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Avant-garde styling and high-tech features are great, but the CT6 sheds the Cadillac clichés in an attempt to best its European rivals. A 265-hp 2.0-liter turbo four and eight-speed automatic drive the rear wheels; the optional 335-hp 3.6-liter V-6 and 404-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 get all-wheel drive. Onboard Wi-Fi with 4G LTE is standard, and a large touchscreen offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. High-end options include a 34-speaker stereo, giant sunroof and adaptive cruise control.
Four or five decades ago, the country-club parking lot would have been considered the natural habitat for any vehicle wearing Cadillac’s wreath and crest. But things changed somewhere in the latter half of the 20th century, when the idle rich and the aspirational merely wealthy moved on to European, and later Japanese, marques in search of the exclusivity and status that the domestic offerings seemed to have lost. Still, here I am, wheeling up to the entrance of the club in a 2016 Cadillac CT6. Ostensibly, I’m here to deliver my mother to a social engagement, but really I just wanted to see what the khaki-and-madras types who loiter about the club think about Cadillac’s latest (which, it must be noted, doesn’t even have a wreath).
Its acceleration ability pales in comparison to the 5.0- and 13.5-second times laid down by the aforementioned CT6 Platinum—404 horsepower and all-wheel drive see to that. The 265 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque developed by the turbo four is more than enough grunt to get the CT6 moving around town, though, especially in Sport mode, which tweaks throttle and transmission mapping as well as steering effort. (It also adjusts shock stiffness and rear-steering parameters on CT6s with the Active Chassis package, which our test car didn’t have.) There are also Tour and Snow/Ice settings to optimize everything for those scenarios.
Low-speed shift quality also falls short of class leading; one of our drivers even remarked that he experienced severe shudder on downshifts into first gear in normal operation. That’s concerning. Shouldn’t the drivetrain of Cadillac’s biggest sedan make velvety operation its number-one priority regardless of cylinder count or transmission ratios? Regardless, shifting for yourself is available via the steering-wheel-mounted paddles, but on this model, Cadillac fits units that are smaller and cheaper-feeling than the deluxe paddles on six-cylinder CT6s. Once you get up and running, however, the shifts occur with quick, unobtrusive action.