2016 Cadillac CT6 PHEV: The Futuristic Flagship Returns to its Roots

Written By: EightySix

Shanghai Auto Show 2015

2016 Cadillac CT6

Remember the Cadillac of way back? Synonymous with authoritative power, luxurious interiors, generous legroom, patio-sized hoods and trunks big enough for all your enemies? Cadillac is once again in familiar waters, sort of.

Cadillac began leaning away from its trademark style and fell completely in the mud with the 1982-88 Cimarron. It was a front-wheel drive four-cylinder re-badged Pontiac Sunbird that became the classic example of why not to rebadge an economy car as a luxury one.

With the CT6, Cadillac is coming back to what it does best: big luxury cars with all the best touches.

Bringing Chunky Back

The 122.4 wheelbase of the new CT6 returns to the realm of the classic Fleetwoods, Broughams and de Villes. The lines are clean and strong, confidently refusing excess ornamentation. Cadillac isn't trying to build a Lamborghini, like the Cien concept was suggesting. This is a solid, purposeful car.

But don't call it heavy. Copious amounts of aluminum bonded with laser welding and aviation-grade adhesives give it a very light and stiff frame. Weight was trimmed everywhere possible, resulting in a standard CT6 with a curb weight of under 3700 pounds. Expect the batteries and electric motors to add some weight, but the PHEV may weigh no more than the 4000 pound ELR while being a foot and a half longer.

The Jumbo Volt?

The CT6 shares a lot with the Chevy Volt and the derivative Cadillac ELR. The 18.4 kWh battery is the same. It borrows the Regen on Demand system. The CT6 is a result of the Voltec research that birthed the Volt.

Not all the details have been released, but the main power-train differences are certainly the motors. While the Volt and ELR use 1.5 and 1.4 liter four-cylinders to extend the range of their electric motors, the CT6 brings a 2.0 liter turbo four. It delivers 335 horsepower and 432 pound-feet of torque, as opposed to 149/273 for the Volt and 181/295 for the ELR. The CT6 is power first and economy second, rather than the other way around.

Estimated electric range for the CT6 is 37 miles. GM says the pair of electric motors are "exclusively designed" and utilize a new rear wheel electric variable transmission. Their goal is smooth, seamless performance from the three motor setup. Performance numbers are not public, but the gas-only CT6 with the 2.0 turbo power-plant promises a 6.5 second 0-60. Getting the best of electric and gas power should produce more quickness.

Luxury-Class Tech

The CT6 brings enough gadgets to qualify as a luxury car. A 34 speaker Bose audio system. Night vision. A center mounted touchpad controlling a 10.2" touch-screen. Seats with massage and individual climate control.

One of the coolest parts is the 360 degree camera system. It will activate and record when the security system is triggered. It can record while you're driving so you can play back your escapades. The rearview mirror can also project an HD view unobstructed by pillars and passengers. Bye-bye blind-spots.

Welcome Back

Cadillac has returned to its roots as an executive-grade full-sized luxury sedan builder. Yet it's done it without the V8 consumption. The new CT6 has the presence, comfort, style and power of an old-school Caddy while using modern PHEV technology to run cleaner.

Cadillac has not released a price or a launch date yet, but expect the CT6 to sell for over $70,000. The more powerful Mercedes-Benz S550 PHEV costs $20k more with only 20 miles of electric range.

Will the Cadillac compete? One thing's for certain, the ancient land yacht has finally been scuttled.