Cadillac CT6 sets a new course, without a wreath (CNET On Cars, Episode 93)
A technology tour of the new Cadillac CT6.
Is rear wheel steering finally ready for your next car?
And your emails about GM's hydrogen dreams and red paint on cars.
[ENGINE ROAR] It's time to check the tech.
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This is C-Net on Cars
Welcome to C-Net on cars, the show all about high-tech cars and modern driving, I'm Brian Cooley, Cadillac's all-new CT6 is a really big deal for the company, it's a huge part of setting their future course for the brand and does so with a lot of tech.
A lot of cabin tech...
A lot of light [UNKNOWN] tech.
A lot of engine technology.
And they're also trying to make this car a real showcase for adaptive driving that just comes up to the edge of self driving.
We got a lot to cover as we get a look at the 16 CT6 with the two liter engine, which I find the most interesting.
And check all this tech.
Well, that makes me happy.
They've changed the Cadillac face.
You still recognize the kinda car it is, but it no longer looks like it was designed in a cutlery shop, all edges and blades and knives, softened it up.
More mature, more expensive looking, I think.
The first Cadillac, I believe, to get rid of that potty old wreath they've had so long they inspired Caesar to wear one.
As you work your way back, you find more of that understated maturity continuing, but here's where it gets interesting.
Comparing a pair of similar all wheel drive BMWs to the CT6 with the middle V6, the CT is much more car than a five series, yet at about the same weight.
It's closer to the length of a seven series, but at a much lower cost.
And it beats that seven on weight by quite a bit even though the seven uses a lot of carbon fiber these days.
GM uses a lot of aluminum and high-strength steel.
The CT6 with the basic V6 slots at the top of all of these in terms of the horsepower.
Though my real interest is in driving a CT with a two liter four.
We'll do that in a minute.
Now a lot of folks have griped about Cadillac Cue over the years, GM's apparently heard them.
You'll recognize the layout.
However, the response is quite a bit different, it used to be pretty sluggish now it's It's pretty quick, not just in recognizing your clicks, touches, or taps, but also in loading in what it is you called upon.
Now how you do that is either through the touchscreen, like you just saw.
It's about ten inches now, beautifully fared into the bezel and the mounting are.
But you've also got a touchpad down here which is used for one, two, or three finger multi-touch gestures, and it has haptic feedback.
But I'm remaining unconvinced about touchpads in general.
I just find these fiddly.
Now, similar to the video seen here on the main head unit, you've also got an all LCD instrument panel, which allows them to have flexible content there including a night vision display that can pick up pedestrians and animals.
I'm also rather unconvinced about those systems, because when they make you look down to avoid hitting something, that's Possibly why you're going to hit something.
Keep your damn eye off the road.
I'm looking forward to those systems becoming more hub driven.
Now Android auto and car play are stock on all these CT 6s, as they should be.
As they should be on just about any car these days.
Now I've saved the best for last.
The bell of the ball.
The one they had to go to Washington and fight the Feds for, is this guy.
What looks like an old-school mirror, because it's got the old toggle down here, but look what happens when you hit it.
It goes from being a mirror to being an ultra-wide rearview display, via video, that erases the pillars, headrest, and that high trunk back there.
This is what every car should have, and in the future, they will.
This is not your only rear camera, by the way.
You also get this as well as another rear camera here on the screen, it's a different camera by the way.
There's one last video trick I wanna show you.
If you go ahead to the key system and hit recorder, it get a set of camera's that are invoked to look out and record like a built in dash cam, except it's not mounted here in the dash, it's mounted front and rear of the body and it keeps clips For you up to the capacity of your SD card hidden back in the trunk.
It's a great event recorder for whatever may happen.
And it can be triggered by car the getting proximity alert or getting bumped when it's park.
I've done the coolly test.
I can set behind myself in this car which is a pretty good peek cuz I'm six two.
Also they got the head room right.
Big whale up here that really curves out of place for your head Pretty nice.
Know that we're in a Platinum.
This is the high-end car with the reclining, massage rear seats.
Not every CT6 will have these.
Now in terms of the electronics back here, they're doing a very interesting job of evangelizing technology that other car makers have kind of just said, well it's there.
