A final look at Caddy's short-lived flagship
The 2019 Cadillac CT6 is living on borrowed time. But before General Motors discontinues it along with five other cars, we wanted to see what the updated luxury sedan has to offer with its new turbo-four base engine. Mostly unchanged since its introduction, the big Caddy is an alternative to the usual full-size luxury suspects such as the Lexus LS, but it’s priced like a midsize sedan. However, there’s more to an aspirational premium vehicle than value; it must distinguish itself, appealing to the heart as much as it does to the mind, especially in today’s crossover-obsessed world.
The first thing you’ll notice about the 2019 Cadillac CT6 is its massive footprint. Thankfully, the exterior dimensions translate well once you get inside. The cabin is airy with large windows, excellent visibility, and enough room for you to cross your legs in the rear seat, perfect for long stints on the road. Although there are many soft, squishy surfaces, there’s an equal number of components right out of the GM parts bin, such as the turn signal and wiper stalks, putting the CT6’s fit and finish a notch below cars like the Lexus LS and BMW 7 Series. Additionally, the dash layout is dated, and the gloss black plastic trim is a magnet for dust and fingerprints.
Cadillac’s CUE interface is better than its earlier iterations, but to operate the haptic feedback buttons, you’ll have to take your eyes off the road. Features you interact with frequently such as media, navigation, climate controls, and radio are integrated within the 10.2-inch touchscreen but require you to go into multiple submenus and lack redundancy. Thankfully, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are well integrated, and it only takes a step or two to change what’s playing via voice commands. An optional 34-speaker Bose Panaray audio system rounds out the multimedia experience, but like many Bose units, it’s bass-heavy and muddled at lower volumes.
At the track, the 2019 CT6 sprinted to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds and finished the quarter mile in 15.7 seconds at 89.2 mph. That’s 1.1 seconds slower than a 2017 model we tested to 60 mph and a second slower in the quarter mile. The culprit is GM’s new 2.0-liter turbo I-4, which is down 28 hp and 37 lb-ft of torque versus the outgoing unit. Power delivery is smooth, and turbo lag is minimal; however, the new engine is barely adequate for a 3,930-pound (1,783-kg) car like the CT6. The 10-speed automatic is also poorly calibrated; in typical GM fashion, it shifts quickly but immediately goes to the highest gear, preventing you from taking advantage of the engine’s midrange torque. Road test editor Chris Walton noted that the engine likes to short shift well below the engine’s 7,000-rpm redline and sounds labored when pushed hard. There is a fuel economy payoff, though; our friends at EQUA Real MPG achieved 23.5/38.5 mpg (10/6.1 L/100 km) city/highway during their tests. That’s a smidge lower in the city but significantly higher on the highway versus the EPA’s official 24/34 mpg (9.8/6.9 L/100 km) rating.
Like many of its competitors, the 2019 Cadillac CT6 prioritizes comfort. The ride is compliant even over broken pavement, and the cabin is well-isolated from exterior noise. Body control and handling are commendable for its size, and floatiness is minimal over road imperfections; steering, on the other hand, feels disconnected. The CT6 finished the figure-eight course in 26.6 seconds with a 0.67 g average and generated 0.86 g on the skidpad. Testing director Kim Reynolds noted that the car is balanced but defaults to understeer when pushed hard. Stopping from 60 mph took 120 feet with minimal fade resistance. However, Walton noted that the pedal felt “wooden then springy.” Both Reynolds and Walton also observed that the CT6 nose-dives excessively during hard braking.
A suite of active driver assists, which includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert, comes standard on the Premium Luxury trim and higher. Most of those systems work discreetly in the background with the exception of lane keeping assist, which ping-pongs you in your lane, and an oversensitive rear cross-traffic alert system. Super Cruise, a semi-autonomous driving feature, is available only on all-wheel-drive-equipped CT6s on the Premium Luxury and higher grades.
The Cadillac CT6 has all the virtues you expect out of a big, luxurious sedan: comfortable, quiet, and spacious. However, when you put the sum of its parts together, it feels generic. The Audi A8 oozes cutting-edge technology and the Kia K900 punches way above its sticker price. Those looking for a luxury sedan with American style can consider the Lincoln Continental, and the Jaguar XJ remains eye-catching despite its age, driving with the agility of a smaller vehicle. With the exception of Super Cruise and the CT6’s angular exterior design, it’s hard to distinguish the Cadillac from its competitive set.
|2019 Cadillac CT6 (Premium Luxury)|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$68,815|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||2.0L/237-hp/258-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,930 lb (50/50%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||204.0 x 74.0 x 57.9 in|
|0-60 MPH||7.5 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||15.7 sec @ 89.2 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||120 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.86 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.6 sec @ 0.67 g (avg)|
|REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB||23.5/38.5/28.5 mpg|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||24/34/28 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||140/99 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.70 lb/mile|