Road Test: 2018 Cadillac CT6 Platinum

In case you haven’t heard, Cadillac’s CT6 is the most technologically advanced car on the market. We recently had the opportunity to sample a CT6 Platinum trim in Southern California to see just how luxurious the CT6 really is, and more importantly, the technology that engineers at GM pioneered, dubbed Super Cruise.

There are so many names for assisted driving today, with many of them misnomers. Super Cruise is cruise control taken to the next level. It works on divided highways and is designed for total hands-off-the-wheel driving. It still requires eyes to be on the road and uses a “driver attention system” to keep track of where the driver is looking.

A small camera located on the top of the steering column focuses on the driver and works with infrared lights at night to determine where the driver is looking whenever Super Cruise is on. Other systems, like Tesla’s Autopilot, only rely on steering wheel input to know if the driver could still paying attention, but that doesn’t mean they’re looking at the road.

If Autopilot had Cadillac’s driver monitoring system, nearly every single accident that has occurred with Autopilot engaged and driver’s not paying attention, could have been prevented. Cadillac is currently the only manufacturer that monitor’s driver attention when the assisted driving system is engaged.

If the driver attention system detects that the driver has turned attention away from the road for too long, it tells the driver to pay attention via audible, visual, and vibration alerts in the seat. Depending on the vehicle’s speed, the system is can be slightly more or less aggressive about when the alerts begin, most often within a few seconds of inattentiveness.

First begin the visual alerts, starting with a message in the instrument cluster, then with a color change of the light bar built into the top of the steering wheel, followed by vibrations in the Safety Alert Seat, audible alerts, and so on. If something really did happen to the driver, and all the warnings are ignored, the CT6 contacts OnStar Emergency Services, and brings the car to a controlled stop with hazard lights on.

The driver attention system is huge, and a small but critical part of what makes Super Cruise so capable and safe.

The engineering that went into the rest of the system is truly spectacular. The aforementioned light bar is a visual communicator of what Super Cruise is doing, whether it’s green for engaged, or red for disengaged, or blue for giving the driver control to make a lane change.

Super Cruise relies on several inputs and a massive amount of data processing. LiDAR map data of nearly every highway in the U.S. is onboard the CT6 and gets compared with high-precision GPS and real-time camera inputs. The advanced GPS hardware can detect which lane the car is in on a highway. Real-time camera images of the road and radar allow the car to see what and how far objects are around the car.

As we drove from Los Angeles to San Diego, the system performed beautifully. It crawled in bumper to bumper traffic, and then cruised along in the HOV lane once the concentration of cars diminished.

The technology is ingenious in how it centers within a lane, gradually turning the wheel, and slowing down slightly when going into a turn. We truly commend the engineers who developed Super Cruise.

Aside from the assisted driving tech, the CT6 is a stunning sedan.

On the outside, the car has chiseled lines and a face that truly stands out in today’s luxury market. Driving around downtown San Diego, a number of onlookers complimented the CT6 design and lighting. LED illumination fills the exterior, from the DRLs, to the high and low beams, and even the door handles. The look at night is unmistakably Cadillac.

Under the hood, a 3.0L twin-turbo and 8-speed automatic route 404 horsepower to all four wheels. It’s an impressive amount of power and helps the large sedan feel light on its feet. Magnetic Ride Control with several modes provides a comfortable, yet agile driving experience. MRC is truly the best of both worlds when it comes to ride quality, with no trade-offs.

Fuel economy is rated at 18 mpg city, 26 highway, 21 combined. We averaged 24 mpg in our mixed driving, with a lot of time in traffic–very impressive.

Inside, every feature imaginable is standard. Features like massaging power seats front and rear, an incredible Bose Panaray 34-speaker system that turns the cabin into a concert hall, and even Night Vision, which uses an infrared camera on the grille, work perfectly. The massage feature needs a default, always on setting, and even without massagers, the CT6 has some of the best seats we’ve ever spent extensive time in.

The cabin is all high end materials like leather and suede, and where there isn’t a soft-touch material, there’s a crisp LCD. A 12″ one faces the driver in the instrument cluster and relays any info the driver’s heart desires, and it’s all reconfigurable too. In the center, a 10.2″ touchscreen integrates Cadillac CUE, working smoothly and responding quickly to inputs. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

A Surround Vision bird’s eye camera imaging system along with automatic front and rear braking, are standard. They’re amazing technologies that work together to prevent even a scratch on the glistening paint.

The CT6 can drive itself on the highway, park itself with the push of a button, and brake itself when backing up. It is truly the most advanced car on the road today and we highly recommend visiting a Cadillac dealer to experience the technology for yourself.

Summary Scorecard (1-10)
Ride and Handling 10
Braking 10
Powertrain and Fuel Economy 10
Noise 10
Headlights 10
Interior Fit and Finish 10
Seating 10
Visibility 10
Gauges and Controls 10
Infotainment 10
Crash-Avoidance 10
Total Score  100


Make: Cadillac
Model: CT6
Trim Level: Platinum
Engine: 3.0L V6
Transmission: 8-Speed Auto
Options: None

Base Price: $88,295
As-Tested Price: $89,290

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