Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Battle Of The Flagship American Luxury Cars: 2018 Cadillac CT6 Premium RWD Vs. 2018 Lincoln Continental FWD


Highlights: Both the CT6 and the Continental are the last two American-built and designed flagship cars. Our CT6 was equipped with Cadillac’s SuperCruise system.

Cadillac CT6 AWD MSRP: $81,990 (Base Price: $55,090)

Lincoln Continental FWD MSRP: $81,620 (Base Price: $46,155)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features:

Cadillac: airbags; ABS; a rear view camera; OnStar safety system; teen driver’s safety package; daytime running lights; an automatic dimming rearview mirror; a compact spare tire; a road emergency tool kit; and a front and rear parking assist system

Lincoln: airbags; ABS: an automatic dimming driver’s side mirror; heated mirrors; a front and rear parking assist sensor; a tire pressure monitoring system; a rear view camera; a forward sensing braking system; a hill start assist sensor; a reverse sensing system; an integrated blind spot mirror system; and a spare tire



Standard Equipment:

Cadillac: 18-inch wheels; an 8-speed automatic transmission; an automatic start-stop fuel saving system; a variety of driving modes; a keyless ignition starter; a remote start system; a dual automatic climate control system; keyless ignition starter system; a keyless door system; a memory driver’s seat; 14-way power front seats; leather seats; a power operated tilt/telescopic leather wrapped steering wheel; an in-car wireless charging system; and a 10-inch infotainment screen

Lincoln: 18-inch wheels; a 6-speed automatic transmission; integrated blindspot mirrors; an automatic hold feature; non leather seats; an electric assist parking brake; power folding mirrors; a dual zone automatic temperature control system; dual chrome exhaust tips; 3 USB applications; heated front seats; 10-way power front heated seats; memory driver’s seat; a leather wrapped steering wheel; a remote engine start system; and a remote keyless entry system



Optional Features On Test Vehicle:

Cadillac: Super Cruise Package: 3 year hands free driving service for limited access freeways and automatic crash response, forward and reversing automatic braking, an adaptive cruise control system, a night vision system, a magnetic ride control system, and active rear steering; a Bose 34 speaker sound system; 20-inch silver wheels; and interior protection package

Lincoln: 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder engine; 30-way position seating; a rear seat package: a rear seat center armrest with cupholders, 4-way rear seat with power lumbar support, a heated/ventilated rear seat, rear seat back controls, sun blinds, dual rear seat ashtrays, manual rear headrests, inflatable rear seat belts; and Technology Package: an automatic dimming rearview mirror, an adaptive park assist system, an adaptive cruise control system, a 360-degree camera system, a heads up display system, and a lane departure warning system



Standard Audio On Test Vehicle:

Cadillac: a Bose 8-speaker AM/FM/HD with Satellite radio

Lincoln: a 10-speaker AM/FM Satellite radio

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes
                                                                                                        
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty:

Cadillac: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Lincoln: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty:

Cadillac: 6 years or 70,000 miles

Lincoln: 4 years or 50,000 miles


Standard Engine/Horsepower

Cadillac: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/265-horsepower

Lincoln: 2.7-liter, 6-cylinder/305-horsepower

Recommended Fuel (Base Engines):

Cadillac: Premium

Lincoln:  Unleaded

Standard Fuel Mileage (Base Engines):

Cadillac:
18/27 City/Highway

Lincoln:
22/30 City/Highway

What’s New:

Cadillac: With the exception of a few technological changes, the CT6 is a carryover for the 2018 model year.

Lincoln: After a long absence, the Lincoln Continental returned to the market in 2017. With this being the case, the vehicle is a carryover for the 2018 model year.




The Facts:

Cadillac: Cadillac’s flagship vehicle is available in a rear wheel drive or an all wheel drive configuration. With its sharply defined exterior styling cues, the CT6 is available in a variety of powertrains. Buyers can opt for a 4-cylinder, two 6-cylinder engines or a plug-in hybrid. A twin-turbo, 8- cylinder is expected to arrive during the 2019 model year, producing a whopping 550-horsepower.

The CT6 is geared toward buyers who are wowed by technology and gadgets. Depending upon the trim, the CT6 can be outfitted with such features an oversized power sunroof, a rear camera-like mirror, which allows the driver to see out the rear window without any obstructions, power folding exterior mirrors, a navigation system, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, an automatic heated steering wheel and a heads up display system.

Fortunately, we were able to get our hands on the top of the line Platinum trim. This higher end trim included such standard features as a larger 3.6-liter engine, 20-inch wheels, 34 speakers, a quad zone automatic temperature control system, a radar activated cruise control system, a forward and a reverse automatic braking system, 20-way power massaging front seats and rear seating massaging seats.

What really wowed us in the CT6 was the SuperCruise system. This is the only vehicle available for consumer purchase with a next level driving system.  The brand’s SuperCruise system which is exclusive to the CT6 is the next step toward autonomous driving, which allows the driver to cruise at highway speeds, without having to keep one’s hands on the steering wheel, as is the case with both the Teslas and the Volvos. While this system is advanced, drivers should not expect this system to work while driving on two lane roads or roads without defined lines.

