In 1981, Cadillac announced on the cover of their full-line brochure that they were "Answering today's needs with tomorrow's technology." While the needs of buyers in 2018 may be a tad different than those of buyers 37 years ago, the sentiment which backed up that statement is as fervent as ever at Cadillac House. For those who cast doubt on that claim, just sneak a glance at the 2018 CT6, Cadillac's flagship sedan.
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2018 Cadillac CT6 Overview
What's New for 2018
It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Super Cruise! For 2018, buyers can now equip their CT6 with Super Cruise, Cadillac's latest innovative example of tomorrow's technology. While the name might sound like marketing shtick, the handle is indeed apt: this is a system which offers fully autonomous freeway driving at speeds of up to 85 mph. Simply pick a lane and get up to speed, and once the Super Cruise icon appears on the dash, press the appropriate button on the steering wheel. That's it - the big Cadillac will then pilot itself along the highway while handling all braking, steering and acceleration duties as needed. Just don't try to read the paper or scroll through Facebook – the system demands drivers keep their eyes on the road, and will emit audible alerts along with seat vibrations to restore a driver's attention if it catches them looking away for too long. Still, Super Cruise is notable in that it is the first system from a legacy automaker that lets drivers keep their hands off the wheel as long as the system is in control.
Other than the availability of Super Cruise, there are no significant changes for 2018.
Choosing Your Cadillac CT6
Four trim levels abound for the CT6: Base, Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Platinum. Rear-wheel drive is standard on Base and Luxury trims, with all-wheel drive an option; the top two trims are exclusively all-wheel drive. Rear-drivers are powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four that makes 265 horsepower, while the AWD cars are upgraded to a 335-horse 3.6-liter V6. A twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 puts out 404 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, making it the closest thing to a hot-rod CT6, but only if you grab an all-wheel-drive CT6 Luxury, Premium Luxury, or Platinum.
That said, don't mistake this saloon for a CTS-V. First and foremost, this is a luxury car, and the options list speaks to that purpose without a stutter. Consider, for instance, the availability of a whopping 34-speaker Bose sound system, or the night-vision option that uses infrared technology to see objects beyond the illumination of the headlights. There is also the rear camera mirror that usurps the traditional rearview mirror with a wide-lens camera that eliminates blind spots, and the Platinum models boast 8-way power rear seats with 15 massage settings.
Nine paint colors and two interior hues are on offer, and numerous wheels ranging from 18 to 20 inches are available.
A car of this size and stature needs to move with some authority, and the 2.0-liter turbo is unlikely to give that impression. If one of the lower two trims catches your fancy, do not hesitate to upgrade to the 3.6-liter V6, whose 70 additional horses will give the CT6 more appropriate levels of thrust.
2018 Cadillac CT6 Review
The 2018 Cadillac CT6 serves as the brand's prestige sedan, the best it has to offer. Along with full-size luxury, the CT6 promises exceptional levels of craftsmanship, technology, and performance. It's a no-apologies, all-American alternative to the German stalwarts that have ruled this segment for so long.
In terms of price, the Premium Luxury trim sits in the middle of the CT6 lineup, but there's certainly nothing average about the level of equipment. Standard features include all-wheel drive, surround-view cameras with recorder, a 12-inch configurable gauge cluster, and a color head-up display. The rearview mirror can display streaming high-definition video captured by the rear camera. Major options are limited to Cadillac's Super Cruise autonomous driving system, a rear infotainment setup with dual displays, and a 34-speaker Bose Panaray sound system.
This high-end hardware is impressive, but isn't for every driver's taste or pocketbook. The Premium Luxury comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 engine. Cadillac also offers a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6, which provides a major boost in power without a mileage penalty. Some buyers will object to the lack of a V8 engine in a car like this, but the twin-turbo should satisfy even them.
- Model: 2018 Cadillac CT6 Premium Luxury
- Engine: 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6
- Output: 404 hp / 400 lb-ft
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
- Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
- Fuel Economy: 18 City / 26 Hwy
- Options: 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine ($4,000)
- Base Price: $66,290 (including a $995 destination charge)
- Best Value Price: $70,290
Although it's unabashedly large on the outside, the CT6 feels tight and nimble from behind the wheel. Liberal use of high-strength steel and aluminum results in a rigid body structure that's the lightest in this class. Even with all-wheel drive and the twin-turbo engine, the CT6 is a lean luxury car that holds the road just as well as some dedicated sport sedans. The electric power steering provides satisfying feedback, and the taut suspension prevents any hint of unwanted body motion.
The sprint from zero to 60 mph takes no more than five seconds, and the CT6 keeps plowing ahead until the driver backs off. The eight-speed automatic transmission works with the engine to provide bursts of power at any speed. The CT6 settle downs nicely on long stretches, relaxed but alert.
The CT6's well-proportioned body disguises just how big it really is. It's an imposing sedan defined by long, flat surfaces and crisp angles. The LED exterior lighting and cross-hatch grille identify it as a Cadillac, albeit a special one. Above all, the CT6 looks like an important car.
From a design standpoint, the CT6 is quieter on the inside, but just as confident. We appreciate the high functionality and clear layout, joined as they are by fine finishes and expert craftsmanship. The mood is restrained and thoroughly contemporary, which seems like the right approach for a luxury sedan that wants to be taken seriously.
The Best and Worst Things
Buyers expect vault-like build quality in this class, something that eluded past Cadillacs that attempted to compete on the world stage. The CT6 eliminates quality concerns once and for all. Buyers can be assured there are no short cuts or disappointments to be found. The CT6 really is what it claims to be.
As much as we like the CT6's handling, we wish it didn't come at the expense of comfort. The CT6 rides firmly for a luxury sedan, even on the softest driving mode.
Right For? Wrong For?
Buyers who prioritize performance over plushness will delight in the sheer athleticism of the CT6. The irony that it happens to be a big Cadillac makes it all the more entertaining to drive.
The CT6 isn't as serene as its size suggests. Buyers looking for the ultimate cruising experience will be better served by a more traditional, comfort-tuned luxury sedan.
The Bottom Line
As surprising as it is handsome, the 2018 Cadillac CT6 is really a driver's car wrapped in a finely tailored suit.