The 2016 Cadillac CT6 premiering at the New York International Auto Show in early April will continue along the same path as the brand’s other new rear-wheel-drive offerings with continued emphasis on the handling side of the ride/handling equation. Let’s call it a “sport-flagship,” a step up from a traditional sport sedan. Its aluminum body panels and aluminum-intensive construction will also get the base weight so low — 53 pounds lighter than the CTS, though the CT6 is 7 inches longer — that there were no qualms about offering General Motors’ 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder as the base engine.
Cadillac officials weren’t talking about that engine in a powertrain deep-dive preview, focusing instead on the headlining six-cylinders. The car will launch late in 2015 with a new twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 as its premium engine for now, mated to a heavy duty 8L90 eight-speed automatic and a new “continuously variable active on-demand” all-wheel-drive system. Rear-wheel drive will not be available with this engine, which is rated an “estimated” 400 hp @ 5,500 rpm and 400 pound-feet @ 2,500 rpm.
The 3.0-liter twin-turbo engine uses a supercharger-style, top-mounted intercooler, based on the C6 Corvette ZR1’s, for far charge-air plumbing and thus less lag, says assistant chief engineer Rich Bartlett. The engine’s timing chain features “non-round” holes to reduce noise, and the sprockets are coated in rubber to reduce valvetrain noise. Actual displacement for the new engine is just under 3.0 liters (2,997 cc), which gives it an advantage in China, where 3.0 liters is a threshold for higher taxes and regulations. Despite its twin turbos and high output, the 3.0 will not be labeled a Vsport engine, says Dave Muscaro, global chief engineer for the Cadillac V-6. The Cadillac CTS Vsport, with the older 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6, is rated 420 hp and 430 pound-feet.
The new 3.6-liter V-6 (pictured below) will come with rear- or all-wheel-drive CT6s, and will be mated to the new 8L45 eight-speed Hydra-Matic (with paddle shifters), based on the latest Chevrolet Corvette automatic. The new 3.6 falls just short of being rounded up to 3.7 liters with its 3,649-cc displacement, Muscaro says, while the current 3.6, offered in the Cadillac CTS and ATS as well as other rear- and front-wheel-drive General Motors vehicles, is almost a 3.5-liter at actual displacement of 3,564 cc. The new 3.6 is rated 335 hp and 284 lb-ft., and the two carryover parts are the single hydraulic lash adjuster and the roller-followers on cylinders one, three, four and six.
Both the naturally aspirated and the turbo V-6 will have cylinder shutoff, which cuts two of the six cylinders for better fuel efficiency at highway cruising speeds – the second and the fifth. Stop/start technology also will come standard with these two engines.
Both the twin-turbo 3.0 and the new naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V-6 are part of a new engine family that will spawn a new overhead-cam V-8, though we won’t see the eight before the end of the year, which means it won’t be in the 2016 Cadillac CT6 lineup immediately at launch. We’d expect a twin-turbo version of the new 3.6 for a CT6 Vsport. A breathed-on version of the new V-8 is rumored to be the basis for a CT6-V, though Cadillac has hinted it may not hot-rod this car. Cadillac has also confirmed plans for a hybrid version of the CT6.
Cadillac has left a lot more to be revealed when the CT6 makes its debut at New York on April 1. We know that it will be offered with all the latest technology and luxury features found in competitors from Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, and we suspect that pricing should approach six figures. And we know its size places it as a “tweener;” slightly smaller than the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Audi A8, and with a sportier character than those cars. As one insider put it, the 2016 Cadillac CT6 is designed to shake up the segment in much the same way as the A8 did when it first arrived.
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