Remember the old Saturday Night Live sketch/awful movie “It’s Pat”? The one where Julia Sweeney is the androgynous title character who drives everyone crazy because they can’t figure out what gender Pat is? The Cadillac CT6 is exactly like that. We auto journos love to categorize new cars, and when we first heard of the CT6, we were told at first that it would be Cadillac’s Mercedes S-Class fighter. Great. Then we were told it would be more of a BMW 5-Series fighter. Even better. Then it was unveiled, and it was neither. If it were a Mercedes, it would be a K-Class (or something between the E- and S-Class, anyway), if it were an Audi, it would be an A6.5. A BMW 5.5? You get the idea. And now that Cadillac has released pricing for the CT6, we’re no closer to pigeon-holing Cadillac’s for-now range-topper (a true S-Class fighter called the CT9 is on the way for 2020).
Maybe the closest analog to Cadillac’s growing lineup is Audi. Its A6 slots nicely between the A5 coupe and A7 sedan. But there’s a massive price gap between the cars; the A5 starts at $40,500, the A6 at $46,200, and the A7 at an intimidating $68,300. The gulf is even wider for ze other Germans, with a $43,000 divide between Mercedes’ base E-Class and S-Classes, and a $31,100 gap between BMW’s 5 and 7 Series. And while the CT6 is just a few inches smaller than the German’s range-toppers, it’s base price is much closer in line with the E-Class/5 Series/A6: $54,490.
This is by no means a bad thing. If the Germans have believed in one thing as of late, it’s building a model for everyone — even if they didn’t know they wanted it before. And Cadillac has done the seemingly impossible by finding a gap between these many, many models and pricing the car in a way that makes it competitive against as many of them as possible. It may have taken 35 years or so to play catch-up, but it’s beginning to look like Cadillac may have figured out how to beat the Germans at their own game.
In the press release announcing CT6 pricing, Cadillac chief (and former Audi of America boss) Johan de Nysschen summed up the car thusly: “The CT6 is an entirely new approach to prestige luxury, adding driving dynamics and technology while reducing the bulk of traditional large sedans,” adding “With the CT6, Cadillac has a competitive edge: our use of advanced lightweight construction and innovative technology, it is prestige luxury reimagined.”
But a big part of its competitive edge is the car’s price. It darts through the competition in a way that could really create chaos if the brand ever figures out how to get buyers into its showrooms. The $53,495 (plus a $990 destination fee) car is the CT6 2.0L Turbo, a rear-wheel drive version that borrows its 272 horsepower powerplant from the CTS sedan. For $55,495, buyers can upgrade to the all-wheel drive version and its 335 horsepower 3.6 liter V6. And from $64,395, the twin-turbo 3.0 liter V6 puts an impressive 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque down to all four wheels. The range-topping CT6 Platinum starts at $83,465 — just above the entry-level Audi A8 and BMW 7-Series, but still well below the $95,650 Mercedes S-Class.
So at its cheapest, the CT6 offers more than Audi’s A6, Mercedes’s E-Class, and BMW’s 5-Series, and at its most expensive, it can hold its own against the A8/7-Series/S-Class set. We still don’t know what exactly to compare it to, but that’s OK, because we’re starting to get a picture of what the CT6 really is: a troublemaker. We like that.
Like classics? It’s always Throwback Thursday somewhere.
Follow Derek on Twitter @CS_DerekS