Go do what you want with it.
Here is an HDMI connector, it's pretty unusual.
And next to that is a USB port.
What they've done is connected a Google Chromecast.
This Chromecast is picking up its data for its video content from a 4G hotspot in the car.
But I'm using the Chromecasting ability in this case from YouTube.
To control this guy, it's a thoroughly modern experience.
It's pretty rock solid.
I'm sitting here on local 4G in San Francisco.
This has not buffered once.
You can mirror the front head unit to either, or both of these screens, if you just wanna watch the map go by or something.
However, you cannot control the front head unit.
From these screens.
As we mentioned a minute ago, engines range from a 2 liter Turbo4 to a 3.6 liter natural V6 to a 3 liter Twin Turbo V6.
All with direct injection and fancy valve timing.
The V6s also have cylinder shut down to run on just four pots when cruising.
And the V6 cars are always all wheel drive.
The two liter cars never are.
If you want more, a twin turbo V8 is widely expected, but they're not yet confirming it.
On high trim all wheel drive cars, you can get an intriguing active chassis package, that'll have the magnetic ride control, 20 inch wheels, and rear wheel steering, that'll make high speed lane changes more stable, and low speed maneuvers tighter.
Three big points come across me on the road, in the CT 6. Number 1, Two liter turbo.
And I'm loving it.
Sound of the two liter turbo I'm not loving.
It's unseemly in a car of this stature and quality.
That's gonna be a mis-fit for some folks.
I'd be okay with it.
Secondly, ride quality.
This guy is much more like a Lexus than a BMW or an Audi with that real firm Sporty [UNKNOWN] but it's different than a Lexus ride, not sloppy at all, And I've got the standard suspension.
With the magnetic ride control, you'd have a lot more adaptability, and the car would probably cut in better, and certainly keep itself flatter.
Finally, there's a Bose audio system here, I didn't talk about when we were looking at other cabin It's called Panaray, 34 speakers around the cabin.
Most of them tiny, just a few inches.
There is just one sub on the back deck.
Their idea is, don't be labor any one speaker, spread it out around many.
Use digital signal processing to map the cabin.
That's not new.
They've got speakers in the head rest like some other cars do, but what they've done is to drive them in a way that you actually won't notice they're there.
They simply fill in part of the overall sound Skate.
CT6 is available with all the usual active driver assists, including fully automatic breaking at low speeds around town.
What's not hear yet is the long-awaited Super Cruise.
That will take over speed management, distance management, and lane control for you on the freeway for extended distances.
Doesn't arrive until calendar 2017 End sum, I think Cadillac has a really good and expensive looking car here, but not one that beats you over the head with its styling.
That's gonna work for some folks, not for others.
In terms of packaging they packaged the hell out of it.
In its footprint it does a lot of great stuff with space.
For front row, second row and trunk.
Now we also got a good look at the CT6 with a V6.
Find that review and video at theroadshow.com.
See that all new automotive website.
When we come back, I'm gonna make rear-wheel steering simple.
even if the car makers that have adopted it have done anything bad.
we'll see that when ONCars return.
All wheel drive has become pretty common in performance cars Off road vehicles and just about everything in between.
But if driving with four wheel is better, why not steering with the same number?
It remains much less common but perhaps getting more so.
Okay, now the kind of steering you have when your car today, traditional, front wheels steering like basically every car, things are pretty simple it's very intuitive Your car goes where the front wheels are pointed.
Turn left, turn right and that's where the nose of the car goes and the back end of the car gets dragged along for the ride.
With rear wheel steering it's never quite that simple.
Where the wheels turn will vary.
At high speed for example, the rear wheels will turn in sympathy with the front wheel.
The same general direction though to a lesser degree.
And this allows the car to almost kind of shift to the next lane, for example.
As opposed to turning and then correcting.
I'm oversimplifying here.
But this is a very different way of moving a car across a lane, or through a broad freeway curve.
Now, at low speed it's a very different situation.
Now the back wheels are going to turn against or in the opposite direction of the front wheel, and, again, at a lessor degree.
This gives you a much tighter turning radius and maneuverability.
