By on March 22, 2017

Cadillac XT5 and XTS Badges, Image: © 2017 Jack Baruth

Don’t listen to anybody who tries to tell you that all new cars are about the same nowadays, even if they’re referring to the inhabitants of a particular market segment. While I was at my local auto show last week, I took a few minutes to pretend that I was still my 2005-or-thereabouts self and that I was in the market for a new car. I was a different man back then: childless, fancy-free, still pushin’ those Schedule Twos, and personally addicted to flossin’ in the finest full-sized sedans that did not attract a Flying Spur’s worth of attention from the authorities.

Back then, I divided my street car, four-door wheel time between a Volkswagen PhaetonAudi A8, and Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG. I thought I’d look at a few bland big-ballers and pick a favorite using the same criteria that drove my decisions lo these many years ago. Started with the Genesis G90. Now this is a nice car. Lots of room, acceptable interior quality, and the blank-faced menacing mien that used to come standard with fuselage New Yorkers. And such a bargain, too. Make mine the V8 AWD. Hell, I thought about buying one right now but I can no longer justify spending more than $50,000 on a new car unless it has a snake badge on the nose.

Next up: Lincoln Continental. The G90 makes it feel tight inside but this is the one to have for interior ambiance. Bright, airy, and chock-full of unashamed, authentic design for design’s sake. I never thought the day would come when an American car would be able to compete heads-up with Audi in the cockpit, but the Continental absolutely makes the case.

Last on the list, the Cadillac CT6. Well, what can we say about that?


2017 Cadillac CT6 interior, Image: © 2017 Timothy Cain

Here’s the complete list of what I admire about the Cadillac CT6 interior: There’s a nifty shiny-bronze-kinda-carbon-fiber strip along the bottom of the dashboard and front-door trim panels. It’s absolutely unnecessary, serves no purpose, and looks like the proverbial business. If you’re a fan of the “maker aesthetic” that has taken over Instagram with locally machined bottle openers and whatnot, then you’ll immediately connect with the idea of having a metallic decoration strip.

And there’s also … no, that’s it. Everything else is just blah. It’s all a bunch of flat-grey plastic and leather that also looks like plastic. There’s no joy in here, no sense of glamorous excess like you get in the Continental. It’s all been squeezed out by a thoroughly unfortunate concept of Cadillac as a “European performance brand.” Once again, GM is a day late and a dollar short. They brought out the HHR right as the PT Cruiser was tanking, got the Fiero GT fixed just in time to cancel it. You get the idea. This time, they’ve managed to copy the cheerless interior of an E38 740iL — a full 16 years after Mr. Bangle ushered in the era of Baroque dashboard style and materials. The old W220 S-Class was like that, too. It sucked, and I say that as someone with a lot of miles behind the wheel of that particular chassis.

I have no doubt that the CT6 is dynamically superior to the Continental and the Genesis G90. I also have zero concern that the CT6 would not be easily up to the challenge of besting a 528i around the Nurburgring. But the buyers for these cars could not care less about stuff like that. The deal that a luxury-car customer makes with the manufacturer is pretty simple: in exchange for making a monthly payment that would secure a fairly decent four-bedroom home in flyover county, the fellow making that payment expects to feel special every time he gets behind the wheel. You can do it with outrageous exterior design and a ho-hum interior; that was the Jaguar selling proposition for pretty much the whole era between XJ40 and the newest cars. You can do it with a stellar interior and a bland exterior; hello, Audi! Or you can try to impress with both, if you’re feeling frisky. But you cannot combine styling that is strongly reminiscent of the $29,999 Saturday-newspaper-sale ATS with an interior that fails to distance itself from that of a LaCrosse or even an Impala. It cannot be all the same shade of Chevy Cruze Grey.

Now I am perfectly aware that a couple of B&B commenters are already flexing their typing fingers so they can lecture me on how the CT6 is an entire league above the FWD Continental and the generic Genesis in terms of chassis engineering, aerodynamic stability, high-speed lane-change, and possibly “natural resonant frequency.” And that, right there, is the problem. Cadillac has been handed over to people who think you can engineer your way to excellence in the luxury-car market. You can’t. It has to be done with marketing.

And don’t you dare bring up Lexus as a counter-example. The original LS400 was a master class in cost-no-object engineering but nobody bought it for that reason. They bought it because it looked just like an S-Class, it based at $35,000 instead of $58,000, and the marketing emphasized that. Period, point blank. I want you to think back to the last time you saw the actual MSRP of a D-class luxury sedan in a television ad and I guarantee you it will be that first-gen LS400. The price was the whole point. The Infiniti Q45 was a better car to drive in day-to-day use — I know, I had access to both of them when they were brand new — and it didn’t sell worth a damn because the marketing was garbage. Instead of a picture of the car and the sticker price, they had rocks and trees. People already had rocks and trees. What they wanted was a discount S-Class.

To misquote the late great Frank Herbert, when marketing and engineering ride in the same cart there is no fuggin’ stopping them. The 1977 Cadillac Sedan de Ville is a great example. GM made it smaller but also better than the car it replaced, and the ad campaigns evoked the upper-middle-class lifestyle like nobody’s business. It was absolutely clear why you would buy a Cadillac and it didn’t have a single damn thing to do with engineering. You bought a Cadillac to stick it in the neighbor’s face. This was such a great idea that it was later refined into its purest form with the Lexus “Christmas bow” commercials. You ever notice how they are shot? Not from the perspective of the man giving his wife an RX350, or from the perspective of the lucky lady. It’s from the perspective of the neighbors. Oh my God, David. The Smiths next door just got a new RX350, just three weeks after your job got outsourced to Wipro. Let’s all get so depressed about this oppressive fact that we extend the bed death of our marriage another 30 days.

Cadillac has had 27 years to learn something — anything! — from the example of Lexus, but it just doesn’t seem to be able to figure it out. Look at the image that heads this article. I made it myself; I was shopping for a Chevy SS with my wife and I saw these two vehicles parked next to each other. How did this happen? It would be like calling the Buick Enclave the Buick Rega7. You can’t tell me that nobody pointed this out. I betcha the guy at the factory who gets the boxes full of trunk logos from China noticed, at least.

Listen, I understand we are in an era now where everybody is supposed to be so timid that we involuntarily gasp when we spot our own shadows. I know that in 2017 we have grown men saying “SQUEEEE!” and dressing like Totoro and Christ knows what else. I also realize that jobs are thin on the ground and nobody wanted to lose theirs by jumping up on a conference room table and yelling “EVERYTHING THAT WE HAVE DONE SINCE 1984 HAS BEEN GROSSLY INCOMPETENT!” But somebody has got to step up before we lose yet another great American nameplate the way we lost Oldsmobile.

So here’s my suggestion. Bring back the Mad Men. Find the most despicable, non-progressive, manipulative ad agency money can buy. Get the people who did the Lexus bows and tell them that the gloves are off. Starting tomorrow, everything will be done with marketing foremost in mind. No more Nurburgring times, no more class-leading lateral g. We’re gonna take the fight to Lexus with cars that are absurdly desirable. Cars that flaunt your prosperity to your neighbors. The Escalade is gonna be the bare minimum when it comes to excess displays of wealth. Buying a Cadillac should feel like putting on a red-velvet top hat and punching your boss in the face. It should be irrationally exuberant.

Of course, the engineering will lag the marketing. But I have a suggestion in the meantime. License the Genesis G90 from Hyundai. Copy the Lincoln Continental’s interior. Put fins on it. It might be a failure. But it might not be. The alternative is to keep making these bland sedans that combine a Daytona Prototype’s worth of vehicle dynamics with painfully drab looks. There is no future in that. I’m speaking for my old self when I say that. It’s one thing to be bland. It’s another thing to be too bland. Don’t listen to your cubicle mates. Listen to me!

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151 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: Release the Mad Men!...”


  • avatar
    gasser

    Right on!
    I am GM’s demographic king, 70 years old. A Genesis is in my driveway. Why? The interior is nicer than GMs offerings and I can usually find it in the parking lot. I might also add that I did buy an LS400 new, trading in my Mercedes for it..
    The Genesis price/lease pulled me out of the Lexus dealer. Driving in Los Angeles traffic and over pot holed roads, I have never wondered about high speed performance. Driving 400 miles a month, I don’t give a damn about the gas mileage. If GM wants me as a customer, they better figure out what I want in a car.

