When the original Cadillac CTS debuted 14 years ago, it represented a turning point for General Motors’ premium brand. GM had decided to invest billions of dollars to remake the faded brand once known as the “Standard of the World” to try to make it competitive in the 21st century. The original CTS was built on a new dedicated Cadillac architecture with a new design language. Two years after the debut of the third-generation CTS, I had a chance to drive it and make my own judgements about whether the plan has succeeded.
Since Sunday’s announcement in Shanghai of the Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid, there has been some interesting discussion and speculation about how far the car will go on a full charge of its battery and what sort of energy efficiency it will achieve. Cadillac and GM officials have declined to get specific about technical details beyond the limited information in the U.S. press release. However, the release on GM’s Chinese media site lists 37 miles. Let’s take a look at where the EPA estimate will likely end up.
As we saw so clearly at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, any brand that wants to stay competitive in the premium vehicle segments needs to aggressively adopt electrified powertrains. At the Shanghai Motor Show today, Cadillac joined the crowd that already includes Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. GM’s top brand already revealed the full-size CT6 luxury sedan with conventional gasoline powertrains a few weeks ago at its new hometown show in New York. In China, Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen is highlighting a new plug-in hybrid powertrain that will in all likelihood find a home throughout most of the brand’s lineup.
Paraphrasing one of the last tag-lines from the now defunct Oldsmobile, “the 2015 ATS is absolutely not your father’s Cadillac, and that’s a very good thing.” In fact this ATS is the antithesis of what Cadillacs were when I was growing up in the 1970s and ‘80s.
Back in those days, Caddies defined the term land yacht. Actually aircraft carrier might have been a more apt description. When I was high school in the early-1980s, a friend of our family stopped by our house one day to show off the new Caddie that he had bought himself as a retirement gift after putting in his 30 years in one of the local steel mills.