The car could really make some tight cuts getting in and out of parking situations The ability to cut corners or get in and out of parking spots with far less effort.
Your car feels less like a grocery cart, as you're trying to nibble and maneuver into parallel parking, for example.
But you wouldn't do that at high speed, cuz there's gonna be all kinds of stability problems.
And what this does when you are driving around town, is make it feel like you've moved the pivot point of the car from where it typically is, here, back in between the rear wheels.
To somewhere kind of in the middle.
Makes the car feel like it's turning on a center pivot which is a really interesting feel for maneuverability.
It's kind of like magic when you drive something like this.
Another smaller benefit is being able to toe in or pigeon toe the rear wheels during a hard stop, kind of like what a skier does to slow down which can help stabilize and slow a vehicle.
Now note that rear wheel steering is distinct from rear wheel cornering systems.
That can either apply torque or braking to a single rear wheel to help a car's dynamics through a corner.
The first car with big success in four wheel steering was the third-generation Honda Prelude.
It used a mechanical system of linkages running up and down the car.
And honestly, it was kind of a market flop.
After that, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Renault, GMC, Acura, Toyota, and more have all done four wheel steering at some point.
The latest systems you might see from Acura, Porsche, Cadillac, Audi, use electromechanical connections to a compact rear steering mechanism.
Or made it smaller, lighter and smarter than those of the past.
And they maybe setting a table for a future where the back wheels are more than just fancy custards.
Okay, tell me, get us some your emails.
Always my favorite part of the show.
Trying to help you out to figure out things about your car, and find the tech angle wherever we can.
First one here.
Comes in from Meshari in Saudi Arabia who says I've got a VW CC, a 4 cylinder engine and that he wants to clean up his engine he say, but he's afraid he's gonna break or **** something up because it's so full of electronics under the hood.
He's also concerned about getting the turbo wet, getting water perhaps in the side there.
He notes there is barely any solid information about this on the Internet.
Imagine that, no solid information on the Internet, never seen that before.
All right, [UNKNOWN], let's take this apart here.
First of all, I gotta say, in my opinion, cleaning your engine is pretty optional.
I don't know of any manufacturer that has it in their required or scheduled maintenance, for example.
It is said to allow your engine to run a little cooler than if it Caked up in sludge, like a jacket keeping it hot.
Modern engines don't typically get caked in sludge, though.
They don't leak like they used to so they don't tend to get sludgy in the first place.
I think this is mostly for older cars.
Older than that cc you're driving but let's say at the point of pride.
You wanna have a nice clean engine bay.
Here's the four steps I want you to do though if you wanna clean your engine.
First of all, even the modern car like you've got cover up the electrical stuff that applies to old cars and applies to new cars.
You're gonna find computer boxes in there, ignition, coils on top of spark plugs, electronics As much as they are sealed you don't wanna blast the with water if you don't have to.
It's just gonna ask for trouble now and corrosion later.
And if your car's not brand new, those seals that are on those things might be a little tired and let water in.
Now the other thing is, don't just blast.
That's not a good idea on delicate stuff.
Get in there with a brush and do a little bit of scrubbing to loosen up the grime.
Before you actually rinse it off.
And to aid you in that use a degreaser, which I'm sure you were thinking of the spray-on engine cleaners that will also loosen up the dirt, not just blasting with water.
Let the degreaser you use do its work.
Let the chemistry of it sit on the engine for a while and loosen and soften things.
And then you go in there and brush them off.
And then you hose them off with less force.
The whole process It's easier on your engine that way.
Over and over again, I see folks just blasting the pressure washer and I cringe.
And finally do this all on a warm engine, not a cold engine, not a hot engine.
A cold engine you're not going to get quite as much loosening of dirt.
A hot engine, everything is going to evaporate so fast nothing can work.
The degreaser, the water, what have you.
So just get it warm, if you can touch it but it's warm, I think that's a pretty good temperature to get the job done.
So good luck in your engine clean.
If you do this, send us before and after photos of what it looked like and what it looks like now.
We'll put them on the show.
Okay, next email is from GM.
