July 29th, 2016 at 3:35pm
Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.
Reviewer: John McElroy
Vehicle: 2017 Cadillac CT6
Price: $53,495 – $87,495
Cadillac is by no means the first to the market with 4-wheel- steering. I believe that distinction goes to the Honda Prelude, which offered a mechanically operated system in the late 1980’s. Mazda offered an electrically operated system in the 626 around the same time. And General Motors briefly offered it in the early 2000′s on pickups and SUVs. Several automakers offer it today, but this is a technology that never fired up the public’s imagination.
That’s probably because four-wheel- steering is not very noticeable, unless you really pay attention. At low speeds you might think, “Hmm, this car has a good turning radius.” At highway speed you might think, “Hmm, this car steers well.” But you’ll never think, “OMG, four wheel steering is the best thing that ever happened to me!”
And yet, 4WS truly enhances the Cadillac CT6 driving experience. This is a 17- foot long sedan, as long as a Cadillac Escalade. But it has a turning radius that is two feet smaller than the Escalade. That makes it much easier to maneuver in tight parking or U-turn situations.
Check out this video to see 4WS in action:
At highway speeds 4WS gives this car excellent stability. You can snap the steering wheel to dart into another lane with almost no body sway or steering corrections. And while I don’t recommend driving that way, this is exactly what you want in an emergency situation.
Cadillac is offering 4WS as part of a $3,300 option package which includes magnetic ride control and 20” aluminum wheels. In my book, if you are a serious driver, it’s worth it.
This was my first driving exposure to the CT6 and I was impressed by several features besides 4WS. The new 3-liter twin-turbo V6 is flawless. Powerful and responsive, most people could be fooled into thinking it’s a V8. I averaged 22 mpg, slightly better than the EPA label.
The interior design of the car is well crafted and now rivals that of its best luxury competitors. And the CUE infotainment system is much improved, though it’s still too easy to trigger the volume control when you’re trying to change a radio station. But there was one flaw that made me hate stop and go driving in this car. As you come to a slow stop, there’s a lurch as the 8-speed transmission downshifts from 2nd gear to 1st at around 4 mph. I don’t expect to find that in any car, much less the flagship of a luxury brand.
Cadillac is getting very close to becoming a serious player in the luxury segment again. But a car that is 99.9% good is not good enough. Nothing short of perfection will pry people out of their Benzes and Bimmers.