2019 Cadillac CT6 Expert Review

Editor's Overview

The 2019 Cadillac CT6 is the flagship sedan from the American luxury brand, meant to take on rivals like the BMW 7 Series and Audi A8. It has some impressive features and a lower price than rivals, but this model’s future is uncertain at best after next year’s planned closure of the factory where it’s made.

You'll Like The 2019 Cadillac CT6 If...

The CT6 offers a lot of car for the money, costing significantly less than flagship sedans from European and Japanese luxury brands. Its optional Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system is impressive, and options such as massaging seats offer a blissful travel experience. Style-wise, it looks nothing like your Daddy’s Caddy.

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Beyond the uncertainty of the CT6’s future, the Cadillac brand in general still lacks the panache and prestige that come with Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Lexus. Where its rivals begin with a V6 and readily offer V8s or even a V12, the CT6 starts at a 4-cylinder and only goes to a V6 for all but the limited-run CT6-V.

What's New

All CT6 models get a 10-speed automatic transmission for 2019, up from the previous 8-speed. Though this model’s future is hazy, there is a forthcoming CT6-V high-performance variant and the only model to offer a V8. Reservations for this limited-run version have already sold out. As of this writing, there is no 2019 CT6 plug-in hybrid model.

Interior Features

Cadillac’s CT6 offers a uniquely styled interior, distinct from its German and Japanese rivals, yet boasting the tasteful blend of wood, fine leather and metallic and carbon-fiber trim expected in a car in this class. The 8.0-inch configurable instrument cluster on lower-end models gets replaced by a 12-inch screen in Premium Luxury and Platinum models, which combines with the standard 10.2-inch CUE touch-screen infotainment system to give the CT6 an oh-so-modern "glass cockpit." The supportive and comfortable front seats are matched by an equally accommodating rear bench. For further indulgence of rear-seat passengers, the CT6 offers an "executive" option, complete with recline and massage functions.

Exterior Features

The 2019 CT6 has crisp, angular lines that look stylish and clean. They also do a good job managing this Cadillac’s proportions. At 205.8 inches in length, this is one big car. But unlike, say, the XTS, the CT6’s chiseled design and low-slung style mostly work. About the only polarizing elements with which our eyes find fault are the front light housings, in which the long LED strip appears to be dripping like an illuminated tear down the sides and into the fender. Beyond model-specific 18-inch, 19-inch and 20-inch alloy wheels, trims are largely differentiated by detail touches like front cornering lights and illuminated door handles.

Driving Impressions

Despite its large size, the 2019 CT6 is respectably light. That, combined with its rigid structure and athletic suspension, makes the CT6 feel surprisingly agile for its size. This isn’t the floaty barge of past Cadillacs. The base 4-cylinder engine musters only 237 horsepower, which is low for a full-size executive sedan like the CT6. The more recommendable V6 engines grant better acceleration and passing power, and also come standard with all-wheel drive, a good asset for extra grip. If you opt for the twin-turbo V6, you’ll get a robust 404 horsepower and a 0-60-mph time in as little as 5.3 seconds. That’s quick, but it still lags a BMW 7 Series. Opt for the Active Chassis Package with 4-wheel steering, and you’ll get a car equally at home carving curves as it is on a freeway. All models use a smooth and sophisticated new 10-speed automatic transmission. With a comfortable ride and the outstanding Panaray sound system, the Cadillac CT6 proves its luxury game is strong. Still, the CT6’s best driving trick is its ability to do much of the job itself. In one trip from L.A. to Vegas and back using the optional Super Cruise feature, we logged over 500 miles of mostly hands-free driving, with the CT6 taking care of acceleration, braking and steering. 

