Cadillac CT6 is a return to glory

The recently minted CT6 is Cadillac’s new flagship, a long, low looker that qualifies as just the kind of posh performer the 115-year-old automaker needs to restore its eroded reputation.

Indeed, I think this large sedan is the most luxurious Cadillac I’ve been in. The workmanship and materials are top-shelf, and the hedonistic excursions range from backseats that recline and massage to the extraordinary sound emanating from a 34-speaker Bose audio system. (And at $3,700, that option ought to be extraordinary.)

This Cadillac is the quietest ever, according to the automaker, and I’d be hard-pressed to disagree.

These are also innovative, technologically elite cars that perform well. The technology available in the CT6 ranges from active rear steering and night vision to adjustable-suspension damping and an all-wheel-drive system that adjusts the fore-to-aft power split to fit driving conditions.

A plug-in hybrid version of the CT6 is arriving later this model year, reportedly offering good power at an estimated 65MPGe. In the meantime, there will be three gas engines to choose from: a 2-liter, 265 horsepower turbo; a 3.6-liter, 335 horse, normally aspirated V-6; and the new 3-liter, 404 horsepower, twin-turbo V-6. (The base, 2-liter car, is rear drive, while the more upmarket V-6 models are all-wheel drive.)

Because these large sedans are so light for their size, thanks to an all-new structure that is 62 percent aluminum, even the 2-liter version is fast enough to be fun. But the torque-rich, twin-turbo V-6 I just spent nine days with is really a trip.

I mean, does this guy move along? Well, yes. Zero to 60 takes just five seconds out of your day.

In addition to the joy of consigning other cars to the rearview mirror, the CT6 pleases with superb driving dynamics. Nice balance, a penchant for going exactly where it is pointed, and a paucity of body roll make it lovely in the corners.

Braking isn’t shabby either. Sixty to zero is accomplished in a reported 106 feet. That’s supercar territory.

Weight-shaving has contributed to that stopping power, as it has to the car’s handling and fuel economy (18 mpg city and 26 highway in the test car, 22 and 30 in the 2-liter base car).

The base car weighs just 3,657 pounds, 1,000 less than the comparable Mercedes-Benz model. Even at 4,085, the test car is still significantly lighter than the Benz S class.

The CT6 turns out to be a comely customer as well as a techy and athletic one. Simplicity and refinement were exterior design goals that reached fruition, as were modern evocations of the car’s past. That curved chrome element in the front fascia was inspired by the front of the 1956 Coupe DeVille, which in turn took its cue from the “bent wing” Corsair, a World War II fighter plane.

Apart from those design impulses, the CT6’s body abounds in captivating carving. I also liked the tester’s optional 20-inch machined alloy wheels.

The loveliness persists inside. The leather seats are as handsome as they are comfortable, and the carbon-fiber interior accents seemed perfect.

The CT6 starts out reasonably enough. It begins at $54,490 for the base car and then takes three steps north to nearly $90,000 for the Platinum model.

But you do get a heck of a warranty for those bucks. In addition to the basic four year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, an owner is afforded three years/36,000 miles of required maintenance and six years/70,000 miles of courtesy transportation and roadside assistance.