Cadillac rolled out the CT6 to much fanfare at a spectacularly ambitious party at the 2015 New York auto show. A year later, the full-size sedan — Cadillac’s “flagship” vehicle — hit dealerships. Just in time for consumer tastes to shift decisively toward luxury crossovers and SUVs.
Caddy sells those, too, so the CT6’s sluggish debut isn’t a huge deal. Besides, every other luxury brand is in the same boat. BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, Jaguar, Volvo, Acura, Lincoln, Infiniti and even Maserati and Alfa Romeo are selling sedans when the market is saying “No thanks” and gobbling up crossovers.
Cadillac’s new XT5 crossover, for what it’s worth, has been wildly successful. It’s now moving 6,000 units a month, in less than a year of being on sale.
We sampled the CT6 last year and were plentifully impressed with the big Caddy.
“The CT6 sits squarely at the intersection of luxury and performance,” we wrote in our review.
Our test car tipped the price scales at $82,000. Caddy recently invited us to check out the latest CT6, the plug-in hybrid version, on a drive up the Hudson River, to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a culinary mecca about an hour north of Manhattan. The Chinese-built CT6 plug-in tips the scales at $75,000 (there is one trim and one trim only) and makes use of a gas-hybrid electric drive system linked to a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engines that can be had on the gas-only CT6.
Here’s how it went:
First off, Cadillac walked us through the ins and outs of the CT6 plugin’s engineering. A critical feature is its innovative transmission, which combines a “CVT”-type system for good fuel economy and a more traditional setup for driving pleasure. It was designed to satisfy whatever torque demands the driver in making.
Caddy doesn’t call it CVT — continuous variable transmission, essentially an infinite number of gears keys to engine speed — but rather an “electrically variable transmission” (EVT).
There was a flotilla of fully charged CT6s awaiting us when the briefing ended.
The car doesn’t look at all different from the original CT6, unless you look quite closely.