The Cadillac CT6 Gets A Reprieve, And We All Say Hooray

When the Cadillac CT6 debuted just a few short years ago, I thought, finally. A new flagship Cadillac. A nice big sedan, like Cadillacs of old. It looked good. But then, I’m a sedan man. Give me a sedan, or an honest-to-God station wagon. I’ve never been drawn to hatchbacks, crossovers and SUVs, though I’ve always loved the original Grand Cherokee and classic Grand Wagoneer.

But of course combovers are taking over the world. After all, why buy a sedan when you can get something similar to a sedan, but with clumsier handling, uglier styling, a higher center of gravity and suckier fuel mileage? But never mind.

So, sedans are in a slump. And the vast coverage of GM’s factory closing and model pruning left the CT6 initially as one of the victims. But earlier this week, GM executives declared that the CT6 will remain available after the factory currently producing it, in Hamtramck, Michigan, closes in June.

I’ve admired the CT6 since it was introduced, and always had to hover over the examples that came in over at my local dealer, McLaughlin Cadillac. I still need to review one, especially since I drove its primary competitor, the Lincoln Continental, late last year. Hopefully, I’ll get that arranged soon-at least once the weather improves!

Just this afternoon though, I stopped by the dealership and they had two ’19 CT6s sitting right out front. A third in black was parked nearby.

My Town Car and a new CT6, November 2016.

The revised nose and tail make the 2019s easy to spot; earlier versions had a more traditional Cadillac face.

The question is, where will it be built? That has not been mentioned yet, but for now I’m glad one will still be able to get a big Cadillac sedan if one so desires. Cadillac built its reputation for decades, on long, luxurious sedans.

Plush comfort, power, room and prestige, that’s Cadillac. I’m curious to see if production picks up, and whether or not the car will be built at another U.S. GM factory or overseas. China is a distinct possibility of course, with that country’s love of giant, chauffeur driven sedans. And the CT6 is already built there for Chinese retail sales. Naturally, I’d prefer a Cadillac be built in the land of the free, but for now, it’s enough for me that the car will continue.

However, I do have a few suggestions for GM. First of all, this car comes in only seven colors, and only two-black and silver-are no-cost selections. My favorite current Cadillac color, Adriatic Blue, apparently was removed for 2019. So the only color I really love is Red Horizon Tintcoat, though the pearl white isn’t bad. Here’s my pitch: Remove gray and silver from the color palette, including black interior. Offer, say, navy blue leather instead of black. Offer navy or emerald green instead of silver. Add some really beautiful colors. Make black livery-only. Or better yet, offer black and silver, but for extra cost.

My wild idea, perhaps a certain failure in today’s market, is to offer an extra-high end CT6 Talisman. Talisman is such a great name for a luxury car.

And of course, the name has a history with the Standard of the World, applied to the most Broughamtastic Cadillac ever made, at least in your author’s opinion.

Offer it as a four seater, with dual consoles, and a nice selection of interior colors and fabrics (yes, fabrics, though I understand velour might not fly in 2019) not available on the regular CT6.

Add extra flashy wheels, maybe with center caps or painted spokes matching the car’s color. And add a stand-up hood ornament. Just little changes to trim, and a lusher interior. I know a padded top and opera lamps are not going to work on a modern car! But what the heck?

There are probably not many people who know of the 1974-76 Fleetwood Talisman, so for that market, it would seem to be fresh and new. And for those classic Cadillac aficionados, they’d understand the relevance. Win-win.

The CT6 might have another year or two in the line unless sales pick up. Why not give a nod to when Cadillacs were large, in charge, and seen in fine venues nationwide? At this point, what have they got to lose? Might as well have fun with it. And those XT5s, Escalades and the brand new Cadillac XT4 will sell strongly, for those who just have to have a tall wagon-oops, I mean crossover, heh. Why not have a little fun with the CT6 while it’s still here?

At any rate, it means I might get to do a road test of the CT6 for Riverside Green yet! Stay tuned…

19 Replies to “The Cadillac CT6 Gets A Reprieve, And We All Say Hooray”

  1. brawnychicken

    Could be market suicide, but it really does seem worthwhile to go wild here. When what you’re doing isn’t working, and sedans aren’t working for Caddy, doing more of the same is remarkably stupid. Why not make it a modern Brougham? No one else is doing it and they might discover an untapped market. At the very least, wild and weird Caddy’s will bring people to the showroom-and they might end up with an Escalade or XT…whatever.

    • dejal

      I’m picking suicide.

      This isn’t the auto biz up until the late 70s where they could turn on a dime and change a car faster than we change our underwear. Few want to be “That” person who talks the power brokers in the company into that and it fails. You will be looking at the failure for a few model years.

