Kudos to Cadillac: it has gone and made a big saloon that looks and feels like no other. This isn’t some homogenised bland box either to look at or drive; it has real character and distinction. Those looks ain’t to my tastes, but hell, at least it's distinctive and recognisable as a Cadillac, when in truth the brand has no real right or expectation to be recognised as anything at all here in Europe.
Let’s start with the good stuff. It feels light on its feet, nimble even. It won’t necessarily thrill through corners, but it does display impressive agility and a lightness of touch. Although the Cadillac is no lighter than its rivals, all of the heavy steel bits have been put in the middle of the car, so with aluminium front and rear ends, a light engine and a long wheelbase, it turns in nicely and is easy to point out of a corner.
The four-wheel steering is probably playing a part in all this, although the CT6 may well feel lighter and more nimble still if you made it rear-drive only. Still, the steering itself is decent, offering good feel if not any real involvement.
The ride also scores points. This is a comfortable car. You can play around with the driving modes to increase the stiffness of the dampers, among other things, and there is a noticeable difference between the Normal mode, which is best for comfy cruising and displays impressive bump absorption around town, and Sport mode, which tightens the whole thing up without ruining comfort.
That comfort extends to the seats, both front and rear, and passengers in the back won’t be wanting for space. There’s impressive all-round visibility and the rear-view mirror can become a widescreen monitor at the touch of a button to give a much broader view of the road behind. It’s a nice touch.
So there’s a nice amount of good stuff, then, but there’s some so-so stuff, too. Such as the powertrain. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it refinement-wise, it just doesn’t feel as quick as the numbers suggest and the delivery is a bit all or nothing.
It doesn’t sound great, either. A lot of this is down to the eight-speed automatic it's hooked up to, a torque converter that spends far too long converting its torque while also having a nasty habit of holding the wrong gear. Throttle response is blunt, too. Oh, and the economy is pretty dire; if you’re going to go with a big, powerful petrol engine and not a diesel, you might as well just stick a V8 in.
Where the CT6 really loses out against its rivals is the interior. At first glance it all looks rather lovely, with a big touchscreen, a big digital instrument cluster, lots of fancy-looking materials and some nice touches such as a little sleeve where you can tuck your smartphone out of the way and have it charged wirelessly.
But when you actually use it all, the graphics on the infotainment system are underwhelming, as is the touchpad you can use to control it as an alternative. And while those materials look okay, when you’re really up close and interacting with them they just lack the robust, quality feeling you’ll get in a German luxury saloon.