Cadillac rolls out Su­per Cruise hands-free driv­ing sys­tem for 2018 CT6 lux­ury sedan

The News-Times - - AUTOFRIDAY - By G. Cham­bers Wil­liams III

Cadillac’s CT6 full-size premium sedan ar­rived for 2016, and now Gen­eral Mo­tors’ lux­ury brand has added the all-new Su­per Cruise hands-free driv­ing sys­tem as an op­tion be­gin­ning with the 2018 model.

For $5,000 ex­tra on the Premium Lux­ury model or no ex­tra charge on the top-end CT6 Plat­inum, Su­per Cruise brings hands-free driv­ing tech­nol­ogy for the high­way. The au­tomaker says Su­per Cruise dif­fers from other driver-as­sist sys­tems in that it uses a driver-at­ten­tion sys­tem and pre­ci­sion LiDAR map data to steer the ve­hi­cle and keep it in its cho­sen lane, al­though the tech­nol­ogy works only on lim­ited-ac­cess di­vided high­ways – ones that have ded­i­cated on- and off-ramps.

The CT6 Su­per Cruise sys­tem uses those two ex­tra fea­tures to com­ple­ment the cam­eras and radar sen­sors around the ve­hi­cle that are de­signed to help de­fine the lane and make sure the ve­hi­cle doesn’t stray out­side the lines.

Our re­cent week­long test drive of the 2018 CT6 Premium Lux­ury All-Wheel-Drive model (base price $69,295 plus $995 freight) equipped with Su­per Cruise gave us some hands-on – or, rather, hands-off – ex­pe­ri­ence with this sys­tem.

Dur­ing in­ter­state high­way driv­ing – with a min­i­mum of two lanes in each di­rec­tion and the usual lim­ited ac­cess – Su­per Cruise did a cred­i­ble job of man­ag­ing the steer­ing ef­fort at high­way speeds of 65-75 mph (and slower as con­di­tions war­ranted). On some long stretches of in­ter­state, this sys­tem proved to be use­ful – but of course only as long as the driver (me) kept eyes on the road and at­ten­tion to the task of keep­ing the drive safe.

Su­per Cruise also uses adap­tive cruise con­trol to keep the ve­hi­cle within a safe dis­tance of any ve­hi­cle it is fol­low­ing, a fea­ture that of course must be part of any self-driv­ing sys­tem.

Now, would I rec­om­mend spend­ing the ex­tra $5,000 to add Su­per Cruise to the CT6 Premium Lux­ury model? Prob­a­bly not if I were on a bud­get, but then I fig­ure most peo­ple choos­ing to buy a higher-end ver­sion of the CT6 wouldn’t re­ally have to worry about whether they could af­ford the ex­tra dough. And if money were no ob­ject, then yes, I would add Su­per Cruise to my CT6, or just buy the Plat­inum model that al­ready in­cludes it – mostly be­cause I love tech­nol­ogy and would have fun play­ing with it.

And while I never rec­om­mend such a dan­ger­ous prac­tice as tex­ting while driv­ing, Cadillac says the Su­per Cruise sys­tem can help the driver while he or she is us­ing the nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, ad­just­ing the au­dio sys­tem or tak­ing a phone call.

The CT6 is larger and roomier than the mid­size Cadillac CTS sedan, and it comes with a choice of three en­gines: the base 2.0-liter tur­bocharged in­line four-cylin­der with 265 horse­power and 295 foot-pounds of torque; a 3.6-liter nor­mally as­pi­rated V-6 with 335 horse­power and 284 foot-pounds of torque; and, for those of us who like more power, a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that cranks out 404 horse­power and 400 foot­pounds of torque. There is also a CT6 V-Sport model com­ing for 2019, with a 4.2-liter twin­turbo V-8 en­gine rated at 550 horse­power and 627 foot-pounds of torque.

