Automobiles

Cadillac readies a new flagship sedan for the New York auto show

We know a lot about Cadillac's new CT6 model, including its driveline and some cabin tech features, but what it looks like will remain a mystery until its New York unveiling next week.

Cadillac CT6 Mixed-Material Structure
Cadillac revealed some body styling, and the structure, of its new CT6 model with this image. Cadillac

If Cadillac can be said to have a flagship vehicle, it would have to be the Escalade , as the legendary American luxury brand lacks a big sedan to go up against competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz S-class and Lexus LS. That will change next week when Cadillac unveils its new CT6 model as a preview for the New York auto show.

Cadillac has kept the design under wraps, although we expect a large, elegant sedan. What details we have concern the car's structure, its driveline and a driver-assist feature that will carry it closer to autonomous driving that other cars on the road.

In a press release, Cadillac highlighted its combination of steel and aluminum in the body structure, and gave some indication to the shape of the new car. The release notes that the CT6's structure and body panels will be 64 percent aluminum, helping to save weight and improve efficiency. The image of the structure released by Cadillac shows a graceful inward rake of the rear pillars to the roof, along with a third window down the side, giving extra light for rear-seat passengers.

Cadillac CT6 engine
Cadillac fits its CT6 model with a new 3.6-liter V-6 engine, producing up to 335 horsepower. Cadillac

For power, the CT6 gets a 3.6-liter V-6, using direct injection to enhance efficiency. While that may sound familiar to the CTS model , Cadillac claims that this new engine is a clean-sheet design. At 335 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque, its output is impressive for a naturally-aspirated engine. That engine will use cylinder deactivation and idle-stop, features which should improve both its highway and city fuel economy ratings.

Further enhancing fuel economy, Cadillac joins its competition by mating an eight-speed automatic transmission to the new V-6.

The CT6 is also slated to debut Cadillac's smart mirror technology, a camera system that shows its display in the rearview mirror, offering an enhanced, obstruction-free view of what is behind the car. Cadillac may also introduce its Super Cruise feature, which self-steers while controlling braking and acceleration on the highway, in the CT6. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology may also be seen for the first time in a production car with the CT6, as GM has vowed to be an early adopter of this safety technology.

In recent years, Cadillac has attempted to field sport sedans to compete with models from BMW and Audi. The CT6 is likely to have sporting characteristics, but as a large, comfortable rear-wheel-drive sedan, it falls under a solid brand reputation area for Cadillac. The lack of a V-8, an engine-type apparently adhered to by luxury buyers, may give the CT6 an additional hurdle to get over. Its name comes off a little strange, especially in light of the current CTS model, but Cadillac notes that it will be changing its model naming overall, relying on the letters CT followed by a number to denote size in its model range.

CNET will be covering the 2015 New York International Auto Show next week, and will post more details about the Cadillac CT6 when they come available.