LOS ANGELES, California — A hybrid powertrain may seem at first like the antithesis of what a Cadillac should be. It is an American car after all, and that means V-8s, smokey burnouts, and letting the world know who is in charge.
This common perception of motoring in the U.S. misses out on a grand history of quiet, comfortable, luxury cars purpose built to ply the nation’s endless network of highways. Cadillac remembers, and that’s why it sells the 2018 Cadillac CT6 2.0E Plug-In RWD.
Our short-term CT6 arrived with no options, but that doesn’t mean it lacked important luxuries. Notable standard features include the 16-way adjustable heated and ventilated front seats and a powered rear-window shade,
In my week with the luxury hybrid, I made two 50-mile round trips to Long Beach and a 100-mile excursion to-and-from Oxnard among with my regular commuting to-and-from the office. Despite the addition of more than two hundred miles of bonus driving, I still only had to fill up at the end of my time with the car.
Cadillac’s fullsize luxury sedan owes its long-legged range to an 18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery that’s tucked neatly between the rear seat and the trunk. The placement cuts into trunk space, which is down to 11 cu-ft. from the gas-only car’s 15.3 cu-ft., but there’s enough for grocery bags and my social media editor gear at the same time. The regenerative capacities of the brakes give the range a boost as well.
The gas engine and two rear motors offer a combined output of 335 hp and 432 lb-ft of torque, netting a 0-60 mph time of just 5.2 seconds. All that power is driven through the rear wheels via an electric variable transmission.
The result of this powertrain configuration is a car that’s surprisingly fun to drive as there are loads of torque on offer, at least when there’s electricity in the battery. When both electric and gas power turn the wheels at full chat, the CT6 breezes away from the traffic light with fierce efficiency. If the battery’s dead, the gas engine revs high with significant droning and less of the usual briskness.
I had a blast chucking our rear-wheel drive tester into twisty corners and freeway on-ramps as I navigated the spider web of SoCal freeways. The CT6 2.0E is eager to play the steering communicates well at any speed. I found myself pushing for more performance at every open corner as the car’s frisky personality egged me on to dig down into the bend.
On the freeway, the hybrid Caddy remains quiet even when the gas engine is kicks in. Ride quality feels athletic without being stiff or jarring, even as our tester tackled some poorly maintained roads. It serves as a great chauffer too—I drove a full car of passengers across the city during rush hour and they praised the big back seat and said they remained comfortable throughout the hour-long trek.
The carbon-fiber interior trim pieces featured woven-in copper that glitters in the light. There are some mid-grade plastics in a few spots in the cabin, which we found to be weak points in an otherwise well-designed ecosystem.
Plenty of technology comes standard on the CT6 plug-in to keep occupants entertained, relaxed, and safe. I could connect my personal and work phones to the 10-inch infotainment display with either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. The touch screen is moderately responsive, and can also be controlled with a track pad just below the center arm rest.
There’s a 360-degree parking-assist camera and plenty of driver assistance alerts. This includes lane departure, blind spot, and cross traffic warnings. The systems strike the perfect balance of sensitivity and don’t notify the driver too early or late. Adaptive cruise control delivers smooth and natural braking and acceleration, offering a comfortable and luxurious experience akin to being chauffeured.
Our CT6 2.0E stickered at $76,090 after destination, which gives the Caddy a unique place in the small-but-growing field of hybrid luxury cars. Its most expensive rival is the 2018 Lexus LS 500h, which starts at $79,510, followed by the 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid at $61,900—but neither is a plug-in hybrid. The smaller 2018 BMW 530e iPerformance sits at the bottom end of the price totem pole at $52,650.
The 2018 Cadillac CT6 2.0E Plug-In RWD can be seen as a harbinger of the new era of Cadillac. It blends the comfort and ease of the brand’s traditional luxuriousness while blending in excellent dynamics and well-executed safety systems. As a daily driver, my Caddy served as a superb companion, and I’ve already started to miss devouring insane mileage in comfort and quiet.
2018 Cadillac CT6 2.0E Plug-in RWD Specifications
|ENGINE||2.0L DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|COMBINED OUTPUT||335 hp, 432 lb-ft|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD Sedan|
|EPA MILEAGE||62 mpge (combined, electric+ gasoline)/25 mpg (combined, gasoline only)|
|EPA MAX EV RANGE||31 miles|
|240V CHARGE TIME||N/A|
|L x W x H||204.0 x 74.0 x 57.9 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.2 sec|