2019 Cadillac CT6 Sport AWD Review: Cruising Power to the People

Wrapping up our tour of kick-ass Caddies that will soon cease to exist, is the highly esteemed, opulently laden, 2019 Cadillac CT6 Sport in all-wheel drive trim. In recent months we have covered both the supercharged CTS-V, and the spunky twin-turbo ATS-V. Two vehicles that value throttle-punching performance over traditional brand notions of chivalry and subtlety. While the car seen here may not come with Cadillac’s ultra-exclusive Blackwing twin-turbo V8, there is still a lot to like about it.

Being that the hyper-coveted CT6-V is damn near impossible to obtain at the moment, the next best thing is the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 version. That said, cackling exhaust notes, tricked-out track settings, and sleek carbon fiber aerodynamic enhancements are not what this car is all about. However, where the Cadillac CT6 Sport shies away from the extreme, it shines in how it provides alternative surprises, and dammit if I’m not going to miss this car when it disappears later this year.

In my eyes, the Cadillac CT6 Sport is the modern man’s “Big Daddy Caddy,” and it doesn’t pull any punches in regard to proportions, power, or privilege. Smoother than a schooner sailing on sheets of satin, the 17-foot long land yacht loves to throw all 4,426 pounds of weight around, and I’m not just talking about body roll either.

With 404-horsepower pulling hard at higher speeds, and almost equal amounts of torque rocketing the sedan off the line, the 3.0TT Sport version of the CT6 is pleasantly potent. All of that opulent weight seems to disappear when you mash the throttle, as Cadillac’s clever twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 forces all four wheels to thrust forward. From a powerband perspective, this has to be one of the most fluid forms of luxury acceleration I have ever encountered outside of the Rolls Royce Dawn, a vehicle belonging to an entirely different tax bracket.

Part of why the CT6 Sport accelerates so smoothly, is its use of a new 10-speed automatic transmission. By ditching the old 8-speed slushbox for a far silkier gearing experience, Cadillac has taken an already outstanding automobile, and given it greater degrees of athleticism and incisiveness. Sport mode toggled and precision paddle shifters at the ready, it becomes impossible to view the CT6 Sport 3.0TT as just another stately sedan, earning it a nod as one of the greatest sleepers of all time.

Hell, even the cursive inscribed big brakes look unassuming, as do the car’s aero accentuations, exhaust, wheels, and various other external attributes. Classy and sharply carved, the design language imbued within the CT6 is Cadillac illustriousness in all of its modern glory, with the brand’s “Red Horizon Tintcoat” setting fire to the dated notion that Caddy sedans need to big, long, and black.

Beneath all that glossy red paint and prim expressionism lies a chassis that is far more lithe than you may expect. Built upon GM’s Omega platform (as opposed to the Alpha utilized by the CTS), the CT6 benefits from a lightweight aluminum skeletal structure that is stiffer than its sedan brethren. Rolling atop a wheelbase that is almost a full 8-inches longer than the CTS, the largest 4-door bearing a Cadillac badge relies heavily upon this architecture to make the drive feel both composed and confidence-inspiring.

However, a stiff structure will only get you so far. When Cadillac’s engineers got together to discuss the underlying suspension of the CT6, they must have just gotten back from a raucous weekend at the track. Surprisingly taut when torching a tight corner, yet velvety smooth on fresh asphalt, GM’s magnetorheological dampers prove yet again that Cadillac is a performance powerhouse.

Another reason why the Cadillac CT6 corners so damn well is that it features active rear wheel steering, which tightens turning, but also smooths things out at higher speeds in conjunction with the front rubber. AWD traction comes with a 60% rear bias split when in Touring Mode for increased control, and when in Sport Mode a respectable 80% of power hits the rear rubber. This translates to launches that are tidy yet surprisingly lively, with just enough wheel spin to make runs to the store for milk a tad rowdy. With a wider set of alloys and some summer tires installed, I can foresee this Big Daddy Caddy kicking things up a notch in the handling and smile departments.

Up unto this point the CT6 Sport has played both performance and appearance cards incredibly well. So what’s with that funky LED bar toward the top of the steering wheel? It may look slick all lit up, but that light bar isn’t just there for decorative purposes, for this is a self-driving Cadillac. OK, so it will only drive itself on designated strips of interstate, and changing lanes does require using turn signals and tugging the wheel, but hot damn is this one of the slickest tech advancements on the market today!

Commonly referred to as “Super Cruise,” this autonomous interstate setting allows hand and foot-free transportation, without the need to nudge the wheel periodically. From long sweepers and slower switch-backs, to high speed straights and stop-and-go scenarios, Super Cruise has you covered. Simply initiate adaptive cruise control, center the vehicle in a lane, press the Super Cruise button, and then wait for the LED light at the top of the steering wheel to turn green. Once it lights-up you can let go and the CT6 will steer, accelerate, and brake for you.

