Cadillac CT8 Will be the Brand's First True Flagship in the Modern Era

What We Know

The 2016 CT6 is not Cadillac’s flagship, General Motors product chief Mark Reuss says. That role will be given to an even larger rear-wheel-drive sedan coming within four years. While the Cadillac CT6 is a bit bigger than a short-wheelbase BMW 7 Series, we expect the so-called CT8 to be slightly larger than the long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The CT8, like the CT6, will ride on the new Omega platform, which employs GM’s patented process for welding aluminum. If the CT6 is any guide, the CT8 will be hundreds of pounds lighter than the S-Class. But the CT8 will be more than a long-wheelbase version of the CT6. Its styling should be more stately and upright, and it should put greater emphasis on ride comfort than handling dynamics. Engine choices will likely include the CT6’s new twin-turbo, 3.0-liter V-6 and a naturally aspirated, 3.6-liter V-6. Also expect a new V-8 from the same engine family, perhaps a twin-turbo, 4.5-liter example that will make 500-plus horsepower, as hinted by the Cadillac Elmiraj show car. The transmission will be an eight-speed automatic, unless the new 10-speed GM is developing with Ford arrives in time.

Why It Matters

Although it doesn’t show on sales charts, Cadillac is enjoying a renaissance thanks to new models that match or beat their BMW and Mercedes-Benz rivals on many metrics. The CT8 promises to take these advances even further, making this car worthy of a window sticker that reads $95,000 or higher. Expect the CT8 to come with all the technology, safety, and luxury features Cadillac can muster to take on the Mercedes S-Class as the standard-bearer in this segment. Just as important, a big, long CT8 will give Cadillac a much-needed status symbol, a car worthy of shuttling important business and government leaders to global conferences.

Potential Pitfalls

As much as Cadillac has improved, it has yet to achieve Lexus-like overall quality or Audi-like interior execution. The CT8 must do both. Specifically, its new engines must idle more smoothly than the engines we’ve experienced in the ATS and CTS, and the CUE infotainment system must respond quicker to user inputs. Even if Cadillac achieves all this right out of the gate, GM will have to be patient, as the CT8 will not achieve Audi/BMW/Mercedes status overnight.

When to Expect It

Sometime during calendar year 2019, possibly by spring, as a 2020 model.

What about the Buick Avenir?

The best-looking Buick in recent history would add production volume to the costly Omega platform that underpins the Cadillac CT6, but such volume might not be necessary, seeing how China could gobble up enough Cadillacs to bring fiscal sense to the GM project.

2015 Buick Avenir Concept Front Three Quarter 03

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