  • avatar
    Syke

    A well written article, but not terribly necessary to go thru all those words.

    Posting that opening picture, then writing one two-word sentence, “See above.” would have made the point just as well.

    Of course it wouldn’t have been as entertaining.

    Has anyone switched on a brain cell at GM yet?

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      Outstanding article up until “Put fins on it.”

      Jack, your better than that.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        You doubt that fins will come back one day?

        Everything that’s old is new again.

        Eyeglasses get round, then square, then round.

        Neckties go skinny, then wide, then back to skinny. The same with pant legs.

        Cars go from rounded, to squared-off, back to rounded.

        Fins are overdue to return. Just look at the cray-cray taillight treatment that Toyota has been giving their cars lately – the only way to top that is to add fins.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          I’ve been holding onto a 3 inch wide white belt and matching platform shoes for ages. It’s. Not. Coming. Back.

          FINS though. They may be small. They may be thin. They may slope up, or slope down. But they’re coming back.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            As someone who loves 50’s Detroit iron and believes that the 59 Cadillac was the epitome of good looks in a car, I would love to see fins and Dagmars/Mansfields reinstated in auto design.

            However pedestrian safety legislation means that they cannot return.

    • 0 avatar
      scuzimi

      Ha, ha, ha. At least someone else think Jack’s NOVELS suck.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    Spot on, Jack.

    Cadillac must be completely blind to the fact that it’s target audience mindset are those who purchase the Escalade: big, bold, brash.

    They, not Mercedes, should have signed Jon Hamm to do their voiceover work.

    Get a frickin’ clue, Cadillac.

  • avatar
    bluegoose

    I agree. Great piece. Infiniti’s initial ad campaign featuring rocks and trees will live on in Infamy!!!

    I think they should build something like the Elmiraj. Put some fins on the back of that. Gear it toward cruising instead of all out performance. I think you can have one model that is performance oriented but the rest should be focused on luxury. The problem is what constitutes “luxury” today is a much higher bar. It used to be power seats and leather but you can find that almost anywhere. The other issue is Cadillac’s branding has never quite recovered from the thrashing it took during the late seventies and early eighties. With Lexus and Hyundai you get the prospect of Luxury and Reliability. Reliability is an adjective that is not what you associate the Cadillac brand.

    I think it is high time to take a risk..sort of like what Dodge did with the Ram in 1994. They need to do something that is distinctly American and distinctly different.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Agree. Attempting to be the American equivalent of MB and BMW just never seemed to work for Cadillac. Why alienate yourself from the demographic that bought your cars (the over 50 crowd)? They are the ones with the money. If I wanted a sporty sedan, I’d head over to the local Bimmer or Audi store. If I want an all-out American luxury cruiser, I *should* be wanting to go over to the Cadillac lot, but instead am likely to find myself giving a side-look over at Lincoln now. I don’t think many Cadillac owners (or prospective owners, few of them as there are these days) are thinking about 0-60 times or how fast their vehicle got tossed around the ‘Ring. What they expect, and aren’t getting, is unparalleled (and maybe sometimes a bit over the top) luxury and opulence in a distinctively American-style. And that goes for SUVs, too. Sure, they have the Escalade…but the XT-whatever it is these days is far from being the market leader in the class. Take the badges off, and I still see a Saturn. Not what I want from a car wearing the crest.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Why alienate yourself from the demographic that bought your cars (the over 50 crowd)? ”

      Interesting, but you have to take a look at who the current over-50 crowd is. I’m one of them. I grew up in the ’70s, in a household with money. We had any number of American luxury cars. Know what they all had in common? They were a) big, b) cushy, c) V-8 powered, and d) styled flashily. In short, they were everything Jack is saying they should be. Unfortunately, I’ll add a fifth descriptor that Jack didn’t: e) they were all utter crap. My family switched to Benz/BMW in the ’80s and never looked back. We were the better for it.

      My generation didn’t buy big, cushy American cars when we had the chance – we bought Hondas and Toyotas. When we got money, we moved up to Acuras or BMWs. That’s the demographic luxury car manufacturers have to chase.

      The irony is that the big, cushy, V-8 American Cadillac sedan was indeed being made up until a few years ago: it was the DTS. Like the Town Car, it died for lack of sales. If people were really lining up for these, Chrysler would be in the chips with the 300C, but those aren’t selling anymore either.

      Cadillac just followed the market in this regard. Would I love to see a long, low, black RWD Caddy sedan with a Corvette engine? Sure. Who wouldn’t? But the question is: who’d buy one? Clearly GM has the architecture (Zeta) and the engines to make that happen, but it isn’t making this car. Why? Because the market for it is largely gone. Sad but true.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I think it needed modernizing and the G-platform was nearly twenty and wasn’t worth it for two models. Livery would have bought it as evidenced by XTS sales to said industry.

        “Who wouldn’t? But the question is: who’d buy one?”

        Price it right and they will come. Cadillac thinks it is a serious global luxury brand, but it is not as evidenced by unrealistic pricing followed by huge incentives. Price this chimera right out of the gate and watch the proles line up.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          So…build a V-8 luxury sedan so the livery trade can buy it? I don’t see the business plan there, 28.

          If the “people will buy right-priced V8 American sedans if the price is right” argument were true, Chrysler would be selling a whole lot of $45,000 300Cs. They aren’t. Could that be because folks don’t trust Chrysler? Quite possibly. But I think the deeper reason is that the market for this kind of car is all but dead.

          Again, I’d love to see something like a big-ass Zeta-platformed Cadillac with a V-8 and cool styling. Presumably, if anyone wanted one, GM could have made one by now. They haven’t. There’s a reason why.

          But I think you’re getting on target with the price argument, and I’ll take it a step further: the key is not a LOW price, but to maximize the value at the higher price. Make the car justify the pricetag. Let the bargain hunters go buy a Genesis, or a 300C.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “So…build a V-8 luxury sedan so the livery trade can buy it? I don’t see the business plan there”

            This was the Panther, and to a lesser extent Ranger, business plan for about a decade if not longer. This seems to be the Chryco LX business plan too.

            “Presumably, if anyone wanted one, GM could have made one by now”

            GM is too dysfunctional to have done this correctly. They bitch about this platform being too expensive, yet they spun up a Camaro which started at like 22K on it. They then sold a police spec Aussie assembled Holden Commodore version in USDM on the “too expensive” platform. I realize G8 and SS had different reasons to exist, but if your police spec was a dud and “too expensive” you should have pulled if after an MY or two. They didn’t. I also know there were plans to move Zeta sedan production to Oshawa after the Camaro which never materialized. I maintain GM would have been much better off with their “expensive platform” building in Osahwa right now and owning a nice size of the fleet market (let alone any real success) than the BS they have come up with to this point.

          • 0 avatar
            seanx37

            No 300 goes out the door for 45k. Or even 35k. Or even 30k now…

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The “base” 300 can be had new for around 26k and co es well-equipped,

            The Limited has the larger U-Connect screen and more goodies and can be had right around 30k.

            Either is legitimately quieter, more solid (ask Jack about torsional rigidity of the chassis underlying the 300 and the railroad track 85 mph test), has way better ride quality, and is far more luxurious than any Jason Wu/Melody Lee/Uwe Ellinghaus/JOHAN’S REVENGE Cadillac, at any price.

            Buy the 300 at less than 1/2 the price of the average CT6 pile of garbage, get the 10 year/100,000 mile factory extended bumper-to-bumper warranty for $1,600 (I’ve seen it offered at this price as recently as December of 2016 – Dealerships deal on these warranties that bind Chrysler) to $2,100, and count yourself lucky for avoiding an overpriced, rough-hewn, pile of sh*t Cadillac (GM Mark of Excellence Chinese Supplier Lowest Bidder “One World” parts-composed assemblage).

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Cadillac didn’t even try. The DTS had a platform and engine from the early 90s and the Town Car had a platform from the 70s and an engine from the 90s.

