Few top-of-the-line sedans epitomize the term “flagship” as does the 2020 Cadillac CT6. Arguably the carmaker’s crowning achievement of the past couple of decades, it checks all the boxes in the luxury-sedan segment. Despite Cadillac telegraphing the demise of the CT6 (maybe later this year?), it dropped a new, hand-built V8 twin-turbocharged engine in its upper grades for 2020. It also shook up the newest CT6’s trim levels and content.
Exactly as we visualize American luxury to be, the CT6 stuns with opulence, dazzles with technology and thrills with performance.
What’s New for 2020?
Certainly the biggest news is the addition of the hand-built Blackwing V8 twin-turbocharged engine powering the CT6 Platinum and the CT6-V sedans. There has also been some streamlining and reshuffling of trims. This season’s CT6 trims are the Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum, plus the CT6-V. See the 2020 Cadillac CT6 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Surprisingly sharp handling
- Lots of technology
- Generous feature content and interior space for the money
- Mind-blowing new V8 twin-turbo engine
What We Don’t
- Pricing can get nose-bleed high with options
- Relatively small trunk
Every CT6 is all-wheel drive (AWD) and uses a 10-speed automatic transmission with adjustable driving modes to usher power to all four wheels. Both engines also feature auto-start/stop. Under the hood of the Luxury and Premium Luxury grades is the 3.6-liter V6, producing 335 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque. Government-estimated mileage is a commendable 18 miles per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg in combined driving.
At the top of the performance heap is the all-new, hand-built Blackwing 4.2-liter V8 twin-turbo engine. This hand-signed V8 propels the CT6 Platinum and CT6-V. In the Platinum, it produces 500 hp and 574 lb-ft of torque. Estimated mileage numbers are 14 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/17 mpg combined. In the CT6-V, output is goosed to 550 hp and 640 lb-ft of torque. There are no published mileage estimates at this time. Cadillac claims a 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds in the Platinum and 3.8 seconds in the CT6-V.
Standard Features & Options
For 2020, Cadillac offers the CT6 in four trim levels: Luxury, Premium Luxury, Platinum and the higher-performance CT6-V. All prices include the $995 factory destination charge.
The Luxury ($59,990) comes standard with AWD, dual exhaust, 19-in alloy wheels, remote keyless entry with remote start, push-button start, active noise cancellation, capless fuel filler, heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, automatic high-beam assist, LED headlamps/taillamps, rain-sensing wipers, power panoramic sunroof, 14-way power-adjustable front seats, eight airbags, OnStar capability, Bluetooth connectivity, 8-speaker Bose audio system with satellite-radio capability, navigation system, USB ports, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, engine-sound enhancement, HD back-up camera, heated front seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather seating, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, teen-driver settings, wireless smartphone charging, automatic emergency braking with front pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning, front/rear park assist, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist and rear cross-traffic alert.
The Premium Luxury ($75,490) adds to the standard features with 20-in alloy wheels, active rear steering, automatic vehicle hold after full braking, magnetic ride control, 12-in color gauge cluster, color head-up display, ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, rear-camera mirror with washer, front cornering lamps, rear-seat infotainment with dual 10-in displays, quad-zone climate control, 16-way power-adjustable front seats, automatic parking assist with braking, heated steering wheel, upgraded 34-speaker Bose audio system, 360-degree surround monitor, upgraded leather seating with perforated inserts, infrared night vision, rear-side manual sunshades, rear pedestrian alert, adaptive cruise control and reverse automatic braking.
The Platinum ($98,790) comes standard with the new Blackwing V8, brake-pad wear indicator, high-performance Brembo brakes, 20-way power-adjustable front seats, 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat, magnesium steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and semi-aniline leather seating.
Several standard features on the upper trims can be had as options on the lower grades. Upper trims also qualify for the Super Cruise Driver Assistance package that can help the driver with several tasks like steering. It also includes the Driver Attention System, Advanced GPS and precision Lidar map data.
