Cadillac CT6 dropped into a fishbowl

The 2016 Cadillac CT6 was launched in China a few weeks ago, before it even made its way to North America, underscoring which market is more important to the American automaker. To commemorate the launch, GM dropped the large luxury saloon into a huge aquarium outside a shopping mall in Shanghai, onto a bed of white sand, while dozens of giant goldfish swam leisurely around it – certainly gives new meaning to “sleeping with the fishes”.

So, although very gimmicky, the stunt did draw attention to the new model that starts from ¥439,900 (approx. US$66,860) – quite an expensive piece of aquarium décor. At this price, it will join the other made-in-China luxury vehicles – such as the Audi A6L, Mercedes-Benz E-Class L and BMW 5-Series L – for share of the high-end market. In the Chinese tradition, goldfish signifies fortune and good luck, and maybe those are what Cadillac needs more of, as it anticipates a 25% growth in China this year.

The CT6 will be built by SAIC-GM, based on the new Omega platform which will also underpin a prospective big-barge Buick that will be made-in-China, just-for-China. There are two CT6 variants – the 40T powered by twin-turbocharged 3.0 V6 (405hp; 543nm) with an eight-speed auto transmission that channels power to all four wheels, and the 28T powered by a turbocharged 2.0 four (275hp; 400nm) with an eight-speed auto transmission that powers the rear wheels.

The hybrid version of the 2.0 turbo, which will be added to the range later this year, is going to be an interesting one. The CT6’s hybrid powertrain was presented at the recent SAE 2016 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium in Anaheim, California. It incorporates a 18.4kWh battery (the same size of a Chevy Volt’s), a 2.0-litre GDI turbo gas engine and dual motors. GM boasts that the PHEV system is of incredible efficiency, and the plug-in hybrid will have a 0-62mph time of 5.6 seconds. The battery allows for an all-electric range of 37 miles, with a top speed of 78mph.

What’s most impressive is that the CT6 hybrid will consume less than 2 litres of petrol every 100 kilometres – that’s 117.7mpg by US test standards – essentially “out-greening” every other hybrid saloon out there. This variant – which nature will love – will only be made in China, and even the North American market will have to import it from there.

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