Automotive

Cadillac confirms a light, agile CT6 flagship is in the works

Cadillac confirms a light, agi...
2013 Cadillac Elmiraj (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag.com)
2013 Cadillac Elmiraj (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag.com)
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2011 Cadillac Ciel concept
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2011 Cadillac Ciel concept
Cadillac revealed the Ciel at the 2011 Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach
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Cadillac revealed the Ciel at the 2011 Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach
The Ciel was imagined as a "celebration of open-air motoring"
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The Ciel was imagined as a "celebration of open-air motoring"
2011 Cadillac Ciel concept
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2011 Cadillac Ciel concept
A peek inside the Ciel
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A peek inside the Ciel
Inside the Elmiraj concept (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag.com)
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Inside the Elmiraj concept (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag.com)
2013 Cadillac Elmiraj (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag.com)
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2013 Cadillac Elmiraj (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag.com)
Cadillac debuted the Elmiraj at the 2013 Concours d'Elegance Pebble Beach (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag.com)
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Cadillac debuted the Elmiraj at the 2013 Concours d'Elegance Pebble Beach (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag.com)
2013 Cadillac Elmiraj (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag.com)
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2013 Cadillac Elmiraj (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag.com)
The 2013 Elmiraj was powered by a 500-hp twin-turbo V8 (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag.com)
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The 2013 Elmiraj was powered by a 500-hp twin-turbo V8 (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag.com)
Cadillac will build its new flagship at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant
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Cadillac will build its new flagship at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant
Cadillac will build its new flagship at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant
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Cadillac will build its new flagship at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant

Reports of an upmarket Cadillac flagship – something to battle imports like the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series – have been surfacing for years, intensifying after last year's Elmiraj concept. GM's luxury brand has finally given the official confirmation, announcing plans to begin production on the CT6 flagship by the end of 2015.

Save perhaps for the C7 Corvette, we can't think of another recent GM vehicle subject to more rumors than the Cadillac flagship. When Cadillac's current flagship car, the XTS, debuted as a concept back in 2010, it was understood that the model would likely be a stopgap, sitting at the top of the post-STS/DTS line, but not eye to eye with the German flagships.

Back in 2011, as Cadillac was clearing out the last of the STS/DTS models in preparation for the XTS launch, global marketing director James R. Vurpillat told WardsAuto: "Our priority is to get the main segments covered. Then we can start thinking of cars in the S-Class and 7 Series range. I’d like to have a car like the concept Cadillac Sixteen."

2011 Cadillac Ciel concept
2011 Cadillac Ciel concept

Cadillac has fueled the idea of a super-XTS flagship ever since, showing stylish, top-shelf concept cars like the Ciel and Elmiraj. When introducing those two concepts at respective Concours d'Elegance Pebble Beach events, it used foreshadowing in language like "product ascent," "range-topping flagship" and "top of Cadillac's range." In the absence of any official flagship confirmation, however, only rumor tied those concepts to upcoming products. That is, until this month, when Cadillac confirmed that a flagship sedan is indeed in the works.

"The objective for this upcoming model is to lift the Cadillac range by entering the elite class of top-level luxury cars," said Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen. "Currently in development, this new rear wheel drive-oriented sedan uses completely new, custom-designed materials on a unique vehicle architecture."

With the new model, Cadillac is also launching a new naming structure, leaving the "TS" convention in the past. The new flagship will go by the CT6 moniker, setting a precedent of familiar letters like "CT" to identify the model and a number to show its level within the greater Cadillac lineup.

"As we expand the portfolio, we can assist consumers in placing the cars within a structure, as they compare cars both within our showroom and across the market generally," explains Cadillac chief marketing officer Uwe Ellinghaus. "However, this will be an evolutionary process – we will only change a product’s name when the product itself is redesigned or an all-new model is created, as in this instance."

Cadillac plans to reveal the CT6 in the first half of 2015, putting it into production in the fourth quarter of that year. That timeframe is a bit off for the launch of Super Cruise automated driving, according to the "2017 model year" quoted earlier this month by GM CEO Mary Barra. However, between Barra's admission that Super Cruise would launch on a model in a new segment and Cadillac's description of the CT6 as a "high-technology" car, it seems very likely the CT6 will be the first Super Cruise-equipped model in Cadillac's line.

Whether that means Cadillac will get the tech to market on the 2016 CT6, sooner than Barra announced, or will wait a model year remains to be seen. Or maybe it has a 2017 Ciel-inspired CT6 Roadster in the works?

The car's "high tech" designation also relates to its construction. The CT6's new architecture will incorporate lightweight materials and new construction techniques. Cadillac anticipates the CT6 being the lightest sedan in its class.