Our test ve­hi­cle for this re­port was the CT6 Premium Lux­ury AWD model, which came with the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 en­gine and a host of stan­dard fea­tures, along with $11,700 in op­tions (in­clud­ing Su­per Cruise). That ran the to­tal sticker price to $81,990, in­clud­ing freight.

Other op­tions in­cluded the 34-speaker Bose Pa­naray au­dio sys­tem ($3,700), 20-inch Mid­night Sil­ver al­loy wheels ($2,095), Satin Steel Metal­lic ex­te­rior paint ($625), and an in­te­rior pro­tec­tion pack­age ($280) with floor and cargo-area mats.

Among stan­dard fea­tures on our tester was the rearview mir­ror that has a cam­era sys­tem that gives the driver a com­pletely un­ob­structed view to the rear – with no head­rests or body el­e­ments block­ing the way. The reg­u­lar mir­ror is there, too – the driver can choose the cam­era view by flip­ping the lever at the bot­tom of the mir­ror just like chang­ing from day to night view on a stan­dard rearview mir­ror.

Other tech­nolo­gies in­clude Ac­tive Rear Steer, Mag­netic Ride Con­trol and se­lectable drive modes, as well as Auto Ve­hi­cle Hold, a driver-se­lectable fea­ture that pre­vents for­ward/rear­ward ve­hi­cle creep when the driver’s foot is off the brake. It re­duces fa­tigue dur­ing heavy stop-andgo traf­fic and im­proves ve­hi­cle con­trol on steep grades. Some SUV mod­els have a sim­i­lar tech­nol­ogy that most call “hill hold.”

The CT6 also of­fers the in­dus­try’s first sur­round-view video record­ing sys­tem, which can record front and rear views while driv­ing, and can do 360 de­grees of record­ing if the ve­hi­cle’s se­cu­rity sys­tem is ac­ti­vated. It records onto an SD card.

There is also En­hanced Night Vi­sion, which helps iden­tify peo­ple and an­i­mals in the ve­hi­cle’s path, dis­play­ing them on the in­stru­ment-panel dis­play for the driver in­for­ma­tion cen­ter. This is part of the Su­per Cruise Pack­age, which also brought front and rear au­to­matic brak­ing.

Other fea­tures in­clude Ad­vanced Park As­sist, which can al­most park the car by it­self, and Pedes­trian Col­li­sion Mit­i­ga­tion, which gives the driver alerts to dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions. Both are stan­dard on the Premium Lux­ury model we had, along with lane de­par­ture warn­ing and lane-keep as­sist, au­to­matic safety belt tight­en­ing, rear crosstraf­fic alert, and side blind-zone alert.

We also had a head-up dis­play that pro­jected the ve­hi­cle’s speed and other in­for­ma­tion on the lower edge of the wind­shield di­rectly in front of the driver.

The Jet Black leather in­te­rior in­cluded two very com­fort­able heated bucket seats up front, with 16-way power ad­just­ment for the driver and front pas­sen­ger. The rear bench seat can hold three peo­ple com­fort­ably, and there is no lack of leg or knee room. Also in­cluded is a power-op­er­ated trunk lid, which has hands-free op­er­a­tion.

There’s also a very cool wide­view sun­roof, and the rear side win­dows have man­ual sun­shades. They can in­ter­fere with the driver’s side vi­sion, though.

Our tester’s twin-turbo V-6 en­gine pro­vided out­stand­ing pickup, and the eight-speed trans­mis­sion shifted smoothly. Han­dling was pre­cise and pre­dic­tive, even on some twisty coun­try roads.

EPA rat­ings for the 3.0-liter en­gine are 18 mpg city/26 high­way/21 com­bined.

PHOTO: CADILLAC

The 2018 Cadillac CT6 is avail­able with Cadillac’s new Su­per Cruise, a hands-free driv­ing tech­nol­ogy for lim­ited-ac­cess high­ways. Su­per Cruise is a $5,000 op­tion.

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