        The 300 is actually a good example. Chrysler sold 613K LX cars in 2005 and 2006 but did anyone back in 2002 think a market for them existed? SUVs were red hot, the B-bodies were killed off, Lincoln LS sales were falling, and if people wanted a traditional American car they could already get a DeVille or Town Car.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Why buy a Caddy when you can get 8/10ths the performance, 7/5ths the styling at 2/3rds the price.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    Most curious, Car & Driver referred to the CT6 as ‘a confident step forward’ yes -forward- in its review a year ago, yet it’s so terrible apparently.

    http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2016-cadillac-ct6-30t-awd-test-review

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      From what I saw, it is almost not terrible. I think what will make it unsuccessful is: 1. horrible GM marketing and 2. The car seems to be the model equivalent of the Northstar motor and not a LS400 (which is what it should shoot for).

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Car and Driver is worthless.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      Medicine in the 1800s was a step forward from the 1700s as well. That doesn’t mean it was good.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      A step forward from where? It still “lacks top-tier luxury-sedan refinement.”

      They do start the review in a less than flattering tone:

      “If the CT6 were truly Cadillac’s new flagship, it might well fly a ­banner of surrender. Because by any reasonable accounting, the CT6 is not a direct competitor to the big German luxury barges . . .”

      They don’t have anything particularly nice to say about the interior:

      “The CT6’s interior reinforces the kinship to the CTS, with a similar design theme using layered materials; it is a bit too busy for our taste. Our test car features not one but two different wood grains on its dashboard. Three different colors of leather cover various surfaces in the car, including a curious swath of perforated material that surrounds the infotainment screen and resembles seat leather. Even as Cadillac’s exterior-design team seems to have nailed simple elegance, its interior people continue to try too hard.”

      They also weren’t fond of the ride quality, the throttle response, or the transmission programming.

      Overall, I think the CT6 comes across as a bit underwhelming in that review, though certainly not to the point that it should dissuade someone from considering it if they were in the market for such a car. It appears to have plenty of positive attributes as well.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    The LS400 was also full of refinement and technology. It was amazingly smooth, refined, and reliable. I still remember the first time I drove one back in 1989 or so and how mind-blowingly smooth and quiet it seemed. For example, the LS offered a 32V V8 that was silky smooth and a Nakamichi stereo for less than the price of an under-powered E-Class that didn’t even come with a cup holder. It was a better S-class for less than E-Class money.

    Remember the ads with the champagne glasses on the hood and the ball bearings rolling on the body gaps? Their dealers probably carpeted their hallways with $100 bills based on those ads.

    Lesson #1, the product needs to deliver on the promise and if you are playing catch up, you need to be much more interesting than the entrenched competition. If your product isn’t a lot better, Lesson #2, until you have the brand equity, under price your competition. Lesson #3, admit that you blew your brand equity years ago and be prepared to start at lesson #1.

    GM shoots for the middle of a crowded field with their product, prices them too high, and acts like it’s the consumers’ fault for not “getting it.”

    When it comes to luxury brands, your point is spot on. A few tenths in the 0-60 run are academic. What matters it that people want to be SEEN driving that car or that brand. They want to feel special when they get into it to the point that they forget about the added monthly payment of their ES350 vs. the Camry they could have bought instead. Or, the Chevy they could have bought instead of the Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      I can still remember when we got our first LS400 competitive analysis car at the supplier where I was working (we were benchmarking the drivetrain).

      The freaking door jambs were flawless, better finished than anybody else’s hood or trunk surfaces. Those rigs were impressive.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Voyd

      My memory is somewhat vague, but I thought that the ball bearings ads were for Infinitis, which, as Jack pointed out, did not sell well at all then.

      • 0 avatar
        N8iveVA

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AktHnnA9QIM

        It was Lexus

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        No, the ball bearing ads were for the Lexus LS. They were part of the same campaign as the stack of champagne glasses on the hood that demonstrated the lack of engine vibration.

        Infiniti was doing “rocks, trees” as JB says. What isn’t as well known is that the widely vilified ad agency had no choice, because Nissan hadn’t handed them a car to shoot yet.

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Voyd

          Thank you, N8iveVA, tonycd, and dukeisduke, I was wrong about the Infiniti commercial.

          There was, however, a 1993 Nissan Altima ball bearing commercial (has their ad agency no shame?) –

          http://testdrivejunkie.com/1993-nissan-altima-commercial-ball-bearing/

          With the first-generation Altima so similar in appearance to the J30, I was confused.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        I thought it was for the LS, but actually, it was for the ES:

        1992 Lexus ES commercial “Ball Bearing”:

  • avatar
    arach

    Here’s where I disagree: I really disliked the Genesis G80. I was all set to buy one and know what? I didn’t like it when I drove it. It reminds me of Cadillacs of the 2000s. On paper its perfect. It ticks all the boxes. the price is right, but you know what? It doesn’t pull them together right.

    This is what BMW gets right. Sure reliability stinks, and they are expensive, but they don’t have to publish good numbers. A BMW with 200 HP seems to drive better than a Cadillac with 300 HP. Many claim BMW “understates” power. I think they just tune more for driving experience than data points. Cadillac doesn’t. Cadillac tunes for driving experience.

    I had a Cadillac I was trying to trade in, but I couldn’t do it. Not for the Genesis. I wanted to love it, and I don’t blame anyone for buying one- they are buying one just like I bought my Cadillac in 2008. Its a logical solution, and not a bad one… But the G80 just isn’t “there”.

    Here’s the caveat that blew my mind… planning on getting a G80, or an XTS-V Sport CPO, I told the salesperson the G80 drove like crap. I slammed on the gas going 40 to “pass” and the thing just sat there like a duck. It didn’t do anything. It didn’t downshift, and it didn’t have the torque to pick up and go. I LITERALLY looked at my watch. I thought I broke something. There’s no way it can be that slow to respond….

    And the salesperson told me to go get in a Sonata. And I did… and you know what? That 2.0t was tuned like a daggone BMW. Its about 30 lower peak HP than it was in 2014, but look at the dang torque curve. Peak torque at 1400 RPM! Torque converters are the problem point in my opinion on most mainstream cars, and on that sonata, you’d never know it even has one unless your in neutral. AC seats, heated rear seats, adaptive cruise with start/stop, auto brights, dynamic headlights, lane keep assist, Android Auto, Speed limit alerts, Nav? Checks all those boxes like a mainstream car never should. size? there’s as much leg room as there is in an XTS and way more than there is in the G80, no joke. It doesn’t look as good as a G80, and the interior doesn’t appear as luxurious, but it works together very well. It syncs well….

    And after owning a Porsche, cadillac, and BMW, I ended up with not a G80 or G90, but a Sonata?

    Now I’m not telling others to run out and buy a Sonata, but what it tells me is Hyundai isn’t cadillac. they may have rushed the G80 to market (I know the genesis existed before it) but the Sonata proves Hyundai is capable of well integrated cars, and I think the upper end of the market will appreciate that more than the low end (sonata). I think the next G80 may be worth waiting for…

    But your dead right, cadillac needs to decide what it is and be it, and it shouldn’t keep chasing BMW but staying 2 steps behind.

    It could seriously go after the older market… I was reading Auto News and its still somewhere in the ballpark of 50% of new car buyers are over the age of 60, so is that is a good sized market that no one else is going after. It could go old school cadillac, “excess”, or it could go full-on-sport and become a true sports sedan series.

    But its none of the above. They were going to discontinue the XTS until they realized its their 2nd biggest volume seller. They discontinued cars like the CTS ST Performance, which is what I bought. My father, whose well into his 80s, bought a CT6. He thinks its just OK. I don’t like it, and his wife doesn’t like it. It seems to drive pretty decent, but it kind of feels like the kid in highschool thats trying to hard and clearly not getting it.

    I agree with your premise. Caddy: Decide what you are. Market to it. Be it.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I’ve only driven 3 (Equus, R-Spec, K900) examples but I’ve never had a responsiveness issue on the 5.0L (I actually found it slightly better than most). Did they change the tuning on it when it became the G80?

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        5.0 has enough torque that downshifting isn’t a major issue, but I think you’d still be happier with a more responsive transmission.

        I’m primarily referring to the 3.8L, which is what most of them have, because it doesn’t have the torque to overcome a lack of responsiveness. The 5.0 starts at $55.5k, Which is 20k more than an ATS, More than a 3,4 ,or 5 series BMW, more than a CT6 (despite being smaller), and 10k more than a CTS or XTS.