Cadillac will build its new flagship at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant
Cadillac will build its new flagship at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant

Cadillac's busy media department also announced last week that the luxury brand will become its own business unit, opening global headquarters in New York City next year. That move won't affect manufacturing, however, and the CT6 will join the ELR in being produced at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant. The plant was recently upgraded with CT6-specific tooling as part of a greater US$384 million investment in the facility.

Given Cadillac's first half of 2015 timeline and the car's built-in-Detroit roots, we'll be looking for this one at next year's North American International Auto Show. Then again, with Cadillac moving operations to the Big Apple, there's the chance we may have to wait until the New York Auto Show a few months later.

Source: General Motors

7 comments
P17
Only a wealthy fool would buy anything other than a BMW or Mercedes. They are far superior to any other mass produced cars on the road. You only have to drive an old one to feel the quality of engineering, materials, and design that goes into each and every BMW or Mercedes. Personally, I favour Mercedes, and I truly would never be seen dead in a piece of crass metal from the US. Chrysler-Jeep's reinvention by FIAT is now paying dividends. The technology and interior quality is now on par with most other brands, but still falls short of Mercedes. Don't feel offended, I wouldn't buy a Japanese or Korean car either. The Europeans make the best cars by far. Once Asian and American designers relinquish their bold, brash, trashy approach, there'll be better cars coming from these areas of the world. It's not about performance (before the PS4/Xbox generation have a go) it's about class and there are no classy American or Asian automotive products I'm afraid. If there were, you'd see the nouveau riche peoples of the East driving them....they're not, they all drive European cars.
BigGoofyGuy
From what I have read, they do buy American cars, especially Cadillac. There are some very nice luxury cars coming from Asia. I think this car from Cadillac is very nice. It would be neat if they build the Urba concept vehicle. IMO, it is compact and cool. Lincoln also makes some very nice luxury cars. I have a friend who leases one and loves it. It is a luxury hybrid. This is not to say that Mercedes and BMW don't make great cars. I own a Mercedes. I drive a Smart Fortwo. It is made by Mercedes and very well built. I had owned Nissan vehicles in the past and they are really reliable.
owlbeyou
There are high end Asian cars that one can find to be very classy, and at a fraction of the cost of German machines. If Mr. Master thinks cheaper means less classy, fine. He has his opinions. I am surprised he didn't include Audi in the lot. In the last ten years or so, Cadillacs have been given garrish styling, but some people like that. I'm sure they are comfortable and smooth, but certainly not my cup of tea.
wahip
Interestingly, Cadillac, Buick and Lincoln finishes far ahead of BMW in the JD Power 3-year reliability rankings of consumer-reported issues. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/02/12/used-cars-less-dependable-jdpower/5403139 Fully 7 of 16 brands here are Japanese, dispelling the myth of "European superiority". While Mercedes did well here, I'm sure many remember their dishonesty during the "bio-degradable wiring" fiasco from 10-15 years ago, that left many consumers believing the 3-pointed star was a badge of wealthy fools!
George Kafantaris
"We must develop corporate processes, policies, mindsets, behaviors, attitudes, which are right sized for Cadillac and which are immersed in focusing on and responding to what it takes to win in the premium segment. No distractions . No side shows. No cross- brand corporate considerations. No homogenized lowest common denominator approach. Just pure, unadulterated, CLASS." -- Johan de Nysschen. Watch out BMW and Mercedes-Benz -- Cadillac has you figured out to a T. Give 'me Hell, Johan. They've been riding the gravy train far too long.
Jay Finke
@ The Master Mr Bates, are we talking from experience, of maybe a mechanic viewpoint of what is actually a good car, or are we just talking. Personally I don't care for my ride to smell like formaldehyde, witch bmw and benz interiors stink of,. The smart thing to do is buy a automobile that is made in your country by that countries local business. One breakdown in your fancy foreign car can cost $10,000.or more. you've been luck so far, see what you think when the ship hits the fan and that car of yours breaks down. and this is what you can look forward to.. No parts, we need to order them only takes a few days How much, you got to be kidding, $300 for a set of 6 plugs. $900 for a water pump"is that installed? NO ! and headlights, don't get me started. Support your local economy, be part of the solution not the problem !
Riaanh
Wow, there sure is a lot of hot air coming from the mouths of the Cadillac team. Let's hope they can live up to the hype they are creating. I had an Audi A4 and I must say understated elegance is something that the Germans does well. I agree with "The Master" that a lot of the luxury Asians and Yanks tanks does not quite get it. - But I also had quite a lot of small niggly problems with the car, stuff which would not have broken on an Asian car.