This is the car that Cadillac has been waiting for. Since 1999, when the Evoq debuted in all its cutting Art & Science design. Since 2001, when the CTS burst onto the luxury segment with that same design language to the tune of Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll anthem. Since Cadillac express that Art & Science as a flagship luxury sedan as the Sixteen concept in 2003. Since 2013, when GM chose the grand stage of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance to present the Elmiraj concept, a reimagining of the luxury sedan flagship with Cadillac’s evolving design language.

No more looking back. This is Cadillac’s present, and its presence is unmistakable.

What you see before you is the fulfillment of Cadillac’s potential and the ultimate expression of the brand. The Cadillac of Cadillacs, if you will. Though the Escalade has carried the torch for the brand in the public eye for some time now, there is a grand tradition of large, powerful sedans from Cadillac, and with the 2016 CT6, Cadillac aims to reignite that tradition and compete with the world’s very best, the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8 and Lexus LS. It is also the centrepiece of Cadillac’s future sedan that will mark the eventual departure of the XTS (hat tip to former contributor Mark Stevenson) and realignment of its car lineup from top to bottom.

As such, the CT6 is the template for future products so its technology and underpinnings are the foundation for the brand moving forward. Working our way from the inside out, the CT6 development started with the aim of having a world-class structure, and to that Cadillac put its 12-billion dollar slush fund to good use engineering an aluminum intensive lightweight frame that required entirely new manufacturing methods to execute. Nonetheless, it promises impressive results, targeting a curb weight under 1,700 kg in production form, which would it lighter than not only the BMW 7 Series or Mercedes S-Class, but also the aluminum veterans Audi A8 (1,980 kg) and Jaguar XJ (1,884 kg). This is particularly impressive as the CT6 offers a longer wheelbase than any of the standard wheelbase versions of the aforementioned vehicles and greater overall length, though not as much as long-wheelbase trims.

This light weight allows for a surprising base engine: the 2.0L turbo that we more commonly see in the compact luxury segment, though when you consider that the Mercedes-Benz C 300 4 Matic weighs in at 1,625 kg, about one average human less than the CT6’s target, it doesn’t sound so unreasonable. The 2.0T is currently estimated at 265 hp, but in the CTS this engine already runs 272 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, so I expect at least that if not more. Where the 2.0T can’t be faulted is its smoothness, as Cadillac’s is one of the smoothest 2.0T engines on the market.

The 2.0T will be joined at launch by two V6 engines. While “3.6L V6” sounds pretty familiar in the GM engine catalogue, GM representatives at the event were adamant that the design is entirely new (one engineer tried to highlight this fact by showing the one carryover piece – a bolt) and bound to be exclusive to the Cadillac brand. With direct injection and variable valve timing, the naturally aspirated V6 will make 335 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque.

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