      Remember the 2012 Honda Civic that was destroyed in the press? Honda had to do a face lift in one year. That rarely happens. It was such an oddity that Honda did it that press kept writing stories about it.

      About the only previous one I can think of is the 1962 Chryslers. Exner was the fall guy even though Exner pleaded “Don’t do it” in the first place. They started turning that around DURING the 1962 model year by producing new nameplates in mere months by cobbling together this and that.

    • Carmine

      Isn’t this a modern Brougham? I feel like adding that stuff to a car like this today would be the equivalent of adding sidemounts and running boards to a 1959 Cadillac. Why not a throwback to something like the 1957-58 or 1966-67 Brougham with more lavish wood and leather options?

      The 4 seater thing is almost sort of there on the Platinum series, with the rear armrest folded down it covers the whole center section and both the rear seats are independently adjustable. A dedicated 4 seat interior with a small fridge in the back would be doable, this is already available on S-class and others.

      I would drop the low spec small wheel versions of the CT6, only offer the best looking combos, how much more can that change the base price? I think the twin turbo V6 and the new V8 should be the only engine options and Ideally, in a dream world, I would have loved to see a CT6 coupe…….

  2. MrGreenMan

    When you drive it – is the steering good, or is it the GM electric power-assist steering? Anecdotal evidence in Podunk suggests that people think the GM cars are not good in the winter (or are overly floaty) not because they are bad, but because the GM electric power-assist steering provides no feedback and may be too boosty.

  3. dejal

    “clumsier handling,” I don’t think you know what that means if your epitome of peak Caddy is the 1974-76 Fleetwood Talisman. If a 70s car has acceptable handling why would a 2018-9 SUV not? And how much clumsy is too much clumsy?

    • Dirt Roads

      I’ll bite… Clumsy in 2019 isn’t the same as svelte in the 70s. There are no cars built in the 70s that can handle like cars today. You’re using 2019 technology to compare directly to a 1970s car; that doesn’t float. That’s like people griping about Columbus not having a decent Facebook presence when he arrived in 1492. That loser!

      Taller SUV/CUV rigs are clumsy compared to 2019 sedans, of almost any make. If you’re a driver, as opposed to an operator, for example, you want the thing to hold the road well when you push it. Just look at rollover tendencies for taller vehicles if you want one metric.

  4. Tom Klockau Post author

    Clumsier handling vis a vis CR-V/Civic, Equinox/Malibu, RX/ES, etc. I drove a Volvo V50 wagon for years, one time I got an XC60 as a service loaner and it was like driving a drunk V50. Poorer handling, more sluggish despite a bigger engine, and so on. It was a nice car, plusher than my wagon, but not half as nimble or peppy. The Talisman is peak Brougham, not necessarily peak Cadillac. Peak Cadillac would be a good QOTD. Maybe ’68?

    • Carmine

      I like 1968 a lot, disc brakes were standard on the Eldorado, still optional on the rest of the line up, the Brougham still had the power vent windows and of course…..there’s the 472. Though I really like 1972 too and arguments can be made for 1966 and 1962 too… and if you’re128 you’ll say nothing was better than 1931……..

    • John C.

      1968 was a great year. I would also give an honorable mention to the 77 and 91 lines.

      1977 for how well the downsizing happened, plus the Seville for showing an international size car that owed nothing to the imports and the Eldo for still offering an over the top Detroit package for those inclined.

      The 91s for the last time there was a full model line that was lust worthy. The Seville for offering the international size that still owed nothing to the imports, and now offered a Cadillac engine. The Eldo for translating the Seville into an ideal personal luxury coupe. The absence of the Cimmaron that was just too down market. The Deville for giving you a modern car that still drove like a Cadillac. The Brougham mostly for still being there to honor tradition. The Allante for coming out when MB and Jaguar’s offerings were so long in the tooth. Did it save the slutty, tennis playing, doctor’s wife convertible whose top never goes down niche.

      Both of my mentions are years when faced with the prospect of not being able to keep doing what Cadillac had always done. They responded by doing what they always did only better so to lessen the burden of the modern restraints.

      • Carmine

        1993 was a good year, the Seville and Eldorado didn’t look like “My First Pimpmobile” toys anymore and returned to looking good, the Brougham was restyled for the first time in my entire life and it returned the Fleetwood name to the proper location, on the biggest car in the line up and the DeVille and Sixty Special were still around in their pre 1994 versions.

        • John C.

          Big last in 93 is Coupe Deville and of far lesser importance Allante. With the Lexus, the other big Germans and now Seville so closely following MB, what are those are those not so enamored to do. Infiniti if off at one with Japanese nature and that sounds like formula for shit the hype will claim doesn’t stink. and the XJ40 XJ6 is still a Jag, but not a good Jag, having been designed like 8 years before it came out BL style.

