The 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum AWD is a criminally underrated luxury sedan

Share
×

Tech

The 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum AWD is a criminally underrated luxury sedan

  • The CT6 impresses with a fantastic ride, brilliant technology and compelling pricing.
  • Super Cruise, Cadillac's semi-autonomous technology, bests competing systems from Tesla, Volvo and Mercedes in offering driver assistance that makes you feel safer.
  • However, potential buyers should know that the CT6 lacks the overall clout, presence and attention to detail that defines full-fat luxury flagships like the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series.
The 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum
Mack Hogan | CNBC
The 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum

You can call it criminally underrated, the best car you've never heard of, or a failure of marketing. Whatever words you use, it's hard to deny that the CT6 is one of the most complete packages the General's luxury arm has ever offered.

We highly recommend it.

The Good

Behind the wheel of the 2018 Cadillac CT6
Mack Hogan | CNBC
Behind the wheel of the 2018 Cadillac CT6

The CT6 is Cadillac's largest and most prestigious sedan on offer. 17 feet in length, the CT6 is just short of full-size executive limousines like the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series.

While Cadillac seems to deliberately avoid calling it a "flagship" of the same blood as the German royalty, the CT6 comes packed with features. Seats at all four corners massage, heat and cool passengers. Dual TV screens allow you to plug in a Roku or Fire Stick and hook up to the car's WiFi network.

Leather and wood cover most touchpoints, with soft plastics filling in the gaps. A massive center screen with CarPlay and Android Auto is, of course, standard kit. If that's not enough, the gauge cluster is a screen in and of itself, capable of displaying infrared night vision views of the road ahead when the light fades.

The exterior isn't as fancy as other luxury sedans.
Mack Hogan | CNBC
The exterior isn't as fancy as other luxury sedans.

Finally, and most importantly, the CT6 comes with a Bose Panaray sound system that hits you with power of of 34 speakers.Technology, in case you haven't noticed, plays a big role in the CT6.

That continues underneath, where you'll find another application of GM's fantastic magnetic ride control dampening each wheel. The system uses electromagnets and a magnetic fluid to constantly modulate the stiffness of the ride, allowing for a soft and comfortable experience on the straightaways without leading to sloppy cornering behavior. It works. The CT6 is soft and composed on the highway, aggressive and downright athletic for the class in the twisties.

The 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum
Mack Hogan | CNBC
The 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum

Plenty powerful and mighty smooth, the 404-horsepower, twin-turbo V6 is a great engine for an executive car. Passing is mostly effortless, though the speed-obsessed may be better served by the 600-horsepower firebreathers the folks in Munich, Stuggart and Ingolstadt will sell you.

The 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum
Mack Hogan | CNBC
The 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum

None of these parts, you may notice, sound particularly game changing. One part is: Super Cruise. I can't get do it full justice here — a separate Super Cruise review is coming — but Super Cruise is best understood as GM's brilliant, fantastically-implemented take on Tesla's Autopilot.

It's the first system where hands-free driving is fully allowed, and at every point I felt safer and more relaxed by the system than I've felt when testing rival technology. It only works on mapped interstates and constantly monitors you via camera to make sure you're looking at the road, making it significantly more idiot-proof than competitors.

You'll want to buy the autonomous model
Mack Hogan | CNBC
You'll want to buy the autonomous model

One last kicker: this CT6, loaded with everything you need and about 10,000 things you'll forget to ever use, costs just $88,295. For reference, the absolute cheapest all-wheel drive S-Class starts at $93,895 without options. It ain't cheap, but the CT6 is one helluva bargain all things considered.

The Bad

The 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum
Mack Hogan | CNBC
The 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum

Cadillac isn't a "bargain" brand, but if you pull up in a CT6 and your friend pulls up in a new S-Class nobody is going to have trouble figuring out which one of you has a better take-home rate.

It also doesn't have the same presence of the flagships of other brands. An S-Class, 7 Series or even Lincoln Continental would look more stately than the chiseled CT6. It's a handsome thing, sure, but it doesn't scream "I've arrived" with the same brutish force.

The 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum
Mack Hogan | CNBC
The 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum

The interior suffers the same fate. It's nice and quite well-made, but sitting in the flagship Benz or the new A8 truly feels like an event. They're inspired, with crazy lighting and surfacing that gives the interior a sense of life. The CT6, on the other hand, is comparably dull. It's a regular car interior done extremely well, but not really a show of exuberance and grandeur.

Maybe that's your style, but inside I'd like a car to wow me.

How We'd Order It

The 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum
Mack Hogan | CNBC
The 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum

There's one universal truth about the CT6: splurge for the Super Cruise option. A CT6 without Super Cruise seems, to me, utterly pointless.

That means you'll need to start at the Premium Luxury trim, but I recommend stepping up to Platinum. If you're going to get an ostentatious, mile-demolishing luxury sedan, you might as well get one with all the trimmings. $83,290 is the as-configured price, but if you want the twin-turbo motor for a bit more fun you'd certainly have my support.

All in, we recommend the CT6 as this press car was equipped: every major option, yours for $88,295.

Final Thoughts

The 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum
Mack Hogan | CNBC
The 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum

As a driving experience, as a technological tour de force and as a value proposition the Cadillac CT6 is stunning. For those who spend a lot of time in the car, few vehicles are better at coddling and shuttling four people around in total comfort and relaxation. As long as you can live with the badge and the uneventful interior styling, the CT6 is an incredible purchase.

Rating:

Exterior: 4

Interior: 4

Driving Experience: 5

Value: 5

Overall: 4.5

Price as configured: $88,295