Pricing Notes

The 2019 Cadillac CT6 sedan has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $50,495, before destination charges, for a base 4-cylinder model. Stepping up to the more recommendable Premium Luxury trim with a V6 and added features increases that price to just over $58,000. From there, costs continue to climb rapidly, with the twin-turbo Sport variant slotting in above $66,000 and the top-line Platinum model at nearly $87,000. At its starting price, the CT6 undercuts European luxury rivals like the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Other models to consider are the Genesis G80, starting under $70,000 and the Lexus LS at around $75,000. The Jaguar XJ also starts in the mid-$70K mark. Though not quite as large, the opulent Volvo S90 begins just over $47,000 and brings a wealth of features. Before buying your large luxury sedan, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. The Cadillac CT6’s resale value is expected to be about average, still trailing rivals such as the Lexus.

Notable Equipment

The least expensive Cadillac CT6, called the Luxury trim, comes with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine driving the rear wheels. It also includes leather upholstery, wood trim and 14-way-power front seats. The newest version of Cadillac's CUE infotainment system includes an 8-speaker Bose audio system, active noise cancellation and OnStar with 4G LTE. More recommendable is the Premium Luxury trim. It adds a V6 and all-wheel drive, 16-way power-operated and heated front seats, sunroof, automatic parking-assist system, and the important Driver Awareness Package. This last feature, which is optional on base trims, bundles blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and other safety features.

Notable Options

Continuing the trim climb, Cadillac CT6 Sport trims include the powerful twin-turbo V6 engine, sport grille and other more aggressive aesthetics, and carbon-fiber interior trim. At the top, the CT6 Platinum also gets the twin-turbo V6, plus magnetic ride control, rear-wheel steering, adaptive cruise control, rear automatic emergency braking, and a bevy of creature comforts and features that are optional on other models. Among them are quad-zone climate control, heated/ventilated and massaging front and rear seats, Super Cruise, a night-vision system, and the exquisite 34-speaker Bose Panaray audio system.

Favorite Features

BOSE PANARAY AUDIO SYSTEM
If you consider yourself an audiophile, a music enthusiast, or if you just have functioning ears, you'll appreciate the Bose Panaray audio system. Bose places 34 small speakers strategically through the cabin, and uses a processor from its high-end home-entertainment systems for crisp highs, deep bass and seemingly limitless volume.

SUPER CRUISE
Easily a headline feature, this option starting on Premium Luxury trims feels like a glimpse of the future. On highways it allows you to take your hands off the wheel and feet off the pedals while the CT6 does the driving. If you are a road warrior or extreme commuter, this feature alone makes the CT6 worth consideration.

Under the Hood

You have three main engine choices for the 2019 Cadillac CT6. Base models use a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder that is the only rear-wheel-drive (RWD) variant of the CT6. The other choices are a 3.6-liter naturally aspirated (non-turbo) V6, or a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6. The V6 variants are all-wheel drive (AWD), and all models use a new 10-speed automatic transmission. As of now, the formerly available plug-in hybrid CT6 isn’t available for 2019. The limited-edition, already-sold-out Cadillac CT6-V is the only model to offer a V8, and it looks like a fierce one. All-new and handmade at the same Bowling Green, Kentucky, factory where the Chevrolet Corvette is made, this 4.2-liter twin-turbo V8 is called Blackwing and makes an estimated 550 horsepower and a thunderous 627 lb-ft of torque. It will be interesting to see what other future General Motors vehicles get this engine.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
237 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 mpg

3.6-liter V6
335 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
284 lb-ft of torque @ 5,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 mpg

3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6
404 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
400 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-5,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg

Editors' Notes

The 2019 Cadillac CT6 is the flagship sedan from the American luxury brand. Proportionally it competes with full-size executive cars like the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but pricewise the Cadillac undercuts those rivals by tens of thousands of dollars. That metal for the money, along with innovative features like the Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system and a 34-speaker audio system, is appealing. Other aspects are less attractive. Base models have only a 4-cylinder engine, and to get popular and recommendable features like adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking you have to climb trims or pay extra. Most worrying, though, is the model’s very existence. The GM plant where it’s made is slated to close early next year, making the CT6’s future uncertain at best.

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