        Not saying its not a good “value” for the 5.0L, and I bet the 5.0 hides the weaknesses in the transmission. They both used the same transmission since 2012.

        Where the concern shines is when compared to the 3.6L Gm motor, the 2.0L BMW motor, or even the 2.0L Hyundai. I anticipate its actually a transmission issue moreso than the motor. Even the shiftronic isn’t responsive. The motor compares pretty well to the 3.6L GM if you look at its torque and power curves. The sonata transmission is responsive as heck and even the shiftronic function is a split second behind a true dual clutch, so “someone” over there knows what they are doing, I just hope they get behind that G80 Transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I had a very similar experience with the 1st gen Genesis. I actually loved everything about it… it was definitely more luxurious than what I ended up with (G37S)… I would have bought it too, except for that damn transmission. All the mags say it’s a 13 second car, and I suppose it is if you coerce the transmission to do its job…. but it did not want to get aggressive at all. Bummed me out because I really loved the car otherwise.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    It’s sad when HYUNDAI can build a significantly more legitimate luxury car than CADILLAC.

    I bought a new car this weekend (G37S) and cross shopped the previous Genesis 3.8. Really nice car that totally nails the whole “luxury” thing. I would have bought it if not for that dim witted transmission. My wife loved it and said the G37S is halfway between my Civic and the Genesis. Where do all of Cadillac’s current sedan offerings fall on that spectrum? I could have bought a CTS V6 I think, but while I was shopping CADILLAC didn’t even cross my mind, while HYUNDAI was at the top of my list. That’s a serious problem!

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      My wife just got a Q60 (or as I call it: a G39) and it checks all the right boxes.

      I’ve been in a CST-V on track and that thing motors. Sharp looking too (literally). However the center stack was just a big slab of black, shinny plastic. The whole interior was dark and depressing. Caddy to me is a big, soft, old persons car. Now the best Caddys these days are the opposite of that. So confused. The reason their marketing is a mess is because they have no direction, no focus. Who is a Caddy buyer these days?

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      With your being sportyaccordy how dare you consider anything Korean. THere is a perfectly good RLX setting there waiting on your call…you should be ashamed.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      By the way what do you think of your G37S anyway?

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I like it. It strikes the balance of luxury and sportiness nicely, maybe erring a bit too far on the side of sport. I broke my all manual (7, with 4 Hondas!) streak and don’t miss it at all.

        Only gripes are:
        – gas mileage (par the course for its specs)
        – slightly sluggish and old infotainment (though the controls/interface is great)
        – squishy suspension (compared to my modified Civic)
        – inert steering (turn and pray)

        I love the car otherwise though. Very nice upgrade and I hope to be in it for a long time.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      I only bought the cadillac for the manual transmisison.

      Discontinued in 2010 by the way ;)

      Your dead on about the transmission though. its a shame because I have some excitement for the Stinger concept, because its supposed to use the Sonata transmission and both the 2.0L and the 3.8L motors, so if its a “4 series” to the G80s “5 series”, but with the better transmission, I think it can be a winner.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        They need to give up and go ZF.

        It’s strange to say, but I almost feel like the Genesis had better suspension tuning than my G. It definitely had more natural and informative steering feel. I even saw a 5.0 R-spec within my price range but I’d hate to have that engine hamstrung by that damn transmission. They need to give up and buy ZF, or move to a dual clutch with a torque converter like Acura.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          sportyaccordy, it’s not your imagination. C/D reported that Genesis outsourced the suspension tuning to Lotus, and while you can’t make a 4,400 pound elephant dance, they too were impressed that it could both waft and corner.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      Cadillac has built overpriced mediocrity for decades, unfortunately. Heck, their best-selling Escalade is just a blinged-out Suburban.
      Like so many here (and elsewhere) are aware, it’s a brand that is behind the times, below the standard and the ship is slowly sinking, having lost its bearings and its rudder.

      So what should Cadillac do? Identify the best vehicle in each category, and strive to beat it in every characteristic – durability, comfort, performance, electronics, warranty, paint quality, handling, dealership experience, and so on. If they invested the thousands of dollars doled out as incentives in the actual vehicle, they could beat everyone, and build the brand back up. However, that’s just not GM’s way of doing business.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        The ATS is anything but mediocre. The new car prices are high but so are the discounts on Cadillac. That is one of the reasons I’ve been buying off lease, used.

        The Escalade, along with Denali and LTZ, are popular choices and agree the price ratchets up quickly for the big hulking barges that share history with a $20 Silverado. Even used they are just too much unless you can full every seat.

        Now the XTS is a real bargain. The 2014 Vsport with 410 hp and torque vectoring AWD can be had in the mid $20’s. Want something that handles well, even according to Bark M., and can move swiftly along with absorbing another 200 lb-ft of torque with a ecu for about 550 in torque, and turn heads whether moving or stationary the XTS is it.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think the CT6 has decent sheetmetal and proportions, but I don’t like anything else. Interior out of a Lacrosse, engines largely out of the base-level Camaros, nearly mandatory AWD, and $75K plug-ins built in China. To get one worthwhile you have to spend over $80K.

    I like the Continental’s design asthetic and that it HAS AN ACTUAL NAME, but that’s about it. It kind of comes off as a really pretty 8th gen (’88 – ’94). But it’s a good step.

    Really, even with my Dodge woes, I think I’d take a hypothetical $50K 300C Platinum 6.4L over either one.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    http://www.autoextremist.com/

    PMD relentlessly rails on GM’s ham-fisted approach to marketing. Ewanick might not have been the guy, but not appointing a CMO once Kim Dan-Ak’s reign of terror ended is unforgivable.

    and TIL “Wipro” stands for “Western India Palm Refined Oil.”

    W.
    T.
    F.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Exactly my reaction, JimZ. It’s pretty hilarious that Jack sounds so much like DeLorenzo, I almost thought I’d clicked to the wrong page.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        Yeah, I almost thought I was reading a Rant, too. But PMD’s take is that the product is king. And yeah, Cadillac’s marketing agency just doesn’t get it. Targeting millennials, and opening a coffee house in SoHo? Gimme a frickin’ break.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Nah, JB is nowhere near as froth-mouthed or self-aggrandizing as PMD, and that’s saying A LOT!!!!

  • avatar
    Fred

    We have a couple of “new” Cads in the parking lot, both CT6, both bought used, both said they got a deal on it. Both hope they are reliable enough to last a few years. It’s also their first luxury car. One is black and one is silver.

    From what I can tell that is the Cadillac market.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Gotta disagree with the G90. It was as if The Sharper Image or Brookstone made a car (in China).

    I will agree that the Continental interior bests the CT6. You hit the nail on the head: the half-assed Teutonic influence is strong but it’s just doesn’t feel special in any way.

    I also endorse Golden Colonel Sanders (played by washed-up actor Billy Zane) as the next Cadillac spokesman. Wieden+Kennedy ads probably don’t help actually sell anything, but I find them wonderfully surreal, knowingly stupid, and entertaining as hell.

    They even did a (golden) car-themed KFC spot:

    youtube.com/watch?v=V6FaaqBXWYs

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Yeah, GM is really missing the mark with these Teutonic-copying, soul-less vehicles. The Continental has styling in spades, and I would much rather have it than the CT6, transverse engine and all (on the former). In fact, in three years, if the Continental depreciates like a rock, I may replace my MKS with one.

    As for the G90, it looks extremely Generic, and I would like to see the Genesis brand do a little more from a exterior design aspect; that’s what’s holding them back. Never mind that Genesis has Bentley’s former head designer, the G90 looks like a Flying Spur knockoff, and that’s never a good thing. However, the interior uses top-shelf materials, is sublime and gives you that old-school Lexus feel, which I really like. It really reminds me of the Phaeton’s interior, which is as big a compliment as you could get from me.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “It’s from the perspective of the neighbors. Oh my God, David. The Smiths next door just got a new RX350, just three weeks after your job got outsourced to Wipro. Let’s all get so depressed about this oppressive fact that we extend the bed death of our marriage another 30 days.”

    That’s spot on. Ouch. +1 from IT, for the Wipro reference.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Some observations:

    1) Yes, the Continental’s interior looks nice. But it’s also full of cheap details. Overall, though, this car looks sensational. It has presence.

