Cadillac finally has an entry in the prestigious full-size luxury sedan segment thanks to the arrival of the 2016 CT6 at this week’s 2015 New York Auto Show. The arrival marks several firsts for General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] as a whole, and no doubt it’s also put the more established rivals in the segment on edge.

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At the core of the CT6 is a new rear-wheel-drive platform dubbed the “Omega”, designed for GM’s large, premium vehicles. The platform makes use of multiple materials—11 in the case of the CT6—to keep weight down, with the main elements being aluminum and high-strength steel.

This has required a new method of assembling the structure but the end result is a car that’s similar in size to BMW’s 7-Series combined with a curb weight that’s less than that of a 5-Series. We’re talking less than 3,700 pounds. In comparison, most of the CT6’s rivals weigh well over 4,000 lbs.

And it’s not like the CT6 is lacking in size or presence or technology. The car measures 204 inches in length and has a wheelbase that stretches 122.4 inches (a third of this is used for rear legroom alone), while the width is 74 inches and the height is 57.9 inches. All in all, this creates a bold stance, with a proportion that’s dominated by a long hood and sleek upper body.

2016 Cadillac CT6, 2015 New York Auto Show

2016 Cadillac CT6, 2015 New York Auto Show

While most buyers will likely appreciate the CT6’s light weight for its boon to fuel economy, we’d be most pleased with its handling benefits. Together with the light weight, the CT6’s handling is also aided by sophisticated suspension geometry, Magnetic Ride Control for the damping, and rear-wheel steering.

The latter is part of an Active Chassis System, and helps reduce the turning circle during parking maneuvers, while on the highway it improves stability. An all-wheel-drive system is also part of the Active Chassis System; its lightweight, compact design and two-gear transfer case enable greater fuel economy than conventional fixed-torque all-wheel-drive systems. All-wheel drive is standard on all V-6-powered CT6 sedans.

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At launch, there will be three powertrains available, all paired with an eight-speed automatic. They include a turbocharged 2.0-liter four with 265 horsepower, a naturally-aspirated 3.6-liter V-6 with 335 hp, and a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 with 400 hp—the latter will also feature cylinder-deactivation to further save fuel (all power figures are estimates only). A plug-in hybrid variant will also be launched further down the track.

2016 Cadillac CT6

2016 Cadillac CT6

Inside the car, you’ll find an expressive and spacious design that combines premium leathers, exotic woods, and carbon fiber. High-end features you don’t normally find in a GM product include things like massage functions for the seats, a reclining rear seat, a rear infotainment package with 10-inch screens mounted in the front seatbacks, quad-zone climate control, and a world-first Panaray sound system from Bose with no less than 34 speakers.

There’s a host of electronic driver aids, too, such as a traffic crawling function, 360-degree view monitoring system, night vision, video-streaming rearview mirror, pedestrian collision mitigation systems, and a parking assistant. There’s also the CUE interface, a wireless phone charger and OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot.

Production of the CT6 is now underway at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant in Michigan, which was recently upgraded at a cost of $300 million to handle the new CT6 and at least two other models sharing its technology. The first CT6 sedans will be arriving in showrooms in the fourth quarter of the year. By next year, GM will have also started production of the CT6 at a plant in China.

For more New York Auto Show coverage, head to our dedicated hub.


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