New Cadillac CT6 delivers refined performance

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The 2017 CT6 is an entirely new model for Cadillac. While similar in size to the established CTS sedan, it rests on a wholly new platform and sports the new Cadillac alphanumeric nomenclature.

On the outside, the 204-inch length and added width make CT6 an instant attention-getter over previous mid-size sedans from Cadillac. I recently drove the Platinum all-wheel-drive (AWD) version priced just north of $86,900, and it delivers the expected comfort of a Cadillac while improving on performance and handling characteristics.

The CT6 offers refined, subtle curves that caress the profile and flow easily over the wide wheel arches. The wide lateral grill and chrome-like accents are understated, clean and lacking any level of extravagance. The vertical taillights and bright LED headlamps recall the long fins of vintage Cadillacs.

Inside the cabin, you will find an updated CUE system that is faster than earlier iterations. The new 10.2-inch HD screen in the center of the dashboard has buttons to control the climate, entertainment and navigation systems.

On my Platinum edition, two video screens were located on the backs of the two front seats. The interface with the display screen used is intuitive and easy. My tester featured seats with adjustable lumbar support and tilting cushions with 15 massage settings and heating and cooling elements.

Front seats are generous in size, bolstered perfectly, with power adjustments adding whatever tweaks make it all feel perfect. The accent stitching in the seats draws attention to the seams, which I’m not sure Cadillac intended — if nothing else, it is distinct. Rear seats are more than adequate, with head and leg room on par with the competition.

If there were any drawback in the interior makeup, I’d have to reference the parts-bin mix of materials used, including carbon fiber, wood, some leather accents, and even some hard plastic on the lower spectrum toward the floor.

My tester featured night vision, automatic parking and a rear-view camera for the mirror. Simply flip a switch, and the rear-view mirror shows a camera’s panoramic view of what’s behind you.

The CT6 delivers expected levels of response and handling but does not necessarily surprise in any areas. Performance is not its main selling point, and I’d like to think my focus is on comfort and ride rather than leaving rubber on the road.

The standard model comes with a 2.0-liter, 265-horsepower four-cylinder engine. A 3.6-liter, 335-horsepower V-6 and a 3.0-liter, 404-horsepower twin turbo V-6 are also available. The eight-speed automatic transmission was a smooth operator with outstanding response in every situation.

At 3,657 pounds, the CT6 is heavy — but that translates into some great ride characteristics. GM’s unique magnetic air suspension balances things nicely, with low body roll and just enough give around corners.

Additionally, combined fuel efficiency is a respectable 25 mpg on the standard engine.

Final impressions: The new CT6 is the best big sedan to sport the Cadillac crest in decades. The brand is easily defined by the exterior style, chassis and powertrain are solid, and the interior technology and new interfacing systems are outstanding.

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