The segment of large luxury hybrid plug-in sedans is very narrow. Buyers who are looking for a specific product that offers all the amenities and comfort of a large luxury sedan with impeccable performance, while consuming little fuel. This customer is willing to pay a lot for a product that does not (or little) compromise.
In addition to its narrowness, this segment is dominated by Europeans. It includes the BMW 740e drive performance, the Mercedes S550e and the Porsche Panacea 4 E-Hybrid. As you can see, they are rare, expensive and distinguished European specimens.
The Chinese factor
China is often in the news in the automotive media; sales are up sharply, and American automakers like General Motors and Ford are benefiting. General Motors has also established factories, where it assembles vehicles it imports into its home country, such as the Buick Envision and the star of this test: the 2017 Cadillac CT6 Rechargeable Hybrid. With this CT6 plug-in hybrid, Cadillac is on relatively new ground. Yes, there was the ELR, a plug-in hybrid too, but this one had a totally different purpose, and a price, you’ll see later from this article, completely different car covers.
The CT6 plug-in hybrid is offered in a single 2.0E variant, which is frankly well-equipped, with the Driver Information and Convenience Package, the Driving Assistance Group with the Enhanced Night Vision Night Vision System infotainment to the rear seats, rear camera screen in the rear view mirror, comfort package and panoramic sunroof, all standard.
Motorization and autonomy
The 2017 Cadillac CT6 Rechargeable is powered by a pair of electric engines that work in conjunction with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine that delivers 265 horsepower on its own. The engine never plays the role of generator; it works in concert with the electric motors, and the computer judges the best electrical / fuel intervention according to the pressure that the driver exerts on the accelerator. When the battery is empty, the gas engine provides the vast majority of the power.
The “vast majority” of power is said here, because the electric shutter remains omnipresent (unless it is disabled). The system retains 20% of the battery charge at all times, with the goal of contributing to accelerations. Ultimately, the power output is measured at 335 horsepower with 432 lb-ft of torque sent exclusively to the rear wheels. According to Cadillac, whether the battery is empty or not, this CT6 plug-in hybrid retains the same acceleration 0-96 km / h, with 5.2 seconds, and its top speed of 241 km / h.
There are three driving modes, Tour, Sport and Hold. The latter mode is used to keep the battery charge for the driver to use as he sees fit, according to his needs. In Tour mode and Sport mode, acceleration wishes are granted instantaneously. Once the accelerator is depressed, the 432 lb-ft of torque is delivered illico. This delivery is not brutal; she is frank and linear. However, this linearity is called into question when the car goes from 100% electric to the intervention of the gasoline engine, at around 50% pressure on the accelerator. A small hesitation was felt a few times during this transition, and this, throughout the test. In Hold mode, the power is visibly handicapped, so performance is significantly affected.
In terms of handling, the CT6 plug-in hybrid offers a limited amenity: it’s comfortable, but not sporty. Unlike other variants of the CT6, the magnetic suspension system and AWD are absent in this rechargeable version. On the other hand, if you activate the Sport mode, the steering gets firmer, which in itself gives you an impression of dynamism, the accelerator also offers a better answer. In terms of charging, we talk about a 4.5 hour delay for a full charge with a 240 Volt adapter (extra). If we use a regular 110V outlet, we talk about 10 to 12 hours depending on the amperage. After the test, we found that the CT6 plug-in hybrid gives a range of 48 kilometers in 100% electric mode. By operating the vehicle on several types of roads with good acceleration and using continuous air conditioning – so without compromise – we were able to maintain an average of 5.08 liters per 100 kilometers over a distance of 104 kilometers. Total autonomy is 643 kilometers.
If it is extremely comfortable, the cabin of the CT6 plug-in hybrid lacks style. The same can be said for the other models of the CT6 family and those of the other American brands, but in this specific segment where the product competes exclusively with Europeans – Porsche, Mercedes, BMW – this gap is all the more important. What’s wrong is the mix of styles and materials that hammers the eyes. Perhaps a more refined style would allow this plug-in hybrid to impose itself better on this plan.
With meager sales forecasts of 600 vehicles annually in North America, and 2000 units annually in China, the CT6 plug-in hybrid is obviously not a profit machine; it is an affirmation that the New York brand can offer more equipment at lower cost in this segment. With a starting price of $ 85,995 before provincial incentives, its price is well below rivals who offer more style and prestige. But is the value of a car of this caliber calculated according to the sum of its equipment?