The CT6 Plug-In is Cadillac’s answer to the growing market for premium plug-in hybrid vehicles that deliver greater efficiency and environmental performance, while also offering the high levels of luxury, comfort, and advanced on-board electronics expected by premium car buyers. All this brought recognition in Washington DC this year as the CT6 Plug-In was honored as Green Car Journal’s 2018 Connected Car of the Year™ for these attributes and its suite of sophisticated electronics
This is not Cadillac’s first go at a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Its initial effort was the ELR produced from 2013-2016, a beautifully-designed plug-in luxury coupe that did not find a ready market at the time and is no longer in the Cadillac line. This new $75,000 CT6 Plug-In, based the acclaimed Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan, is a significantly stronger effort that offers plenty to the luxury car buyer including sophisticated style, a refined and accommodating cabin, and very satisfying performance.
Power is provided by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 265 horsepower with 295 lb-ft torque. It works with twin 100 horsepower electric motors integrated into a newly developed electric variable transmission that delivers power to the rear wheels. This combination provides a total system output of 335 horsepower and 432 lb-ft torque in what Cadillac call a blended hybrid configuration.
An 18.4 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack located between the rear seat and trunk provides the CT6 Plug-In a battery electric range of 31 miles at speeds up to 78 mph. This pack can be charged overnight from a standard 120-volt outlet or in about 4.5 hours with a 240-volt charger. Only an incidental amount of charging come from the gasoline engine/generator. Regenerative braking also delivers electricity to the batteries.
Along with electric-only mode, a driver has a choice of three other operating modes – Normal, Sport, and Hold. In Normal mode, the system switches between electric-only, hybrid, and gasoline engine-only operation to optimize performance and fuel economy. In Sport mode, this plug-in hybrid delivers more aggressive throttle response for quicker acceleration, plus sportier steering. Hold mode conserves battery capacity for urban driving at a later time and uses the gasoline engine for highway driving or higher speed conditions.
The CT6 Plug-In’s 31 mile all electric-range is likely to fit the daily driving needs of many drivers, which means zero-emission motoring every day. Beyond that, this plug-in hybrid’s combined driving range of about 440 miles with a full charge and 15.6-gallon tank fits all possible driving needs, meaning no range anxiety and no compromises. EPA estimates the car’s fuel efficiency while driving on battery power at an equivalent 62 mpg (MPGe), with overall efficiency on hybrid power rated at 23 city and 29 highway mpg, which is quite respectable for a luxury vehicle weighing in at over two tons.
Regen on Demand allows the use of steering wheel-mounted paddles to select a desired level of brake regeneration and regen-induced brake drag, from light to very aggressive. Using more aggressive regen delivers significant levels of drag and stopping power when lifting off the accelerator, allowing conventional brakes to be reserved for those instances when maximum braking is desired or required. Exclusively using the throttle and paddles delivers in more refined and fun driving experience.
The CT6 Plug-In’s connectivity and on-board electronics capabilities are impressive. Among these systems is the automaker’s CUE Information and Media Control System with Navigation and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto capability, OnStar 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless cellphone charging, and Bluetooth with voice recognition. A rear camera mirror camera and automatic parking enhance convenience. Driver awareness systems includes Forward Collision Alert that monitors traffic ahead and alerts if a collision is imminent. A Following Distance indicator in the Driver Information Center displays following time relative to the vehicle ahead. Surround Vision provides a birds-eye view of the vehicle’s surroundings.
Of course, the CT6 Plug-In is well-equipped with driver assist systems. Lane Keep Assist gently steers the car if it’s determined a driver is unintentionally leaving a lane when directional signals are not used. Side Blind Zone Alert displays a warning in the outside rearview mirrors when a vehicle is detected in a blind spot, or if a car is rapidly approaching that spot. Also included is Adaptive Cruise Control, which automatically accelerates and brakes to maintain a driver-selected following distance to the vehicle ahead. Forward and Reverse Automatic Braking senses front or rear collisions and applies brakes as needed. Night vision and a reconfigurable head-up display are also welcome additions.
Cadillac’s CT6 Plug-In is an exceptionally well-crafted luxury vehicle that delivers all the features expected in its class, with the addition of leading-edge electronics that enhance convenience and safety. It delivers a premium driving experience with responsive handling and welcome performance, all the while providing increased efficiency and the option of zero-emission driving that’s increasingly desired in today’s new-generation vehicles. It’s a job very well done.