With Cadillac still tackling issues with long term sales growth, and a lineup lacking strong CUV presence, the brand needed to prove it was not down for the count. If the 2019 CT6 is to be believed, there is still plenty of vigor left in the iconic luxury car maker.
The 2019 CT6 debuts a new trim strategy (more on that later,) but the exterior enhancements might not standout at first glance, especially if one views the car head on. It takes a look sideways to fully see the strong emphasis on three dimensional elements present here. Thinner headlights and a thinner front bumper are nestled above a larger lower front air intake that highlights the bold mesh grille. Our favorite feature is the way the LED DRLs are also accented with bold effect as a result of the fore-mentioned tweaks. The rest of the car has a boldly sculpted look that really makes the CT6 leap out from its German rivals. When compared to what is seen with the current generation CT6, the evolution to what we have now is impressive, but we are curious to see if the new duds will help right the sales ship for the model.
The big news here is the V-Sport model, and the all new engine that lurks under the hood. While it may only be a mere 4.2 liters, the addition of twin-turbochargers helps horsepower shoot up to a rousing 550, while torque measures in at a thundering 626 lb-ft of torque. In other iterations of CT6 it produces 500 horsepower, and the fact that each engine will be produced in the Corvette plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky does hint at another future model, the rumored mid-engine equipped Corvette.
The long rumored and seldom sighted Vette variant was allegedly going to get both a 4.2 liter V8, as well as a beefier 5.5 liter DOHC V8. The 4.2 liter seen here could very well herald the future of what's to come from this mysterious supercar offering.
In the more immediate scheme of things, the 4.2 liter in the CT6 features an aluminium block, heads, and pistons that all aim to slash weight, and enhance the driving experience at the same time. Cadillac claims that other goodies such as direct injection, twin electric wastegates, and twin throttle bodies help 90 percent of the torque to arrive at 2,000 RPM, with the thrust sticking around until about 5,200 RPM. All of this power is routed through GM's 10-speed automatic transmission which is mated to a standard all-wheel drive system. Cadillac chose to not release any formal performance figures in today's unveiling, but it is clear that Cadillac engineers had posters of race tracks and speed records in their study rooms.
This mindset helped the V-Sport gain a tweaked steering system and Magnetic Ride Control dampers as well as a limited slip differential. Braking is handled by Brembo's all new MonoBlock braking system that features four pistons up front, and track focused performance pads. Like other modern performance cars, the V-Sport packs an active exhaust system that produces its sweet soundtrack through four quad exhaust tips, with sticky Goodyear summer tires helping to keep the car composed in turns.
The interior of the 2019 CT6 V-Sport embraces the latest iteration of CUE which first made its debut in the smaller sedans. In a revelation, the once purely haptic system now features physical buttons, as well as a central BMW-esque controller knob. The knob covers scrolling, and is also responsible for commands such as track selection and volume control. Meanwhile, the buttons take occupants to various menus including Home, Phone, and Navigation and now boast improved response times, and the system can even receive over the air updates.
As mentioned earlier, the refreshed CT6 ushers in a new trim strategy that will ultimately prevail across Cadillac's entire lineup. On one side of the coin, a Luxury focused trim will cater to one tier of buyers, wheras the Sport trim is for individuals that prefer to have more excitement in their drive versus traditional wood accents and other luxury items. Look for a base trim to emerge that will help serve either as a value focused option, or as a gateway into the other two trims. This new strategy would require a major shift over what is currently seen in the 2018 CT6, which makes buyers choose from four different flavors (Standard, Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Platinum.)