    2) If Cadillac wants to benchmark an interior, it should be the C-Class Benz, which is so damn tasty.

    3) No one buys the Genesis G-whatever-the-f**k. Can we stop the fandom?

    Said it before and I’ll say it again: Cadillac’s problem isn’t the nomenclature or the fact that it’s making “Euro” sedans – it’s that the details aren’t right. That means, as Jack says, fixing the interiors and fixing CUE. It means giving Cadillacs their own special powertrains, or ones that have been modified to the point where someone can’t look under the hood of a Malibu and find the exact same engine that’s in a CTS.

    And they need MOAR CUV.

    Until they do that, the Mad Men aren’t gonna have much success.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Mike we have 2 Genesises (Genesi?) on the block that we live on. Took an R-Spec Genesis sedan for a drive a few years ago at our Hyundai dealership, it was the dealer’s car. It is a very good auto, sort of like ‘the best of Buick’ and fully deserving of most of the accolades.

      And he was willing to part with it later at a very compelling discount, but still outside of what I would/could pay.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I’m certainly not unimpressed by “Genesis”, Arthur, but but no one’s buying them. It seems like one of those cars that people like enough to look at but not make the leap on.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          The G80 does okay at 2605 YTD. That beats anything that’s not the 5-Series, E-class, or ES. It sells better than the A6 and nonGerman competition.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            G80 gets beaten HANDILY by the BMW 5 as well, despite the fact that BMW is a lot more expensive.

            If Hyundai wants to move more G80s, I’d say they need a more aggressive leasing program. Around here, you can lease an E-class for almost exactly the same money. I know what I’d be doing.

            And this illustrates the problem with Genesis: it hasn’t generated a lot of prestige (at least not yet), thus its’ depreciation curve is very steep. You can find lots of lightly used ’15 and ’16 ones that are a year or two old for giveaway money.

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          “Here, try this diamond-encrusted Timex, with alligator strap.” Underneath, it’s still a Timex.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          To be fair, no one’s buying sedans in general. The Genesis cars are as good an effort as anything, but the brand needs SUVs and crossovers.

        • 0 avatar
          arach

          I think it needs 10-15 years to bake, that simple… But you need a good car to get there eventually.

          Remember Hyundai 15 years ago? Who would drive one? Only those who couldn’t afford a decent car!

          Now they are considered a decent respectable car.

          Its a lot of work to barge up against the big players. They may have a niche though that Cadillac and Buick are neglecting (Budget luxury). They’ll never be a Lexus or BMW, but theres room for slow painful growth.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    I like the interior styling of the CT6, the dash and IP not so much. I do think they need to go more towards El Miraj or however it was spelled. Bold luxury styling and pace with grace. The auto mags love the handling and chassis on Caddys which I could appreciate as well but not at the expense of comfort and good ergonomics.

    Just look at MB and Audi interiors, that is how you do a luxury interior.

    By all means tune it in the V-series but tune the regular versions for the 50-70 year olds who actually buy it.

    If I could have afforded one I would have bought a CTS-V wagon with a manual. Had they done the right thing and made a Chevy Nomad with the trans and engine from the SS I would have because Chevy buyers are the ones who want it and its in their price point.

  • avatar
    CaddyDaddy

    Our Family and friends were all Cadillac people. We scoffed at those who drove tin can 190e’s or 325’s or sweated and glued their butts to MB Tex because the A/C systems were garbage. Cadillac had style and marketing! Yes it was better than a Mercedes for road trips and we did not care about fuel economy.

    As the years went on and we endured HT4100’s, Northstar’s, Omega’s that Zigged and downsized Deville’s. Everbody moved on to different brands or realized that a 96′ Caprice was better than a Fleetwood or how a Tahoe with a Vortec was a far superior vehicle to a N. Star Deville. Now it’s Denali, King Ranch, and Longhorns.

    To get us into a Cadillac dealership, I’m supposed to be enticed by 20 something hipster girls listening to a stereo on a deserted Manhattan Street during a rain storm. Does that conjure up the feeling of premium or or the statement that “You Have Arrived”. Today I walk into a Cadillac dealership and it screams hey look at me, I’m almost like a BMW with Made in China stamped almost everywhere and 4cyl power plants to add to the dismal offerings.

    I miss the Ad for a 1991 Fleetwood towing an Airstream up a steep snowy road touting the towing abilities and traction control. Now that’s marketing.

    As was in the past, the mature generation, the ones who have money and drive, they want big, comfortable, high powered V-8 automobiles. Its America!

    Sorry Cadillac, Not getting my business. “…… you kids get off my lawn!”

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      ‘CaddyDaddy’ Thanks for that. It represents my feelings in a far better way than I could post.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Excellent post.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I get where you’re coming from, daddy, but the problem is this: the big, comfortable V-8 sedan market is pretty much dead.

      Until a few years back, Cadillac made one – the DTS. And it died from lack of sales. Lincoln sold one too – the Town Car – and it died from lack of sales. Chrysler is still making one, but it’s not setting the world on fire sales-wise.

      Even the more “traditional,” cushy luxury cars – LaCrosse, Lexus ES, Toyota
      Avalon – are not selling.

      I’m sure that if there were some deep, rich vein of 100,000 buyers waiting for a “traditional” V-8 American luxury car, they’d be making them.

      The folks who were buying them have switched to full size SUVs and pickups.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        But the ATS, CTS, and CT6 already exist and already don’t sell that well (especially the CTS).

        So they don’t need to do a clean sheet car because they’ve already flushed the money down the toilet. Why not dump the 6.2L into the CTS and CT6 and the 5.3L into the aging ATS and see what happens? I certainly don’t think the availability of a V8 would make sales go *down*.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Sure, they can do that, ajla, but I think better styling, improved versions of the current engines, and upgraded interiors would sell more cars (or at least stop the sales bleeding). Dropping a big-a** motor into the same cars with the same execution problems doesn’t seem like a long term fix to me.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        That’s the second time you’ve referred to the DTS as a big car in this thread.

        The DTS was a freaking AURORA. Transverse engine. Back seat legroom was nonexistent. It was like a crappy Camry XLE with a tendency to pop its engine.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Like some weird chick with purple eyeglass frames is going to being intrigued by a Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      You sound like you are getting up in years for a V-series or Vsport, but I’ve enjoyed a few V-series since 2004 CTS that replaced a AMG. Today they are too expensive and find my speed in lesser models that have benefited from GM’s excellent driving characteristics.

      Buick offers conservative styling and a less edgey driving dynamic today.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    This is interesting. I went to my local auto show last week and compared the same vehicles. I was most impressed with the CT6 Platinum over the others. The seats were the most comfortable and the upgraded butterscotch leather and wood interior was the highest quality of the big luxo sedans tested here. It’s gotta be the Platinum though.

    The Continental was disappointing. It looks great with all the chrome details to mimic great Lincolns of the 60s, but once inside the falseness of it comes through. If you’re gonna put chrome on everything, make it metal. Where the CT6 is expansive, the Continental feels big-car cramped like a Taurus. The 9000 way adjustable front seats are nice, but still not as comfortable as the CT6’s. Maybe after spending 20 minutes adjusting, they could be as good. The electric door handles integrated into the chrome trim are cool. I learned that each door has it’s own battery back up in case of power failure.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      This is pretty much what I wanted to say – I sat in the Continental at the auto show, and couldn’t help but think how much was inspired by the Benz E-Class sitting across the aisle, but using parts that would be acceptable in a Fusion. Not that the CT6 doesn’t have its fair share of budget counted details as well, but I wonder how much of the perception is driven by Cadillac’s desire to use dour, Teutonic black for their interiors, while Lincoln at least uses more dramatic colour schemes.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I can’t help but think that the CT6 Platinum that I experienced was an entirely different interior than what most others were conveying here. It was nice.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I sampled one too, Danio…overall, it’s OK. Too much cheap plastic and dull looking trim in there, and the leather doesn’t look as rich as it should at this price point. The seats look plain and flat. Love the wood trim, though, and putting some right under the horn is a nice touch.

          It needed to be dazzling and is merely competent.

          That touchpad control for CUE is awful.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “The seats look plain and flat”

            This definitely wasn’t the same car. The seats weren’t even close to that description. I could hardly find any trim that wasn’t covered in leather including the glove box door.