Another notable safety point, with the SuperCruise, is that at any point, when the vehicle senses that the driver eyes are not focused and not engaged with the road, the system simply deactivates. And, at any point, the vehicle senses the driver is tired, the seat vibrates and the system shuts off, requiring the driver to take the wheel. This highly evolved system requires the driver to take the wheel, when changing lanes and or going around curves on an exit ramp. If at any point, the vehicle senses the driver is not taking control of the vehicle, the car will slow down and Onstar is automatically called. The SuperCruise system is only available on the CT6 top two trims.

And for those who prefer not to use the SuperCruise, they have the option of switching to the radar activated cruise control system.

Furthermore, the high-tech CT6 included a touch pad gesture recognition system, which allowed the driver to make adjustment to the infotainment system. Embedded in the infotainment system was an App that actually reads the occupants everything from the last news from the Wall Street Journal to audio books.

Lastly, the CT6 allows the driver to sort through a range of driving modes.

Lincoln: Lincoln’s flagship car is available in front wheel drive and an all wheel drive configuration. The vehicle is available with two 6-cylinder powertrains. The Continental trades in the traditional gear shift lever for piano-like keys. The Continental, with its more traditional exterior design, specifically pays attention to both luxury and seat comfort, especially when outfitted with the 30-way power front massaging seats.

The rear seats also partially recline. And in the limousine-like rear seating area, the right side rear passenger can slide the front passenger seat forward, providing more leg room with a simple touch of the button.



The Lincoln provides buttons and knobs to control the audio, ventilation and navigation systems. There is no maze of screens to swipe or scroll through in order to make adjustments or changes to the audio, ventilation and navigation systems. The vehicle also included a CD player which was hidden away in a storage compartment.

Moreover, depending on the trim, the Continental can be outfitted with a radar activated cruise control system, an electronic blind spot system, a lane keep assist system, an automatic parallel/perpendicular parking system.

Furthermore, Lincoln includes a 4 year or 50,000 maintenance warranty that coincides with the basic bumper to bumper warranty. The powertrain warranty also extends up to 70,000 miles. The Continental also provides better fuel mileage and more horsepower, with its base 6-cylinder engine.

But:

Cadillac: For those seeking an all-wheel drive model, they’ll have to step up to a CT6 outfitted with a 3.6 engine. The CT6 is truly designed for those who are enamored with technology. In a sense, we believe Cadillac has tried to trade-in their traditional car buyers for one who would typically lean toward the high end luxury imports. There were so much technology on the vehicle we never even had a chance to experience the massaging seats on our vehicle.

Conversely, buyers in this segment are still seeking knobs and buttons to control the audio, ventilation and navigation system. Cadillac has pushed the limits by eliminating the traditional means to control the infotainment system, opting for more of a smartphone-like operation. Buyers will need to keep a cloth towel handy to wipe the fingerprints off of the infotainment system. Also buyers shouldn’t expect a CD player either or a power-pull down trunk feature.



Furthermore, buyers yearning for a luxurious rear cabin, like that found in many of today’s flagship vehicles, will have to look elsewhere. The Continental offers a rear seating package that allows the rear occupants to control the ventilation system and the two-position partially reclining seats
and the ability to slide the front seat forward, providing additional legroom. Unfortunately, these luxury amenities escaped the CT6.

Moreover, we struggled to find a comfortable seating position in the CT6. There wasn’t enough support in the front seats. Ironically, after reviewing the Lincoln Continental a week earlier, with the optional 30-way power seats with a massage feature, it place Cadillac in a difficult position.

Lastly, even with the magnetic suspension, don’t expect the vehicle to float and soak up the road like the American luxury vehicles of the past. The Cadillac drives more like a firm import.

Lincoln: The design interior needs to infuse less hard plastic and more premium quality materials throughout the interior of the vehicle. We saw this elevation of consistency in the brand’s premium flagship SUV, the Navigator.

And for those seeking the traditional floating ride once particular to American vehicles, they’ll have to look elsewhere. The Continental does provide a better balance of handling and performance, as it navigates the roads.  

Moreover, the Lincoln is not available in a hybrid or a 4-cylinder powertrain. However, we know that the MKZ, which is Lincoln’s entry-level car, that hybrid technology is available. So, we can only assume that as long as Lincoln hold on to the Continental that this fuel saving technology will find its way into the brand’s flagship car.

Added to that, the Lincoln, like the Audi brand, is only available in a front wheel drive and an all-wheel drive configuration.

Furthermore, while the Lincoln is available with a radar activated cruise control system, it is no match for the CT6 SuperCruise system.



Verdict: Both flagship domestic brands seems to have taken a different approach to luxury. Cadillac has steered the CT6 to go after hardcore buyers, who are driven by technology, especially with the highly advanced drive system known as SuperCruise, where as the Lincoln has designed their vehicle for traditional luxury car buyers, who don’t have to necessarily seek out someone from a young generation to constantly help them figure our how to make simple changes to the audio and/or navigation system.

Also there is a distinct difference in how both vehicles are tuned for the road, as well as the Cadillac is powered by a rear wheel drive, while the Lincoln was configured with a front wheel drive system.

Buyers who are yearning to purchase a domestic flagship should drive both and see which one best fit their needs, before signing the dotted line.

Furthermore, the Cadillac CT6, with its SuperCruise  system, and other high tech features is priced significantly lower than such luxury benchmarks as the Lexus LS and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.


Competition: Acura RLX; Audi A5; BMW 5-Series; Infiniti Q70; Jaguar XE;
Kia K900; and Mercedes-Benz E-Class



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