          Lately I have been noticing the last Imperials that year. The extra length and the slightly Ved front end give it extra presence even if the 90 degree V6 leave it in a lower class. Covered headlights a nice nod to Lido as he shuffles out the door, disrespected by fools but the American industry’s last giant.

  5. George Denzinger

    I’m also glad that the CT6 survived, but I have a few items on my wish list:

    1. Build it in the US for North American consumption. GM seems to have lost it’s capability for optics on a lot of issues, here’s one way to alleviate some of the pain caused by the November announcements. Besides, the US is the home of Cadillac, both spiritually and physically. Remember all of the noise back during the reorganization after the Automotive Task Force told GM to cut off half of it’s brands? Why did Buick survive and not the others? It was alleged that the Chinese would not buy Buicks if they still didn’t have a presence in the US. I believe the same thing would apply to the CT6. The ROW can have Chinese built Caddys, but North America should get the real deal.

    2. Speaking of real deals, give the damned thing a name! Fleetwood, Calais, deVille, Escanaba (yes, I’m being facetious), for Pete’s sake! It doesn’t have to be a “heritage name”, just a name we can use.

    3. Ignore CAFE. BMW does it, Mercedes does it, even FCA does it for their Hellcat models. No one in their right mind who pays this kind of money for this kind of car is going to *want* a 4 cylinder engine… Unless it displaces 10 liters, even then, it would be a hard sell. A twin turbo V6 should be the standard and the Premier and V models get a V8 at a minimum. You have the ATS for four cylinder sales, plus a whole raft of Chevys. GM has spent over two decades chasing BMW & Mercedes, the fastest way to get some “cred” is to go big in the engine bay.

    4. One thing I see happening is the relative rarity of this car and I think it’s a good thing. Give Buick a chance to move upscale (where it should be) and move Cadillacs up to top tier level (where it should be). If your dealers are stacking them deep and selling them cheap, then rescind the dealer agreement. Car sales aren’t that great, so what happens if you lose another 12 cars/year?

  6. stingray65

    Cadillac needs to pull a Lexus LS introduction strategy. Make the V-8 or turbo v-6 standard on the CT6 and price it evenly the 4 cylinder German competitors. Chinese production might help get the costs down enough so they don’t lose too much money in offering a value proposition in the luxury sedan market to re-establish the Cadillac brand.

    • John C.

      Only a strident import buyer could suggest re-establishing Cadillac by dumping PLA specials at a loss. Soon we would be back to South African E classes to combat. A race for the bottom.

      • CJinSD

        Unless continued availability refers to the CT6s already sitting in dealer inventories, isn’t Chinese CT6s what Cadillac is proposing to offer? You’d have to really want an American luxury car to buy a CT6, so it makes perfect sense for them to come here from China. GM’s problems are completely due to import buyers after all.

        The CT6 failed because Cadillac didn’t sweat the details and they failed to power it with a refined version of the LT1. They don’t need the Blackwing 4.2TT starting at $89K. Surely, an encapsulated 350+ hp version of the LT1 would have cost less than the 3.0TT and provided people who want an American luxury car with the effortless and smooth power they also want. Instead they’re putting an engine into production as they’re killing the car lines that might use it. It won’t even be around long enough for GM to figure out how to make it work.

        • John C.

          I suspect GM will allege USA construction by assembling knock down kits from China. The fact is that there are no longer V8s designed for American luxury driving. Not the LT1, not the Cayote 5.0, not the scat pack hemi. A engine at it’s best at 5000 rpm is not luxury. The idea of luxury is to relax a driver and help him feel appreciated and dignified, not to help him pretend he is playing Grand Theft Auto. Todays car designers don’t understand that.

          • CJinSD

            I agree for the most part. I also think that the only difference between a production LT1 and the engine of luxury car perfection is the right camshaft, a baffled air intake, and a properly muffled exhaust. Engine covers to mask direct injector noise are pretty much the norm now.

  7. Bigtruckseriesreview

    Before I leased an SRX for my mom, I wanted her to have an XTS. She was coming from the STS.

    She absolutely loved the SRX’s interior space and cargo capacity more than the STS and XTS.

    When her SRX lease ended, she moved right into an XT5 luxury AWD.

    My aunt, coming from a 2009 SRX (v8 loaded) wanted a new Caddy and she ended up in an XT5 Luxury Premium AWD.

    Escalade is way more expensive, but it would be the vehicle buyers of the CT6 would be more likely to buy if they didn’t mind driving a big truck. The XT5, right now, is their big seller, along with XT4 and will soon be accompanied by XT6.

  8. Compaq Deskpro

    GM walking back the distinctive styling of their cars to something pretty generic looking sucks. The XT6 looks like a Honda Pilot, especially from the back. Where are the towering tail lights? I think they are just handicapping lower cars so they don’t mess with the Escalade.


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