While Cadillac’s up-and-coming CT6 sedan will have “the world’s most advanced body structure,” – as per General Motors product development chief Mark Reuss – it will not boast of a radical change in the luxury brand’s styling direction. According to GM global design boss chief Ed Welburn, the CT6 – the first model to be named after Cadillac revamped its vehicle-naming setup – will be distinct from the current style sported by its existing lineup: angular lines and laser-like vertical head lamps and tail-lamps.
He told in an interview that the CT6 will be different and will stand out in the portfolio. However, Welburn was quick to point out that there would not be a real shift in styling direction with the CT6. He also dismissed expectations that the CT6 will have a design heavily influenced by the Elmiraj Concept unveiled at the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Welburn remarked that the Elmiraj was more of an influence “on some other things we’re working on for Cadillac.” He admitted that the art and science theme for Cadillac vehicles has evolved since the current styling made its debut on the 2002 CTS midsize sedan.
Back then, the CTS and other models were laden with bold edges and sharp angles, but the latest iterations now have more subtle lines and creases. “It will continue to evolve,” Welburn said. Cadillac will unveil the new CT6 in the spring 2015 and will roll out the new top-of-the-line sedan either by end of 2015 or early 2016.
The 2016 Cadillac CT6 makes use of a lightweight and rigid architecture. This serves as the basis of the agility that is sure to challenge other models in the segment. The car’s agility is improved by the active rear steering, active-on-demand all-wheel drive, and the Magnetic Ride Control that is made available on the Active Chassis System. Cadillac CT6 Executive Chief Engineer Travis Hester revealed that each wheel steers and each wheel drives.
Like the Magnetic Ride Control, he added, each of the wheel’s dampening is adjusted up to the millisecond to make sure that driver control and responsiveness remains unmatched in its class. This new model’s body-in-white has a structure that is stiffer and lighter compared to other dynamically similar models like the Audi A6 or even the BMW 5-Series.
This cutting-edge architecture serves as the basis for the agility that sets new benchmark as well as that quietness and vault-like solidity. With exterior body panels composed purely of aluminum, there is no doubt that the new architecture reveals a mixed-material structure.
To make this happen, the engineers performed during its development stage, computational analysis worth 50 million hours. This included 200,000 structural simulations and even resulted in 21 patents. In constructing the lower body, a total of thirteen high-pressure aluminum die castings were used. This allowed for a lower complexity while playing an important role in lowering the mass of the whole architecture.
As such, the CT6 is lighter by 218 pounds (99 kilograms) compared to a model that mainly uses high-strength steel. In fabricating the structure itself, GM made use of the most cutting-edge body manufacturing methods. This includes the proprietary aluminum spot welding technology that lowers the weight while being more efficient. The company also utilized self-piercing rivets, flow drill fasteners, and even laser wielding.
Advanced structural adhesives were used as well, amounting to around 591 feet (180 meters). Hester said that each panel of the body-in-white has been optimized using revolutionary joining methods. He added that the company utilized an uncompromising approach that gets the best balance when it comes to refinement, strength, and lightness.