By Mark Gauert
City & Shore Magazine
There are cars you drive and want to keep right away.
The 50th Anniversary Mustang GT, for example. The Jaguar F-Type R. Even the mid life-crisis-on-aluminum wheels that is the Mazda MX-5. Each gladdened my heart from the start, clouding my better judgments about fuel efficiency or trunk space or, well, exactly where would kids sit back there, anyway? (Maybe they could run alongside?)
But, even in moments of unclouded judgment, I would dare you not to smile driving away in any one of these cars. (Sorry, kids, I’ll wait for you at the next light!)
Then there are cars you drive and want to keep some of their parts.
The Active Multicontour seat in the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, for example – the seat I described in a review last year as “simply the best I’ve ever sat in … including my seat at the Rolling Stones concert at Kemper Arena in ’81.”
But in my unclouded judgment, for $173,245 – the price of my S63 tester – the Active Multicontour would have to be the best seat I’ve ever sat in, and include a live performance by the Rolling Stones in the back seat. (With special guest Buddy Guy).
I wanted to keep part of that car – the seat preferably – forever, but not necessarily the car at that price.
Then there are cars you drive and want to keep – eventually – because of the sum of their parts.
Which brings me to the Cadillac CT6.
Full disclosure, I am not an easy sell for Cadillac. When I was a kid, Cadillacs were for Old People. You know, cars for cigar-chomping, heavy-gold-link-man-bracelet-wearing, 19th-hole-watered Old People.
It’s been brought to my attention lately – ahem – that all those “Old People” were probably younger than I am now. Heck, Frank Sinatra – the Chairman of the Board himself – was a child of 43 when he was stopped for speeding, the story goes, in an Eldorado Brougham. Kids those days!
But, no matter, I’m still in full Old People car rebellion.
So what’s queued up on the Bose Panaray – an optional, 34-speaker sound system “created exclusively for the Cadillac CT6” – when I drop into the 16-way bucket seat of my $81,840 tester? I Fall in Love Too Easily, a song introduced by Sinatra himself when he was a mere infant of 29.
“I fall in love too easily,” the smoky song encircles me, seemingly from everywhere in the cinnamon-and-jet-black leather-appointed cabin. “I fall in love too fast.”
Not so fast, I think, remembering that I’m aboard the flagship of the Old People’s Republic. Not so easily.
But, wow – that sound system is really starting to gladden my heart. I start to think I may want to bring this part with me. Preferably forever.
And, these 16-way bucket seats are kind of nice, too. No Active Multicontour wunder seat, mind you; but comfortable and well ventilated with A/C – which comes in handy on a hot day in South Florida. And, they’re attached to a car half the price of an AMG.
I catch myself smiling now – just a little smile, lasting approximately 6.1 seconds – as I test the eight-speed, 3.0L v6 twin turbo engine, on the way up to 60. I catch myself smiling again with little details, like the rear-view mirror that flicks into a rear-view camera. (No Old People car could do that.) I catch myself smiling again with bigger details, too, like the 15.3-cubic foot trunk – a cavernous space that looks like it could possibly stage the Rolling Stones. (Buddy Guy, optional).
But the part that finally gets me is the enhanced night vision system. That is, it got me before I got someone.
As I drive out of the office parking garage late, a delivery man steps off the curb in front of me and my crystal-white CT6. The infrared vision system – which detects the man’s body heat before I do – suddenly flashes his figure in red on my dash screen, and sends a warning vibration directly into the driver’s seat. Happy ending here, everybody smiles.
The CT6 is not a car I fell in love with too easily, or too fast.
But, eventually, it’s a car I wanted to keep.
Cadillac CT6 Premium Luxury AWD, list price $67,570; price as tested – which includes the Bose Panaray Sound System, $81,840; 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway; Cadillac.com. Because the CT6 went into production late in 2016, the model for 2017 is basically unchanged – save for two new color options, Phantom Gray Metallic and Bronze Dune Metallic; and a wash feature that clears the rear camera in messy driving conditions.