    • 0 avatar
      e30gator

      And when I think of all the electronic gimmickry that Lincoln has packed in there, images of bottomed out ’99 Continentals with leaky airbag suspensions come to mind.

      Granted, the folks laying down $70k for one probably wont keep it that long, but which car would you feel more comfortable putting 200k miles on; the Continental or CT6?

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        “the folks laying down $70k for one probably wont keep it that long, but which car would you feel more comfortable putting 200k miles on; the Continental or CT6?”

        A 1 year old Lexus LS

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “It looks great with all the chrome details to mimic great Lincolns of the 60s, but once inside the falseness of it comes through.”

      This. I’d have to drive it to make a final verdict, but I wasn’t impressed with the interior materials I saw in this car…and the one I sampled was on a dealer lot, versus one that’s been trashed at an auto show.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      In your view, which offers better TCO over ten years?

      CT6 3.6 N/A V6 RWD
      Conti 3.7 N/A V6 FWD

      (Yes I deleted AWD to eliminate points of failure)

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The Continental’s back seat has got to be the worse. The bottom cushion was rock hard and made me want to exit.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    Nah. People gotta know that Cadillac is building good cars before going back to catchy advertising gimmicks. Even though it was new in the early 90’s, Lexus had the reputation of Toyota behind them, so perception of quality wasn’t an issue. Maybe Cadillac is trying to build a better BMW, but don’t forget that that’s exactly how BMW got their start in the US marketplace until eventually becoming the “new Cadillac” for the upper middle class.

    I have to disagree that people would forgive a lipstick on a pig facade of a car in favor of “impressing” their neighbors with a Cadillac in the driveway solely due to advertising.

    GM took a big hit on the public perception of their products due to quality issues in the 80’s. People saw past the fins and huge chrome grills and bought 7 Series’ and S classes instead.

    Lincoln, in contrast, is copying what Chrysler did in 2005 with the 300. Creating a big, brash “American” car. Unfortunately for FCA, that concept didn’t have the lasting impact on brand image that Mercedes garnered over the years by building great cars.

    Could the Continental be the car that turns Lincoln into something other than a trim level on a lesser Ford. Maybe. But as the sun continues to set on BMW in terms of brand image (are they still the “ultimate driving machine”?), I wouldn’t bet on it.

    Cadillac just needs a Matthew McConaughey and a ribbon.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “People gotta know that Cadillac is building good cars before going back to catchy advertising gimmicks.”

      That’s my concern with them. I don’t care what emblem’s on the hood, but Cadillac quality is still a jump ball. Throw in a Jaguar warranty with all maintenance paid for for 5 years and 60k miles and get people to at least notice the damn things.

  • avatar
    Edsel Maserati

    Has anyone here actually driven the CT6 in anger? I had a week in the 3.0 TT with the rear-wheel steering and 400 horsepower and thought it was a hell of a lot of fun down a winding lane. I like big fast cars and this was a beaut. I would own one in a heartbeat. The only aspect of interior I noticed with negativity was the CUE screen, which is still irksome but there are enough buttons and knobs so that you get along quite well. (Unlike Jaguar’s screen, which is so fussy it should be illegal.)
    The Continental has a better interior? Not if you sit in the back seat. The CT6 is like a limo back there (something that will appeal to the Chinese market) and the Continental’s rear seats are hard and provide scant headroom. And this is amazing because the Continental is one huge vehicle. This makes it very impressive in the driveway where it bulges and shines like a Bentley. But drive it with zest on a curvy road? No, no and no. It has a solemn grandeur, let’s say. Nice ride, not at all floaty, buttoned up. But neither does it want you to get sporty.
    I don’t quite understand the urge to market this like it’s a 1950s luxury liner. The potential customers for these luxo beasts is likely the person who’s been driving fast German cars and thus has a strong sense of what decent handling is all about. Even if you rarely drive fast, you know what road poise is all about now.
    Those in the market for prestige vehicles are probably eyeing Porsche Macans, Teslas, big black Escalades and the like.
    Cadillac’s new boss comes from Audi and I bet he keeps pushing the brand in that direction.
    Is the CT6 better than the Audi A8? Uh, no. But neither does it cost as much. And it’s too early to tell on reliability.
    What’s actually missing from Cadillac’s marketing is the message that the company is producing some road-worthy cars. That’s what impressed me about the CT6, not to mention some of V-series cousins.
    What Cadillac needs back is the image it had when studs like Elvis, Paul Newman and every heavyweight fighter were seen behind the wheel. “We’re tough and we drive like hell.” That’s what they need.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I completely agree with you, but Cadillacs have not been “tough and drive like hell” for decades. Coolant leaks, recent piston failures, melting alum blocks, self immolating engines – and that’s just the motors. Tough and drive like hell would be *standard* LS V8 across the model line not one off 3.0 TT with a zero to Bust Out Another Thousand of 27 months or less. Johann the Zohan doesn’t know what the hell he is doing, but I suspect it is the incredible dysfunction above his head which is responsible for the issues as much as it is the Audi man himself (literally becoming Audi is the worst mistake for the marque IMO. Audi is worldwide and desirable despite VAG, Cadillac is neither).

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      ‘What Cadillac needs back is the image it had when studs like Elvis, Paul Newman and every heavyweight fighter were seen behind the wheel. “We’re tough and we drive like hell.” That’s what they need.”

      I’d say the kind of buyer this appeals to will have zero interest in any sedan – Cadillac or not – and will go straight for an Escalade, or a duded-up pickup truck.

  • avatar
    Willyam

    Those of us over 40 have witnessed the “watering down” of Cadillac as a brand. Yes, great marketing will get attention, but without a solid luxury product to actually envy, what’s the point? My Grandfather always wanted them, growing up poor in the twenties. By the time he began buying them, we got to experience cars that were the equivalent of a McDonald’s fountain drink. Only the essence remained.

    He was a small-town agriculture lawyer and politician, and you just didn’t park a Cadillac in the driveway. It was rude in a Boss Hogg way, so he waited.

    When he retired to the southwest, he purchased a new one every two years for the rest of his life. Bustle-backs, Broughams, Sevilles and DeVilles, I got to experience them all. I even got to illegally drive a few on visits (the only other traffic in the community being golf carts). They became brighter in color with hand-striped decoration, Landau tops, and gold-plated Arizona-Edition emblems and front-drive. Pillowy seats and hard steering wheels that rings clicked on. Pointless power trunks and antennae. The last was a rattly SLS.

    The CTS filled me with hope until I rode in one and it rattled and squeaked just as much as my G6. For nostalgia’s sake, I WANT Cadillac to rise and be aspirational, and the baller-Escalade doesn’t really count. But then again it is big and brash and stupid, kind of like a V16 right at the onset of the Great Depression.

    I believe they would have to release Cadillac to save it. Allow it to be it’s own unique brand, as VW does. They can build great cars. Witness the C7 and the Z28. By coincidence I just finished listening to the NUMMI-plant episode of This American Life podcast. It’s great if you haven’t heard it. It explains a lot about GM’s inability to change. Ever.

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez_Returns

    How does Buick fit into the equation for GM?

  • avatar

    Cadillac cannot seem to win. For years’ critics and enthusiasts have been complaining their cars are too soft and lack handling precision. Now they are complaining Cadillac great handling comes at the expense of a soft ride.

    I think many forget that CTS, and ATS have won North American car of the year in the recent past. Cadillac at least shows American engineers can hold their own against the world’s best.

    Maybe Cadillac’s are just too expensive. Despite this Cadillac still outsells Lincoln and Infiniti models by a 2 to 1 margin.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      As I’ve said multiple times in the past, Internet Car People are defined by how vehemently they complain about cars they have no intention of buying.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      “I think many forget that CTS, and ATS have won North American car of the year in the recent past.”

      Is this sarcasm?

      • 0 avatar
        Snooder

        The ATS is a very nice car.

        I mean, part if it is that the competition isnt exactly great. Seriously, what other American luxury sedan/coupe are you gonna get? Lincoln basically doesn’t exist. The Chrysler 300 is a boat (a nice boat, but still a boat), and the 200 is crap.

