I’ve been wanting to try out a Cadillac CT6 ever since it was first announced and large, plush sedans started rolling into the inventory at McLaughlin Cadillac. They looked good, and combined with the also reintroduced Lincoln Continental, it seemed both remaining U.S. luxury makes once again had a proper flagship.
Oh sure, for many, the current flagships are the Escalade and the Navigator, but as a big fan of 1950s-1970s Cadillacs, Lincolns and Imperials, I have always, and will always, associate the top models with the vintage Fleetwood Broughams, Continentals and Town Cars, rather than anything truck-based.
Since both cars came onto the market, I’ve thought a modern ‘King of the Hill’ article would be pretty cool. For those too young to remember or not as into Brougham-era luxury as your author, back in the ’70s Motor Trend did several articles comparing the Cadillac Eldorado to the Continental Mark III, and later Mark IV.
So while today’s article will just focus on the Cadillac (I reviewed the 2018 Continental Reserve last November), at some point in the near future I will probably have to do a Battle Royale between these two modern luxury cars, comparing and contrasting. But that’s for another day.
It helped that McLaughlin Cadillac used to service my Volvos, back before I started buying Lincolns-they sell Volvo and Subaru as well. So recently, a 2018 CT6 came in on trade, and I asked my contact at the dealership, Brian Cox, if I could schedule a road test for the website.
I arranged an appointment for the following Tuesday, and so it was on Monday, May 20th, I finally got to check one out up close. This one was Stellar Black metallic over Jet Black leather. Brian thoughtfully ran it through the car wash there prior to my taking off in it. Black looks good on cars, and especially on the higher-end Cadillac models.
But as the prior owner of a black Volvo 940SE, I can tell you they show every single speck of dust, mosquito footprints, and tree sap droplets. So I was appeciative! It’s also why I’ll never own a black car again. Too much effort to keep it looking clean.
Anyway, this particular CT6 had been recently traded in, with all of 6,200 miles, by a longtime customer of theirs. He buys a new Cadillac every year. So this was essentially a brand new car. I looked over the whole thing stem to stern, and saw not one ding. No scratch, no scuff, no mar on the leather seats. It looked exactly as it did when it left the factory. A fastidious owner, for sure.
As I got in, I noticed that when I shifted into reverse, the rear sunscreen automatically retracted to make it easier to see behind you. Nice touch. And as I turned to point the car forward and shift into drive, I felt a pulse in the driver’s seat cushion. Stopped, looked behind me, and there was an Escalade approaching. He waved me on, and I exited the dealership to get onto one of our main thoroughfares-and most congested stretches of asphalt, John Deere Road.
It drove as a Cadillac should. Smooth, quiet and extremely comfortable. There was plenty of oomph from the normally aspirated 3.6 liter V6 as well, delivering 335 hp @ 6800 rpm. I’ll just cut to the chase: This car was wonderful to drive. Fast, smooth, sharp handling. Supremely comfortable. I enjoyed driving it more than its crosstown rival, the Continental. The Continental was fun yet comfortable too, and had a more traditional-lux style interior, but the Cadillac just engaged me more.
Cadillacs seem to have that effect on me. The same thing happened when I tried out an ATS coupe last year. At one point while driving the CT6, on the way back to the dealership, there were a couple of slugs in CR-Vs on the Interstate. I could sense the CT6 sneering at them. Having none of it, I floored it and passed them both while approaching Ludicrious Speed. I was feeling so fine, so arrogant perhaps, that I was tempted to open the sunroof and flip both of them off as I passed the feckless snails. Oof. I would get in SO much trouble if I owned this car! Tickets, insurance through the roof, the whole nine yards. It’s like the CT6 was goading me, encouraging me. “Faster Klockau, faster! Dammit, let’s freaking GO!”
But man, I was really in the zone driving the car. It had lots and lots of intersting gadgets to try out, including a dual panel sunroof with individual sliders and power sunshades. The aforementioned sunscreen in the rear window had a separate button. Heated and cooled seats, of course. Power opening/closing trunk.
The seats were quite comfortable, though perhaps not quite as grand as the heated, massaging seats I experienced in the Lincoln Continental last year. That is my all-time favorite automotive throne! But that’s not to knock the Cadillac’s seats, they were excellent as well. I just preferred the Lincoln’s driver’s seat.
And I have to say, it’s nice driving a car where you can see a great deal of hood through the windshield. Of course, I see a similar view from my Town Car each morning, but it’s an old car. New cars, by and large, have hoods that are often wider than they are long. My Volvo V50 was like that. Get in, look out, and it’s like you’re in a VW bus! Not so in the Cadillac.
And this particular baby would have been quite the deal if I was so inclined. A near $70,000 car a mere twelve months ago, they had her listed at $49,000. Later I went on their website, and it was showing an internet price of $44,901. That’s still a lot of money, but for an essentially as-new car with less than 7,000 miles? That’s a deal!
It was enough to make me very temporarily consider it. But there were several demerits. First, it was black on black, and while I might be able to deal with black paint, I loathe black and gray interiors.
Give me tan, beige, off-white, heck, navy or red on the handful of cars that have them available. But black interiors get way too hot in our Midwestern summers. And it’s like sitting in a cave. Although the beautiful wood trim in the CT6 helped a great deal!
Two, I still like both my cars. Three, I’m more inclined towards an XTS if I go Cadillac next time.
The recent facelift turned me off at first, but now I am liking them more than the earlier XTSs. I’m particularly fond of them when painted in Adriatic Blue. And with the two tone off-white and black interior.
Of course, sedans are on the downswing in 2019. Everyone wants a crossover. Just like everyone wanted an Explorer or Blazer 4-door in 1991. Just like everyone wanted a Caravan or Voyager in 1985. Just like everyone wanted a Monte Carlo in 1973. Fads come and go. In fashion and in film and in automobiles. The CT6 itself almost got axed earlier this year, but won a reprieve at the 11th hour.
If I had a four-car garage and lots of disposable income, I’d special order a new CT6 and Continental today, because odds are, neither will be in their respective lineups in five years. Crossovers have yet to peak, at least in my estimation, so expect lots of them in traffic for a while. Just like the convertible in the mid-’70s, demand for sedans will likely fluctuate up again, and crossovers down, once people start looking for something different. It’s only a question of when. It may be a while.
But for now, you can still waltz out to your Cadillac dealer and try one out. I heartily encourage you to do so. Cadillac seems to be shifting to more crossovers and less sedans. Both the ATS and CTS are being essentially replaced with one model, the upcoming CT5, and the final front wheel drive XTSs are sitting on dealer lots right now.
The XT5 and newly arrived XT4 are the hot items now. But if you want to go back in time, just a little, try one of these out. They are as close as you can get to the classic chrome-encrusted Fleetwood Broughams and Brougham d’Elegances and Fleetwood Talismans of yore.
Note: Special thanks once again to McLaughlin Cadillac and Brian Cox for putting up with me, loaning me a car, and in general providing an excellent evening! -TK