I was on the Cadillac Super Cruise launch event years ago when it first made its debut, and while the CT6 drove itself almost 90% of the way from Cleveland to Chicago, and then onward to Memphis that week, the system wasn’t without its issues. Nevertheless, after revisiting this tech, I can attest that Cadillac has ironed out many of the bugs I once detected. System re-engagement after a lane change is easier, self-centering calibrations feel more fluid, and the system doesn’t disengage as quickly when a solid white line cannot be detected on one side due to erosion or whatnot. The only issue I encountered was when sudden lane changes due to construction forced the car too far in one direction, something a small tug of the wheel easily amended.

Super Cruising my way down to Louisville and back one weekend, I was also reminded of the importance of the miniature camera above the steering wheel. Tasked with scanning the driver’s face at all times, this microscopic lens is the first line of defense in guaranteeing that you are attentive at all times while behind the wheel. If you look away from the road for too long, or seem to be incapacitated in some way, the LED bar on the steering wheel turns red, and GM’s signature “seat vibe” fires-up in order to let you know that it’s time to take over. This is by no means a qualm, just an observation that for as good as Super Cruise is, it is by no means fully autonomous.

Final thoughts on the CT6’s driving capabilities all involve safety, an area of focus where the sedan excels. While Super Cruise does a sensational job of keeping everyone safe by reducing things like driver fatigue and following the lines on the road without assistance, there are a lot of other safety features that deserve mentioning.

With the $6,000 Super Cruise package attached, CT6 drivers also benefit from things like night vision, pedestrian detection, and forward and reverse auto braking. This adds to an already impressive sweep of safety features, which include adaptive cruise, auto parking assist, Intellibeam adaptive headlamps, collision warnings, and and blind spot alerts. There’s even an integrated surround vision recorder in case a parking lot collision occurs and someone has to prove who was to blame.

Self-driving and safety smarts addressed, we turn toward the interior of the CT6, a space that is just as well thought-out as it is extravagant and spacious. That additional bump in wheelbase length has given this super sedan NBA-grade levels of legroom, and enough shoulder and hip room to keep even the largest NFL linebacker happy. With the “Ultraview” sunroof shade retracted and seats adjusted, you get the feeling that  you are no longer commuting, but cruising in comfort.

Cadillac CT6 Sport tech

Part of what makes the CT6 so spectacular internally is its wide array of tech additions, like the use of a 12-inch customizable digital gauge cluster, which can personalized for each driver. Another slick addition is Cadillac’s sensational 360-degree camera system, which comes with camera mirror washing capabilities, giving drivers crystal clear views day or night. Other optional tech upgrades worth noting include a 34-speaker Bose Panaray sound system, user-friendly rear seat infotainment screens, integrated HDMI ports, wireless charging that’s easy to access and actually works, and a full color head-up display. Being that this is a GM product, buyers also receive complimentary onboard 4G LTE Wi-Fi, as well as every smartphone integration app imaginable.

Cadillac CT6 Sport Rear Seat

Being that this is a Caddy, opulent add-ons also abound. Cadillac CT6 buyers receive things like quad-zone climate control, real carbon interior trim inlays, vented and heated seats, power sunshades, a heated steering wheel, and enough leather to clad sixteen sofas. Once combined, you will be hard-pressed to find a more well thought-out, and finely crafted sedan of this caliber with this grade of refinement and technology at this price point.

All rolled together, the Cadillac CT6 Sport stands out as a leader in the large sedan luxury segment. A vehicle that unfortunately was under-marketed and due to abysmal sales, is slated for discontinuation this year. While some may remain hopeful that Cadillac’s latest endeavor, the CT5, holds a flame to the high performance sedans it replaces, I hold true to my belief that the CT6 is just fine the way it is. Powerful and proper, luxurious yet obtainable, this very well might be the last Big Daddy Caddy sedan to ever hit the streets.

What’s more, is that with a few performance bolt-ons, and a wider set of forged wheels and stickier tires attached, this surprisingly lithe land yacht could easily be turned into one of the most capable daily drivers in the history of American luxury automobiles. To that end, I would suggest hitting up your local dealership for a quick test drive before the Cadillac CT6 disappears forever.

2019 CT6 Sport

Vehicle Type: Five passenger luxury sedan, all-wheel drive

Base Price:  $66,595

Price as Tested: $83,215

Engine: Twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6

Transmission: 10-speed automatic with manual shift controls

Overall Length/Width/Height: 204.0 L x 74.0 W x 58.0 H

Curb Weight: 4,426 lbs

Tire Size: P245/45R19

EPA Mileage Estimates: 18 city / 26 highway / 21 combined

Assembled In: Detroit, MI

About the author

Micah Wright

Raised on LEGOs by grandfathers who insisted on fixing everything themselves, Micah has been a petrolhead in training since age four. His favorite past times include craft beer, strong cigars, fast cars, and culinary creativity in all of its forms.
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