On Tuesday night at a party in a former warehouse at the Brooklyn Navy Yards, Cadillac unveiled its new flagship sedan, the CT6, as part of the 2015 New York International Auto Show.
Raphael Saadiq performed; fashion royalty like Nick Wooster and Leandra Medine ate caviar and salt-dried salmon alongside Bushwick hipsters and auto industry stalwarts. There were cloth napkins and massive flower arrangements, with a full open bar drowning a guest list of roughly 1,000. It must have cost a small fortune.
Cadillac had plenty of motivation—and the party was certainly in line with its new brand strategy.
This is the car the Detroit automaker created to take on the likes of the BMW 5- and 6-Series, and the Mercedes-Benz E Class. The Cadillac Touring 6 is one of eight new vehicles the brand will launch by the end of the decade, and the first to use GM’s new concoction of 11 different materials built atop an aluminum sub-structure, all meant to make the sedan extremely light—and therefore efficient.
President Johan De Nysschen described the skills required to create the structure as "the rocket science of automobile manufacturing today." In fact, the car is lighter than the BMW 5-Series and 6-Series even though it’s the size of the larger 7-Series town car.
Under the hood, the CT6 packs a turbocharged V6, 400-horsepower engine and a newly developed eight-speed transmission system; expect it to be able to keep up easily with similar offerings from BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Inside, it comes with several new inventions unique to Cadillac, like a camera that records video 360 degrees around the car coupled with third-generation surround night vision. It has heated reclining rear seats and 10-inch screens in the back, plus 34 specialized Bose speakers and an onboard phone charger with Wi-Fi. Those standards are much more posh than what is currently offered in those aforementioned competitors.
Pricing and Sales
Cadillac will try to steal some momentum from popular German luxury brands by offering more car for the money. While Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen bragged about the CT6's technology, the selling point may be its price. The car will start selling later this year for roughly the same price as a nicely-equipped BMW 5-series at around $65,000 while offering the cabin space and driving performance of a more expensive 7-series, he said after the reveal. De Nysschen said he has not finalized the price, but it will be competitive with a 5-series.
The CT6’s price could foreshadow how GM will bring its new models to market. When Cadillac made its first comeback attemptmore than a decade ago, the brand launched the first CTS sedan in 2002 at around $35,000. That was competitive with a BMW 3-series even though the CTS had the size and comfort of a 5-series. The car sold well and is the brand’s best seller to this day.
Cadillac has pulled prices back. Last fall, de Nysschen lowered prices on some models to help clear out excess inventory.