2017 CADILLAC CT6 3.0L TWIN-TURBO LUXURY AWD
Built on GM'S full-size Omega platform, the CT6 marks a point of divergence with other contemporary Cadillacs insofar as it utilizes a core rear-wheel drive architecture – with available allwheel drive – and is the first fullullsize rear-driving model since thehe Fleetwood was retired in 1996.
Unlike the Fleetwood of old,, however, the CT6 is not availableble with a V8. Rather, the CT6 is powered by a trio of smaller engines: a 2.0L turbo four, a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 and a normally aspirated 3.6L V6.
The pattern of putting a larger displacement turbo six into a large rear-wheel drive sedan – a traditional V8 platform – is really beginning to o take hold. The forthcoming 2018 Lexus LS, also a rear-wheel drive car, will come with a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6, which will replace the 4.6L V8 in the outgoing car. Kia is going a similar route, with its forthcoming Stinger gran turismo, which will also feature a twin-turbo V6 in the place of a V8.
While some may still suggest a V8 is the price of entry in the segment, or at least to be taken seriously, the manufacturers are beginning to see things differently.
Personally, I don't think the lack of a V8 makes the CT6 any less of a legitimate full-size luxury sedan.
The very well-appointed Luxury model I drove for two weeks features a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 that produces 404 horsepower and 400 lb-ft. of torque.
Tuned to deliver V8-like performance, the 3.0L V6 has a flat torque curve (peak output begins at just 2,500 rpm) that makes the CT6 pretty quick off the line for a long and relatively heavy car. A paddle-shift eightspeed automatic and available all-wheel drive also adds to the CT6'S get-up and go.
The interior, as one might imagine, is quite plush. An impr impressive mix of soft-touch fabri fabrics and attractive plastics and metallic trim accents give the CT6 a pleasingly refined and tasteful personality, and while I'm not the biggest fan of the Cadillac's CUE infotainment interface, the 10.2inch navi touchscreen looks great and was easy to use.
A console-mounted touchpad came in handy, as did the inductive cell phone charge slot tucked into the console armrest.
On the road, the CT6 offers a hushed, almost tomb-like ride. The outside world rarely intrudes, except when you choose to stand on the accelerator which will cause the turbo V6 to emit a nice growl.
Several driving modes are available, but a dynamic, white-knuckle driving experience isn't what the CT6 is all about – a comfortable, quiet ride in a cabin filled with the latest luxury tech is, and the big Caddy delivers on that score.
And up until very recently, I counted myself among them.
Until I checked the numbers while preparing to write this story, I didn't know the X5 sport ute finished a solid number two behind the venerable 3 Series on the BMW Canada sales chart.
I figured BMW'S roster of smaller SUVS, such as the X1, X3 or X4, would've sold better in a land with a taste for small cars, but there it is in black and white – the X5 finished 2016 only 510 units behind the 3 Series.
So why are Canadians warming to the X5?
Well, after spending a week in one very well-optioned Space Grey Metallic xdrive35i tester, a few things occur to me.
One, the X5 inspires on-road confidence, especially in bad weather. With 209 millimetres (8.2 inches) of ground clearance, standard xdrive all-wheel drive and winter tires, encountering a snowstorm on the way home from work (as I did) is nothing to fear.
The X5 tracked straight and true on slush and snowcovered Toronto-area roads, with immediate traction from rest, controlled braking and confident handling. I encountered very little loss of traction and was especially impressed with the way the X5 hooked up immediately during uphill starts.
With 300 horsepower and a very accessible 300 lb-ft. of torque (peak begins at just 1,200 rpm) on tap, the 3.0L Twinpower inline six-cylinder engine can hustle the X5 along with impressive haste and makes short work of snow.
The next thing I am struck by is the level of comfort the X5 provides. The interior isn't the most visually inviting – it's a little too dark for me – but the look and feel of the controls, leather seating areas and trim materials are first rate. Plus, there's a long list of standard equipment.
Finally, the X5 has a lot of room and versatility with folding rear seats and a split power lift gate which makes loading and unloading a breeze. If you have a family and / or have lots of stuff, the X5 has 1,870 litres of cargo space ready and willing to swallow about as much as you can cram into it.
As I alluded to earlier, there are some downsides to the X5.
It can get expensive in a hurry (my tester has $26,000 worth of options), its considerable bulk (2,100 kg) burns through a lot of premium fuel, and rearward visibility isn't great due to big c-pillars.
With all that said, however, the X5 offers a lot of car for the money, with ample amounts of capability, performance and style.