handles while turning.

Power is plentiful, but not in-your-face. Well, it is for this top-spec Caddy, at least. Pop open that hood and you’ll find an advanced twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 rated at 400 horsepower and 404 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive comes standard with this engine, as does an 8-speed automatic transmission. Smoothness is the name of the game here, so this powertrain helps the sedan glide effortlessly off the line, while still having enough power to turn that glide into a shove with just a slight tap of the right pedal. It’s not at all set up for spirited driving, but when things are this comfortable, who really cares?

And the cabin of the CT6 is truly delightful. Those heated and cooled front massage chairs feature 20-way adjustment and are wrapped in soft leather that’s stitched in such a way that it feels both modern and timeless. Carbon fibre interior deco trim provides a contrast to our black interior. Even Cadillac’s clunky CUE system gets an upgrade, with capacitive touch controls that feel more like actual buttons (compared to the cheap plastic sheet feeling still found on other current Cadillacs). That rearview mirror video display takes a lot of getting used to, though. It’s a clear display, but if you’ve ever read an ad for an HDTV and wondered what they were talking about when they referred to “refresh rates,” it will make a whole lot of sense here. There’s a lack of smoothness, and a feeling of delay, when using this rearview camera mirror display. That said, if you find that your CT6 Platinum makes you the de facto chauffeur of your group, turning it on means you’ll see what’s going on behind you — versus seeing your passengers indulge in yet another automated massage.

We can’t help but be enamoured with the Cadillac CT6. It offers just the right amount of that “old Cadillac” luxury feeling, while still offering up a fully modern driving experience. It’s a Caddy that glides and responds to steering input, and yeah, it gives you a massage. Between cars like this and the new models coming from Lincoln, it’s safe to say that American luxury is back. And hell, American luxury is even a bit of a bargain.

Justin Kaehler
Justin Kaehler is a Los Angeles-based writer, photographer, and auto enthusiast who has been sharing his passion for cars for over 15 years.