Future large luxury will come with a plug, because electrification is the sole option for the industry’s tony brands to maintain their conspicuous opulence amid an impending global emissions crackdown. Goodbye growling V-8s, hello whirring electric motors.

And you know what? If the ’17 Cadillac CT6 Plug-In serves as any evidence, perhaps life off the gas nozzle and on the electric grid won’t be that boring after all.

The CT6 plug-in, which joins similar electrified large-luxury sedan offerings from brands such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche, is delightful to drive, delivers outstanding fuel economy, and, while it may omit some luxury-car staples in the name of efficiency, it is as comfortable and connected as anything on the road.

The CT6 uses lithium-ion battery technology deployed elsewhere within the General Motors portfolio for several years, most notably on the more budget-minded Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle. The 18.4-kWh pack in the CT6 provides owners with 31 miles (50 km) of fully electric range, give or take a couple miles for weather, driving habits and conditions. A 2.0L turbocharged gasoline direct-injection 4-cyl. boosts its range to an EPA-estimated 440 miles (708 km).

A dual-motor electric variable transmission provides drive to the rear wheels and combines with the engine for a total system output of 335 hp and 432 lb.-ft. (586 Nm) of torque.

WardsAuto editors logged 433 miles (697 km) of everyday driving over eight days last month, and the CT6 returned 49.6 mpg (4.7 L/100 km) and 59.3 mpg-e (4.0L/100 km), which is a couple ticks shy of its EPA-estimated 62 mpg-e (3.8L/100 km). The plug-in’s fuel economy compares to a peak 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km) highway in a CT6 outfitted with a standard 2.0L turbo, so there’s a big step up in efficiency with the electrification.

Taken another way, the average driver of the CT6 plug-in would spend $1.76 to travel 25 miles (40 km). That’s nearly $0.75 cheaper than the average gallon (3.8 L) of gasoline in the U.S. There’s no anxiety over running out of battery charge and getting stranded with nowhere to plug in, either, because the gasoline engine can do all the work if necessary.


The CT6 plug-in is a boatload of fun to drive, too. The car’s propulsion controls do a masterful job of maximizing electric range, even at highway speeds. The hefty sedan is quick off the line with the electric motors pouring out torque rivaling the creamiest of big-displacement gasoline engines. GM estimates the car will sprint 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.2 seconds, which according to third-party testing is 0.7 seconds quicker than a CT6 outfitted with a twin-turbo V-6.

There was an occasional hiccup in the system. When cruising at highway speeds and thumping on the throttle to pass or enter a freeway, the car’s controls were sometimes indecisive.

But during those miles of pure electric power, the car moves along as quietly as a big, prowling cat. Dip into the throttle, and it springs to action just as ferociously.

Myriad high-resolution gauges chart the car’s efficiency and the propulsion symphony occurring under its skin. The switch from electricity to gasoline is nearly imperceptible, although there is a mechanical drone every now and then under battery power, presumably from the power inverter.

Colorful gauges within the instrument panel offer drivers a quick reference point for the battery’s state of charge, estimated electric range and combined range with the gasoline engine. A deeper dive into the propulsion system resides within the CUE infotainment system atop the center stack. It details state of charge, power flow and charging status and estimates of how long a full recharge may take. A detailed energy-consumption history also is available through CUE.