        If you want a not too expensive American luxury sedan and aren’t 70 years old, the ATS is pretty much it.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I don’t really consider the ATS a luxury car. It’s a good little sport sedan but it doesn’t have luxury features than can’t be had on a regular midsize sedan.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I was saying years ago that Lincoln should have licensed the Equus from Hyundai. It was more of a luxury car than anything they were building at the time, when the MKS was their flagship.

    I think Cadillac is a bit better off, but I would still rather ride in the back of the G90.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The MKS interior is quite a lot nicer than that of the first-gen Equus. Hyundai improved it quite a bit with the G90 — to, as Jack says, “acceptable.”

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I haven’t spent time in the back of an MKS. I appreciated the reclining rear seats, foot rest, refrigerated compartment, heated/cooled massaging seats, and audio controls in the back of the Equus.

        This was in Korea though, I’m not sure that all those options made it to the US.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          My issue with the Equus (also having ridden in back) wasn’t features, but material and assembly quality. It didn’t hold up to livery use. MKS and MKT do fine in the same service.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I’ve thought for years that both Lincoln and Cadillac need to get back to what makes American luxury a bit different from German or Japanese luxury. Depending on your perspective that might be “elegance” or “bling,” but either way it’s chrome, more than a bit of showiness, and an in-your-face attitude.

    And both Lincoln and Cadillac are missing opportunities in this respect with their existing products.

    Look at the Continental Black Label interiors. Even if some parts don’t feel quite right, they have the right look. Why are the interiors of the lesser trim levels toned down? Every Continental should look like the Black Label inside. Outside, every one should have the LED headlights, those mind-bending 20s that are optional on the Black Label, and the big chrome rocker panel strip from the concept.

    And likewise for Cadillac. Danio3834 is right on about the CT6 Platinum interior — it’s nicer than the rest. Make those improvements standard across the line. Put on some big, shiny wheels and a bit more chrome. Play up the connection to the Escalade.

    Then bring in the Mad Men, just like Jack says. Market the extra bling as something new, refreshing, and distinctively American after three decades of unceasing German dourness, which has now infected LR/Jaguar and Bentley too, in the luxury market. Advertise it the same way Reagan campaigned for president in 1980. Make Lincoln and Cadillac all about the swagger again, just with products that are reasonably competent instead of dreadful.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Interesting observation on the whole Black Label thing – apparently you have to be a “Black Label” dealer to sell that trim level, but we don’t have any of those around here.

      But I’ll say this: I wasn’t all that impressed by the Continental’s interior.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    Getting an up close look at the CT6 that was on display, I really like the lines, but the car seems WAY over priced for the quality. There’s just a cheapness there that doesn’t say flagship at all.

    It should be a $50k vehicle, it seems to me Cadillac could come up with something like that in the price range (skip the exotic nonsense that nobody care about) and they would do really well.

    • 0 avatar
      Zero Cool

      I’d have to agree. I love the CT6, I think it’s pretty rad. But all the anecdotal evidence I’ve seen, the XTS beats it when people go in to check out the big, bad, Cadillacs. They can’t justify the increase in price.

  • avatar
    Snooder

    Am I the only one who remembers the ELR superbowl commercial?

    Or the supremely great Escalade commercial showing the evolution of rich people from sedan chairs to 3 row SUVs.

    Cadillac’s marketing isn’t bad. The problem is twofold. First, they arent doing enough to kill off the “this is for the olds” mentality. Second, the cars are close but not quite there yet.

    And i say this as a 30 year old guy driving an ATS coupe. I love my ATS. I got it for exactly the same reasons you mentioned, because i got my first real job and i wanted to show off to family and friends. But I’ll admit that sometimes its not quite there. After two years, the road noise is beginning to irritate. The infotainment is stellar when it works, but its already had to be replaced.

    But really, what gets my goat and why ill probably go with bmw when the lease is up is simple. Im tired of explaining why i got a caddy. The whole point of the thing is to have a statement piece that screams “im a young stud with a fancy sports car”. And sadly, it doesnt do that. Insteadni have to explain that “yes, it drives just like a bmw” and “no, its not your daddy’s caddy”.

    Overall, for what I paid for it with incentives and such, it was a great choice, but unless something drastically changes in the next year or so, i won’t be getting another one.

    • 0 avatar
      dominic1962

      I’m about your age, and I’d get a Caddy for the opposite reason if they still made old school ones. Actually, if I had the space, I’d get an 80s Fleetwood d’Elegance and/or a ’74 Talisman. I love them big and bold, something grandpa would have drove back in the day.

      But that is precisely Cadillac’s problem-they are a luxoboat company trying to out-BMW BMW. All their cachet is built up from their old V16 and Eldorado drop top days.

      Maybe the big sedan is a dying market, but they certainly bother to make a lot of new contenders for something that has been proclaimed dead on its feet for years.

  • avatar

    The 5 in the XT5 logo looks like it was borrowed from Chevy’s SS logo.

  • avatar

    There was a novelty hit back in the late ’50s called Beep Beep aka The Little Nash Rambler and there’s a lyric that perfectly sums up what Cadillac’s brand should be:

    “I’ll show him that a Cadillac is not a car to scorn”.

    Caddys were all about showing off your success. If you didn’t want the ostenstation, you bought something else. Buicks were known as doctors’ cars in part because there was a time when it wasn’t good business for doctors to show off how much money they made, so they drove Buicks instead of Cadillacs. My late uncle was a millionaire, a mortgage banker, and he drove an Oldsmobile. Growing up, my best friend’s family owned a plumbing supply that thrived in the ’50s and ’60s as the Detroit suburbs were built. His dad drove Buicks. He could afford a Cadillac but a Deuce & A Quarter was about as showy as he wanted to get.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Funny, that guy at Autoextremist has said exactly the same thing. GM needs a marketing chief to hold a whip to the divisions. Exterior styling and interior design take time, but a marketing chief would put an end to CT-this and CT-that, and put names on the models, on his first day in charge.

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    Badge engineer the Tahoe to 100k, count the dollars just rolling in, laugh at the ungodly amount of free marketing courtesy of every rocker, rapper, Superbowl MVP, actress etc.

    Roll back advertising and product placement. Do your best to ignore the gentlemen with gold capped teeth and loud tattoos. Run away from the image of a Hollywood starlet rolling herself out from a night out. Whisper that you’re concerned with the optics of the philandering golfer driving your vehicle, who just happens to be something other than Caucasian.

    No, your 100k TahoeBlingBling is now a “family vehicle.” That even though GM has lost 2/3 of what they were selling, this vehicle now represents “my family space. This is where we talk.” Seriously? They’re that f’ing stupid? Well, yeah.

    Racist a-holes to boot. They only want to sell to the “right” type POC. That latest CT6 commercial – “not too black” for the black professional. Is she Hispanic? Is she Black? Can’t really tell. Throw an Asian father and son in to CUV clad in harmonious sweaters, glasses, and well behaved.

    F*** You Cadillac. Concierge service, burger king rings, European inspired. Hey, it worked real well with the Celebrity Eurosport. Why not try again.

    Cadillac was successful because it always represented aspirational success. You worked hard enough – you got a Cadillac. It worked for my locomotive engineer grandfather, and my Italian mother has her heart set on one. The model works for kids in the hood, and their white counterparts in the suburb. White collar, blue collar – a Cadillac meant you attained something.

    But screw that – lets focus on those Brooklyn gentrified size 0 quasi hipsters, featureless and formless. Call ourselves “pioneers” riding over rain soaked cobblestones in this hipster mecca, and state your past is past. That new concierge service for those without parking spots, or don’t want the “trouble” of “owning” a car are going to come running, right?

    Who in God’s name are they kidding? Give me something I can one day hope to attain, that’s brash, bold, and accepted by those people who might just not work in finance, may hit a ball, cut a record, or cause trouble.

    Funny, in the 1930’s Cadillac found out their most dedicated customer base was inner city black professionals who had to use white straw buyers to purchase their dream. 80 years later – GM doesn’t want to acknowledge their most loyal customer base. Pathetic.

