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2016 Cadillac CT6 First Look

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2015-04-01 Jonny Lieberman

2016 Cadillac CT6 © Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Cadillac CT6

You probably either A) saw the Super Bowl commercial in which Cadillac flashed a full frontal of the new CT6 or B) looked at a website — such as, say, ours — that posted up fairly grainy shots of said big Caddy sedan. Maybe you even experienced both. Either way, the wraps as well as the gloves are off Cadillac's newest luxury machine. Here's everything we know right now.

It's Big

The CT6 is a full-size RWD luxury sedan. How full-size? Wheelbase is a pretty good indicator of overall carriage. The CT6's wheelbase measures 122.4 inches. How does that compare to other cars? Well, Caddy's own CTS has a 114.6-inch wheelbase, and our 2014 Car of the Year is pretty big to begin with. Cadillac's XTS has a 111.7-inch wheelbase. Going outside the brand and looking at the competition, the Mercedes-Benz S550 has a 124.6-inch wheelbase. But before you go screaming at Cadillac for not being big enough, please note that the S550 we get in the States is actually the long-wheelbase S-Class, the V222. In most of the rest of the world you can purchase the regular W222, which rides on a 119.5-inch wheelbase. The wheelbase is the only exact measurement Cadillac will cop to (who knows why), but we have "preliminary estimates" for the other dimensions: 204-inch length, 74-inch width, and a very specific 57.9 inches tall. The S-Class that we Yanks can buy? 206.5 x 74.8 x 58.9.

2016 Cadillac CT6 First Look

2016 Cadillac CT6 © Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Cadillac CT6

Here's how the CT6 stacks up to the rest of the competition in terms of measurements.

BMW 7 Series
Wheelbase (Short): 120.9
Wheelbase (Long): 126.4
Length (Short): 199.8
Length (Long): 205.3
Width: 74.9
Height: 58.2

Audi A8
Wheelbase (Short): 117.8
Wheelbase (Long): 122.9
Length (Short): 202.0
Length (Long): 207.4
Width: 76.7
Height : 57.5

Jaguar XJ
Wheelbase (Short): 119.4
Wheelbase (Long): 124.3
Length (Short): 201.7
Length (Long): 206.6
Width: 74.6
Height: 57.0

Lexus LS
Wheelbase (Short): 116.9
Wheelbase (Long): 121.7
Length (Short): 199.2
Length (Long): 203.9
Width: 73.8
Height: 58.3

2016 Cadillac CT6 © Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Cadillac CT6

As you can gather, the CT6 is properly sized to compete with big, heavyweight sedans the world over. Except for one thing: It's much more of a middleweight. This is another preliminary estimate, but our sources at Cadillac tell us that the CT6 will weigh a silly-svelte 3,700 pounds. Once more: 3,700 pounds! Every competitor listed above clocks in at more than two tons. The only luxo-barge even close to Cadillac's claimed weight is the aluminum-intensive Jag XJ (3,900 or so claimed for the short wheelbase with a puny engine), but last time we tested an XJL (the long-wheelbase model) with a supercharged 5.0-liter V-8, that car weighed 4,355 pounds. If the CT6 is close to Cadillac's 3,700-pound claim, then the newly patriated lower Manhattan brand has what the boys and gals from biz school call a unique selling proposition.

How so light? Sophisticated materials and construction. Cadillac's outspoken majordomo Johan de Nysschen refers to the CT6's assembly process as "the rocket science of automobile construction and manufacturing." A bold claim, no doubt. Following GM's dedication to Grecian lettering, the CT6 rides on an all-new platform called Omega that on paper, at least, sounds pretty slick. Thirteen separate metals and alloys go into it. The bulk of the structure is lightweight aluminum, but Cadillac uses steel and high-strength steel "where it makes sense." Specifically that means in the passenger safety cell and the floor pan to act as sound-deadening material. Let's not overlook the methods required to join all the parts together. They include aluminum spot-welding, laser welding, flow drill fasteners, and self-piercing rivets. Oh, and let us not forget 581 feet of glue. Sorry, "advanced structural adhesives." Cadillac is (of course) claiming world-class strength, performance, and efficiency as a result of how great Omega is.

New Engines

2016 Cadillac tech © Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Cadillac tech

Fancy bones are of no use unless you have muscles to move 'em around. Preferably strong muscles. The CT6 debuts with an all-new 3.0-liter, twin-turbo V-6 that is good for at least 400 horsepower as well as 400 lb-ft of torque. For you devotees of power density, that's more than 133 hp per liter. Still, I'd like to point out that the new engine creates less power and torque than the V-8s offered by the competition, save for the Lexus. Moreover, the 3.6-liter twin-turbo in the CTS Vsport makes 420 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque. The same motor in the ATS-V is good for 464 hp and 444 lb-ft of torque. True, the Cadillac CT6 should weigh considerably less than the competition. But you don't win arguments at the 19th hole by saying, "Yeah, but it's lighter." Will there be a V — or even a Vsport — version of the CT6? You can bet good money that there will be a CT6-V in about two years' time probably making 600 hp/torque or more. Seems to me, however, that Cadillac's going to need something in the 500-pony range to really be competitive/slightly better than competitive. The LS7 would work quite well, hint, hint.

Sticking with the engine, the new V-6 features cylinder deactivation for even better efficiency. The new 3.0TT (as Cadillac is calling it) is the CT6's top engine. There are two other powerplants available: GM's 2.0-liter, turbo I-4 good for 265 hp and an all-new, please-don't-confuse-it-with-the-old-one, 3.6-liter, naturally aspirated V-6 with 335 hp. No matter the motivator, power flows to the rear wheels through an all-new eight-speed transmission. But the CT6 isn't simply RWD, as there's an "Active-On-Demand" all-wheel-drive system composed of a continuously variable clutch that can route up to 959 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels. Why on earth you would ever want to do that, I don't know, but I think it's just Cadillac engineering's way of bragging how stout the transfer case is. Sorta like when AMG says its engine can make 10 billion torques (or whatever), but it has to limit it to 738 lb-ft to preserve the transmission. In addition to AWD, steering takes place at all four wheels. The suspension is made up of Caddy's familiar Magnetic Ride Control.

High-Def + Leather

2016 Cadillac CT6 © Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Cadillac CT6

The CT6 looks to be pretty high-tech, too. The highlights include a 10.2-inch screen with 1280 x 720 HD resolution. It's still CUE (hopefully it's CUE 2.0), but the touchscreen is supposed to work better and twice as fast. There's also a little trackpad so you can enter addresses/do whatever without lifting your forearm off the armrest, just like in an A8 or S-Class. If you look up, you'll see an additional video screen where you'd normally see a rearview mirror. This is said to increase rearward visibility fourfold. From what we know of the system, it reverts back to being a plain old mirror at the flip a switch. In addition to the rearview camera, there's a 360-degree camera view displayed on the CUE screen. Night vision, pedestrian safety mitigation, advanced parking with auto-braking, and 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hot spot and wireless phone charging are also part of the CT6 package.

The CT6 is stuffed with luxury. Leather, wood, and carbon fiber are part of the interior mix. Let's not forget LED lighting, either. The rear seats recline, offer five massage modes, are heated and cooled, and contain connectivity and recharging options such as HDMI and USB. There are two 10-inch screens that retract into the front seatbacks. I'm actually most curious about the 34-speaker Bose Panaray stereo system. Well, most curious in terms of sitting in the back seat. What I'm actually most curious about is how the CT6 drives. For that, we're all going to have to wait about six months.

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