The high-performance CT6-V ($97,190) will be available in very limited numbers. Armed with the new 4.2-liter twin-turbo V8, the V also comes with most of the Platinum’s features as well as a performance suspension, unique Brembo brakes and driver-selectable driving modes including Track mode.
The 2020 CT6’s safety equipment features eight airbags including front-knee airbags and all the usual safety systems like traction control and stability control. Also standard is OnStar emergency communications. Safety/driver-assist technologies standard across the board are rearview camera, automatic high-beam assist, automatic emergency braking with front pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning, front/rear park assist, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist and rear cross-traffic assist.
Also standard on all but the Luxury grade are automatic parking assist, enhanced emergency braking, HD 360-degree surround-view monitor, night vision and reverse automatic braking.
The CT6 has not yet been crash-tested by a third party.
Behind the Wheel
This is not your granddaddy’s big Caddy. The CT6 is one of the most agile flagship sedans on the market, benefiting from a relatively low curb weight and excellent chassis tuning. Even the less dynamic V6 acquits itself rather nicely. It won’t drive you into your seat back when stomping on the accelerator, but it does step out smartly. The starring role in the CT6 lineup, however, belongs to the V8-powered Platinum trim.
After driving the Platinum, Executive Editor, Brian Moody says, “The big deal is the Blackwing 4.2-liter V8. It makes 500 hp and pulls hard from any speed including a dead stop. The 10-speed transmission puts the engine in its sweet spot literally ALL THE TIME. Given the size of the CT6, the amount of thrust seems almost impossible – I’m just so impressed at every turn and straightaway.” Cornering is very good too – the car is big, but it still feels nimble. The Blackwing version of the CT6 may have limited production so give your Cadillac dealer a call soon if a big sedan with TONS of power is your thing. If it’s not your thing, you need to change your thing.
A real high-point is the sound of the twin-turbo V8. As soon as you fire it up, it sounds like a powerful luxury sedan should.
Ride comfort is quite good, especially with the available magnetically controlled suspension, but in general, the CT6 lacks the suppleness and isolation you’ll find in a BMW 7 Series or the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Those cars still represent a step above — not surprising considering their substantially heftier price tags.
Inside, the CT6 boasts the highest craftsmanship and most tasteful styling from the brand in decades. Cadillac’s previously much-maligned touchscreen interface is also much easier to navigate now, though it can certainly be complicated for novice users.
We also like the available Panaray audio system. Sound quality is exceptional and separation is very good. It uses 34-speakers, including headrest-mounted speakers in the front seats. Lower trim levels also use Bose audio systems, one with 10-speakers and Centerpoint surround sound technology and one with 8-speakers.
But if space is a major concern, the CT6 won’t disappoint. It offers more back-seat room than smaller yet similarly priced luxury sedans (BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class). That back seat can also be equipped with heating, ventilation, massaging and power adjustments, a collection of pampering items many competitors do not offer.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Genesis G90 — Like the CT6, the Genesis G90 is a fairly recent entry into the flagship luxury sedan game. It, too, boasts more size and equipment than similarly priced sedans and is a compelling alternative as a result.
2020 Mercedes-Benz S-Class — The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is an exquisitely luxurious sedan that is the epitome of opulence and refinement.
2020 Lexus LS 500 — The LS should be considered against the upper CT6 trim levels. Much as the CT6 is a dramatic jump from past big Cadillacs, so too is the current LS from previous Lexus sedans. It is also one of the few big sedans to offer a hybrid.
Used Jaguar XJ — The CT6 and the Jaguar XJ have much in common. They’re both uniquely styled, relatively light in weight and possess lithe driving dynamics. Altogether, they’re compelling alternatives to the typical go-to German sedans. XJ prices are higher than the CT6’s, though, so you’ll want to consider a used model.
The 2020 Cadillac CT6 is an excellent full-size luxury sedan with impressive performance, a bold design inside and out and a lot of cutting-edge tech features. You can’t go wrong with either engine. Unless you must have all the bells and whistles (and that powerful V8), we think picking the Premium Luxury grade is the way to go. Find a Cadillac CT6 for sale