    Look, when you push something that acknowledges Hank Williams Jr., Elvis, Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Sammy Davis.Jr., JOhnny Cash, and Mohammed Ali and their modern day contempories – maybe you’ll get some traction. If you keep coming at me with Trevor and Florence living in Park Slope or Henry Lockjaw of Goldman Sachs and Greenwich, you’ll stay dead to me.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Cadillac missed the boat on capitalizing on the Escalade brand and instead, spent money on cars, billions mind you, that should have be poured into SUVs.

    An Escalade Sport and an Escalade Evoq of sorts would be selling like wildfire right now.

    Instead, we have the XT5 and the CT6, neither of which are lighting the sales charts on fire right now. Oh yea, and the ATS.

    When they discontinued the Trail Blazer / Envoy / Rainer, that platform should have been updated to make what could have been an Escalade Sport. Then, it would have been bespoke to Cadillac and no one could complain about it being badge engineered. SRX should have moved upmarket and competed with the Evoq.

    My plan wouldn’t have cost $12B, either.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Lincoln Continental: Off the rack suit has been tailored, french cuffs; shoes get shoe trees. Anything Cadillac: Discount store suit that fits “just fine”, shirts featuring colors only found on tropical fruits, and a pinky ring. If he hit the lottery, he’ buy a Z-71 Silverado to show how macho he is. Until Cadillac sheds that image, no one will take them seriously. Decades long issue with GM: the Corvette is their halo sports car. Almost none of the things that make Corvettes a great car and a great value are shared with the Cadillac brand.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    I was going to post, but I can’t even generate the interest at this point. Maybe the spied mid engine “Corvette” is really the rumored Cadillac halo car. That might be interesting. Then get rid of that ridiculous Melody Lee and her cronies. Really, I have a feeling Melody isn’t a Mary Barra in the larval stage. Dumb? Melody thought M&M’s were W&W’s until this past year. You don’t “tell” people your brand is hip. People have to discover something and find it desirable. Melody should be leading a focus group to pick new Crayola colors.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Johan-Uwe-Melody, aka “The Axis of Utter Incompetents.”

      Without the Escalade and XT5, Cadillac would already be dead. Even with the Escalade and XT5, it’s on life-support.

      Johan conned a very slow-witted Mary Barra to cut a check to Cadillac, no strings attached, for 12 billion USD (equal to the price-tag of 1/3 of all GM chassis and powertrain development through 2023), even though Cadillac sells just 5% of all vehicles out of GM’s portfolio, and Cadillac essentially loses money for GM, with *awesome* products such as the ATS, CTS, XTS and now, CT6 (the CT6 has interior quality and ride quality that are shockingly bad, its owners are already suffering mass electrical and transmission problems, and wait until CT6 owners/lessees see the unnecessary complexity and stupidity underlying the CT6 chassis fabrication, post-accidents and post-insurance claims), hence Johan’s desperation in trying to cut at least 1/3 of all Cadillac pawn stores…err dealerships, in a move to try and cut costs.

      • 0 avatar
        Zero Cool

        I think you forget to add “XTS”. XTS dominates and pays the bills (with the Escalade) at Cadillac. It’s the last real “Cadillac” per say.

  • avatar
    frnpwrbby97

    People (especially with luxury cars) will buy the superior product. Cadillac sold poorly built, unreliable land yachts to old farts in Florida for far too long. Who really wants a caddy anymore? Other than your poor ghetto or redneck teenager, or right wing extremist from Texas that wants to “BE AMERICAN, BUY AMERICAN” regardless of how poorly they’re built? Absolutely no one!

    As evident in reliability surveys, Cadillac (like the rest of Detroit) cannot build a quality car to save their lives. Not to mention, their markering is atrocious.

    I grew up around domestic cars, I’ve owned a few domestic cars, as well as several Asian and European imports. Guess which ones were some of the worst? You guessed it, the one from the “Land of the free, home of the brave”. Which was the worst out of all the cars I owned? You guessed it, a Cadillac. My 2012 Cadillac SRX was bought back after a litany of issues. That POS had much more problems than a used 1996 Jaguar XJ6 I bought used with 70k miles and drove til 190k miles. Isn’t that sad when an older Jaguar has less problems than a car from a brand that is preceived to be “just okay”? Want to know what I replaced it with? A fully loaded 2013 GLK350. I’ve now had it for 4 years, has upwards of 100k miles on it, and it has NEVER seen the dealership for anything other than oil changes. I also have a brand new Jap (Infiniti Q70l) parked next to it, that too hasnt had any problems.

    Cadillac, nobody wants your shitty cars. Burn in the firey flames of hell.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      In fairness you bought an X300 just when the newer Ford bodystyle came out but the older more reliable (for a Jaguar) AJ16 powertrain carried over. If you had purchased an MY98-00 X308 with the 4.0 AJ-V8 and bonus Nikasil defect you’d be singing a different tune about Jaguar sir.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Yes, Cadillac, please take Jack’s advice!

    Then I can buy a 3 year old off lease one at an absurdly good price when my recently acquired 2013 Genesis is ready to move on (21,000 miles, factory powertrain warranty to 100k miles, $17,999 purchase price).

    One more thing: Give Cadillacs actual names! Eldorado, Fleetwood, deVille, LaSalle, Escalade … those are great names. XXN means nothing!!! Actually, it means worse than nothing …. it means “Hey, we are almost like the Germans”. Nobody wants a Cadillac to be like a German car. Corvette doesn’t offer a bargain basement Porsche, so how did another brand from the same company get it so wrong? Should Corvette be re-named a Chevrolet X93? Heck, even Porsche has moved away from numeric models (911, 924, 944, etc.) to great names like Boxster, Cayman, Panamera, Cayenne, etc..

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Then I can buy a 3 year old off lease one at an absurdly good price when my recently acquired 2013 Genesis is ready to move on (21,000 miles, factory powertrain warranty to 100k miles, $17,999 purchase price).”

      LOL at the clueless Internet Car Person.

      they don’t care about you. they’re not selling used cars.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Sweet paint quality and metal components alignment on those two incredible vehicles pictured above!

    Also, incredible tail light quality in terms of plastic and design, fit, assembly and technology!

    Details matter! Lexus ain’t got nothing on Cadillac now, under Johan’s tutelage!!!

    Cadillac is Standard of World, bros! Ride in bespoke style, comfort and elegance with class leading technology that shames Bentley let alone Mercedes or Audi!!

    CT6 has interior materials with textures and quality straight out of Shenzhen!!!

    The true flagship sedan that will be unveiled sometime between 2021 and 2027 will be named the C-HNA, AND BE FEATURED IN THE BLOCKBUSTER MOVIE ‘ENTOURAGE: PART V – THE RISE OF JOHNNY DRAMA’

    And General Motors is truly Mark of Excellence!!!

    Great quality! Really durable, reliable, incredibly assembled vehicles!!!!

    Those 2.0T motors are the the stuff of legends! (Google “GM 2.0T Issues” to see incredible tales of woe).

    Good to see 3.6 liter GM engines have uncorrected timing chain problem since forever that results in catastrophic engine failure! (Google “GM 3.6 liter chain issues”).

    Great interior plastics, trim and design!!! Nice aesthetics!!

    (Will GM be bailed out again? INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW!!!)

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    Have you seen the latest Cadillac commercial? The only car they show is the Escala concept, both on on a pedestal and on the street, with a voice-over that says it “will inspire every car that follows.” Then there’s fine print that says it’s a concept that shows the direction Cadillac styling will be going. Are they that ashamed of their current bland cars they can only advertise a promise that they may get better some time in the future?

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    I see you are still gassing up the internet with your novels. UGH!

  • avatar

    I just checked autonews and can plainly see that Cadillac has surpassed Buick this year in sales. I would like to see Cadillac surpass Audi for third place. Because of the XT5 Cadillac has pretty much put Aura to bed.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    When I’m feeling like I’m as old as my license says I am, I head to the Pearl District and have a stupidly expensive lunch with an old girlfriend that makes everyone do a double take, since she apparently made a pact with Mephistopheles in that she actually looks better than she did 15 years ago. From our vantage point, about six floors up, I can see the business address of the answer to this dilemma – Weiden & Kennedy. They have the perfectly amoral raison d’etre for this project without making any deals at any southern crossroad. That pretentious moron Cadillac hired should beg them to take the job while shoveling wheelbarrows of cash to prime the pump. Oh, and I’ll need a an adjunct consulting fee of 1% of the first year’s billings.


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