Cadillac CT6 provides smooth ride

Cadillac’s newest and biggest luxury sedan, the 2016 CT6, is roomy, stylish and surprisingly agile and comes with innovative features such as cameras that can record the car’s surroundings, even when the driver isn’t there.

The CT6 also is the most fuel- efficient full-size, non-hybrid, gasoline-powered luxury sedan in the U.S., where it is rated by the federal government at 22 miles per gallon in city driving and 31 mpg on highways. This is for a base rear-wheel drive CT6 with 265-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Consumer Reports labeled the CT6, which debuted for the 2016 model year, a recommended buy and predicted it will have good reliability.

The CT6’s pricing range is so broad that it is competitive with both mid-size and large luxury competitors from major German brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz. This is mainly because the CT6 is available with a choice of three engines and none is a V8.

The starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including delivery charge, is $54,490 for a base rear-wheel drive five-passenger 2016 CT6 with a fuel-thrifty turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

This compares with $53,075 for a mid-size 2016 Mercedes E300 with a 241-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder.

The lowest starting retail price, including delivery charge, for a 2016 CT6 with all-wheel drive is $56,490, and this includes a 335-horsepower non-turbocharged V6 engine.

By comparison, a mid-size 2016 BMW 535i xDrive with a 300-horsepower turbo six-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive has a starting retail price of $59,145.

The starting retail price for a 2016 CT6 with the top engine – a 404-horsepower twin-turbo V6 – starts at $65,390 and can exceed $88,000. This makes the CT6 the priciest of Cadillac’s cars.

All CT6s with V6 engines come with standard all-wheel drive. Rear-wheel drive is available only with the base four-cylinder engine.

The CT6 slots above the heretofore largest Cadillac sedan – the full-size XTS, which is 2 inches shorter than the CT6.

The XTS is still in showrooms with a starting price of $46,290 for a 2016 model. But the XTS is front-wheel drive, when many luxury car buyers prefer rear-drive, which limits the XTS’ potential.

The CT6 has a unique character for America’s Cadillac brand.

Rather than being a heavy, bloated car, the CT6 is looks sleek, is packed with technology and surprisingly light for a 17-foot-long car. Because of lightweight aluminum in the chassis and body sheet metal, the CT6 weighs less than expected, at just 4,371 pounds.

The engines, which are just 2 liters to 3.6 liters in displacement, perform well.

The test-driven CT6, which had the vehicle’s top 404-horsepower turbo V6, energetically attacked hilly mountain roads and zipped past slower cars on highways. The engine torque peaks at 400 foot-pounds starting at 2,500 rpm and carrying to 5,100 rpm.

All of the power comes through a modern eight-speed automatic transmission that shifted smoothly in the test car.

The CT6 felt powerful but not raucous, refined and unexpectedly agile. In fact, the CT6 didn’t drive like a big sedan. It handled like a smaller car, with body motions noticeably muted on twisty roads and in long sweeping curves.

The test-driven car had 20-inch tires and provided a firm ride, with a bit more road feel than some passengers might want.

The interior was pleasantly quiet and let the 34-speaker Bose Panaray sound system really shine.

Among the other features on the top-of-the-line CT6 Platinum model was a surround-view night-vision camera system and a cluster of gauges that the driver can configure.

The four cameras are a first from an auto manufacturer for a consumer car and can be activated by the driver while the car is moving or can record while the car is disturbed while parked.

An ample, 40.2 inches of rear legroom is good for even tall passengers, but the CT6’s 15.3-cubic-foot trunk is smaller than the 18-cubic-footer of the XTS.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported one safety recall. Up to 131 CT6s could be missing bolts needed to attach the front-seat passenger seat belt webbing to anchor plates.

This could prevent the seat belts from properly restraining front-seat passengers during crashes.