Six Design Details from Cadillac’s New CT6

Executive Design Director Andrew Smith walks us through his favorite features of the new touring sedan

For the last time Cadillac has to leave its headquarters in Detroit to attend the New York Auto Show. By this time next year the brand will be fully situated in their new NYC headquarters, marking a very big shift in company’s desire to be a global luxury brand. A step forward in that direction is the new Cadillac CT6 Sedan. Combining technology and cutting-edge design, the car is a portal into the future of the storied American automaker. From the 3.0 liter twin turbo V6 to the 34-speaker Bose Panaray stereo system, the CT6 represents the next generation of American luxury for the brand. We spoke with Andrew Smith, Executive Director of Global Design at Cadillac, to hear about his six favorite aspects of the car.



“First and foremost is the proportion of the car. What was really interesting for me was, we developed the car in the studio. We do get to stand back and look at it from the patio, but you really don’t get to see the car on the road. Cars come alive on the road. The first time I saw this car on the road it was camouflaged—so I couldn’t even see the styling, just the proportion—the proportion of the car is fantastic. You really only get that when you have a ground-up architecture that was designed for what we’re looking for. I really think the car has a fantastic stance.”



“The front end of the car—in particular, the headlamps—is something else I love. The indirect fire LEDs—which is a new technology—gave us a lot of design freedom. I don’t want Cadillac to get stuck in the rut of doing the same things over and over. I want it to be reinterpreted each time. When you see a Cadillac down the road the vertical light signature (the daylight running lamps) is so strong that it’s a space we completely own. Right down the road you’re like, ‘Here comes a Cadillac.’ That presence that I wanted to get out of the vehicle, you see it in this car. The new headlamp graphic, the first time you see the front of the car you know it’s a Cadillac, but it’s completely different to the other Cadillacs.”



“The third thing on the exterior is certainly the crispness of the body side considering that most of it is done in aluminum. The executive chief engineer is an incredibly passionate guy who came in from the very beginning and said, ‘OK, what do you guys need?’ Then worked out ways to enable it. So the innovation that’s in the body—not just from the mixed materials and 13 different materials that he used in the car—but the innovation in getting the crispness that we were looking for and still getting beautiful forms. I’ve talked a lot about having this crisp single element to the vehicle where there’s one, two, three lines. But then having the sophistication of surface.”



“Next, talking about the sophistication of surface, would be the deck lid and the little duck tail that you see on top and the way that the car is much fuller than what you’re used to seeing on a Cadillac. When you see this car, when you come behind it in traffic, you’ll instantly know it’s a Cadillac. Then you’ll start to wonder which Cadillac is it, because it’s unlike any Cadillac you’ve seen before. That fullness and that sophistication in surfacing is something that’s really strong.”



“Other elements that I love about the car (are) the interior materials. Sitting in the rear you feel incredibly special. The reclining rear seat is something that I just think is absolutely phenomenal—a really comfortable experience. I know when I get mine that the kids are going to feel like royalty sitting in the back of this car.”

“While it’s significantly bigger than anything else in its segment—it has more rear legroom than anybody else—it’s significantly longer and wider than the CTS but it weighs about the same. When you drive this, for such a large vehicle, it really is a driver’s car. It feels like a much smaller car, not because it’s tight but because of the way that it handles. The rear wheel steering helps with that as well, so it’s very agile on the road. It has this almost twin or dual personality where it is this limousine-like vehicle but it’s also a driver’s car.”



“The sixth one would be the perforation that you see in the Platinum edition. The perforation pattern was something that we designed specifically to reflect the heritage of Cadillac. We have this wonderful range of brooches, materials, fabrics as well as the cars themselves from the heritage of Cadillac. The team poured through that for inspiration looking for things we could pull from previous vehicles but reinterpret in new ways. The way that it’s treated in this vehicle is fantastic. It’s technical and it reminds you of Cadillac, but it’s new.”

The Cadillac CT6 Sedan is on-view at the New York International Auto Show from 3-12 April 2015, and will hit dealers in the fall of 2015.

Portrait by Evan Orensten, other images by Josh Rubin