The New Caddy on the Block

These days, if you picture a Cadillac flagship you probably think of hulking Platinum-edition Escalade SUVs.

   The last true flagship Caddy sedan was probably the mighty Fleetwood Brougham, circa. 1996, with its faux wire wheels and red velour interior that looked for all the world like the inside of a trombone case.

Cadillac CT6 - the new Cadillac flagship

   But all that changes this fall with the arrival of Cadillac’s brand new full-size luxo-sedan, the 2016 CT6.

   One of the hot shots of this month’s New York auto show, the CT6 is definitely full-sized, being some 8.5 inches longer than Caddy’s mid-size CTS.

   It’s also up there with the opposition, being just a couple of inches shorter than the long-wheelbase versions of BMW’s 7 Series and the class-leading Merc S-Class.

   While it may be big, it’s no heavyweight. That’s because Caddy’s mission with this car was to cut the fat. Don’t be surprised if you see a Jenny Craig special-edition CT6 at launch.

Cadillac CT6 - new American luxury Flagship vehicle

   Using lightweight aluminum for the body panels, structural bits and suspension, Caddy engineers have been able to shave a not-insignificant 218 pounds compared to a similar steel body.

   So when most rivals are tipping the scales at a portly 4,500-plus pounds, the CT6 weighs-in at a positively skinny 3,700 pounds. That’s impressive.

   What this dramatic weight loss does is allow Cadillac to go light with its new engine line-up. Right now there’s not a V8 to be seen.

   So the new base engine is GM’s puny 2.0-liter turbocharged in-line four that cranks out around 265 horsepower. A 2-liter four-cylinder in a Caddy flagship? Has Hell frozen over?

Interior, dash and center consul of the 2016 Cadillac CT6 - automotive review by Howard Walker

   Add to that a brace of all-new V6s. The first is a naturally-aspirated, direct-injection 3.6-liter delivering 335-hp. The second, and more-like-it, is a twin-turbo 3.0-liter pumping out 400 ponies.

   The thinking here is that with less weight to push around, fewer horses and torques are needed. But for the time being, Cadillac isn’t releasing any performance figures.

   Each of those engines will be hooked up to an eight-speed automatic, with the 2.0-liter model being the only one offered with rear-wheel drive. Everything else will come standard with all-wheel drive.

   But really, no V8?

   Don’t fire-off a complaint to Cadillac’s new Lower Manhattan HQ just yet. Word is that there’s already a high-performance CT6-V under development powered by a thundering twin-turbo V8 packing around 600-horsepower.

Cadillac CT6 - sneak peek of Cadillac's new flagship

   In the metal, this new Caddy flagship sedan is one handsome and elegant four-door. That said, it’s maybe a little more conservative than we were hoping for. Especially after salivating at the recent Elmiraj and Ciel show cars.

   But there are no disappointments when you slide behind the wheel and take in the serious arsenal of new driver-assistance technology.

   Everything from cameras that give a 360-degree-view around the car, to a 10.2-inch touchscreen with an updated (hopefully very updated) version of Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system, plus a full-field LCD rearview mirror.

   And, I for one, can’t wait to hear the outrageous new Bose Panaray stereo with its 34 speakers.

   No word on pricing yet, but we’re thinking a $70,000 starting price rising to $100,000-plus.

   Now if only they had given it a great name instead of another dumb alphabet soup badge. CT6 – wasn’t that who Jack Bauer worked for in 24?

rear seat of the new 2016 Cadillac CT6

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