He's in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
He says, I recently was looking into putting some aftermarket fog lights on my Scion tC He says he already upgraded the low beams to LED bulbs but they have a bluish tint and he says they are pretty useless to his eye in the rain and the fog.
He says, I was told yellowish bulbs for the fog can make it much easier to see through the fog and rain and how true is this?
Well Gene, this one is interesting, we go back into a little bit of sort of modern French history on this, which we usually don't do on this show.
And, in 1936, they actually required yellow forward lights, out of the idea that they were better for forward vision.
It's a unique kind of yellow.
It's not amber, like you see on a tail light.
That's where the whole yellow light thing Thing happen and a lot of folks do yellow lights just cause they like that, what we think of here in America, as a really cool Euro look on the main headlights not just on fog lights.
And that was a required thing on French cars for decades and recently has been relaxed and taken off the books.
But the idea behind yellow light.
For what I have been able to gather is that they appear to cut through fog better to your eyes.
In terms of how yellow is a less harsh reflection to the driver as you look out at what's being illuminated.
As supposed to actually cutting through fog better.
I'm not sure any frequency of light can literally make a water particle get out of the way.
But they always tell you that.
Cut threw fog is how they'll talk about fog lights, right?
So, it's more about the easier reflections that come back to you from a yellow versus a blueish light.
What really makes a difference, of course, is where the lights are and how the beam is shaped.
Low, flat, wide, that's what a fog light tends to do.
So, it basically tucks under The most dense fog and scoots light down the road under it.
That's what it's all about, regardless of color, and car makers are doing this really well these days in the integrated lights in their vehicle.
Most of us don't add on fog light anymore, it's kind of a tacked-on look.
And car usually have that covered unless you didn't option fog lights.
And I noticed that, depending on what year tC you've got, There are some nice little wells down in the lower chin corners, where you can pop in a set of factory fog lights.
You might wanna think about that.
They're nice and low, and hopefully they're already engineered really well.
Last thing I wanna leave you with on this is if you're gonna do your own lights, not factory, check.
State law, if you're gonna cowboy something on your own.
That's usually where I find rules about color, of forward lights.
Because lights will gather the attention of police.
So, go get your state law section about lighting, just find that online.
And I would just search for two keywords.
Search for white and search for the word clear.
That's usually one of the two words they use to define what a light must emit, as opposed to specifically prohibiting any number of colors.
When I come back, more of your email, including a question about whether or not red cars have more or less.
Is fun in the sun and whatever happened to GM's hydrogen car aspiration?
When CNET On Cars returns.
Welcome back to CNet On Cars.
Coming to you from our home at the Mount Tam motor club just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Okay, back to more of your emails, this one comes in about red cars, we love our red cars Ferraris have always been red [LAUGH] right?
Certain cars you expect them in red.
But there's always been a little story about red paint color.
And that's what Robert asks about.
He says I was wondering if it's still true that red car paint fades when it's parked in the sun.
And he means fades much more than others.
My wife, he says, wants to sell my 2013 Sonata now, before I get my new one because the paint looks good.
And she doesn't want the paint to fade, and hurt the value of the car.
I assume you live in a hot, sunny place and you don't park your Your car indoors like so many of us don't.
Okay, Robert, now this was definitely a big talking point some time ago.
The red cars used to fade pretty badly.
Don't get red.
Or if you do you got to park it inside or it's gonna go pink in no time.
But I'm talking decades ago you saw a lot of that.
The Fiat here is a good example.
This is a '68, it's in red, and it's a crappy old school repaint.
And let me tell you if this car lived outdoors all the time it wouldn't do well partly because it has an old school paint job, what we call a single stage paint job.
Because what you're seeing there, the color and the gloss is all one coat, all combined.
They do several coats but each one is color and gloss.
Which means you've got the pigment and the gloss right up at the surface dealing with the environment.
And these tended to be paint jobs that, especially on a car this old, could be very susceptible to deep fading on a red paint job in particular.
Today's paint jobs tend to be what they call a two-stage paint job.
You put down a very thin layer of pigment.
And of course it's a much more advanced pigment than it used to be.
And then, that gets hit with a bunch of gloss separately that really builds it up.
That pigment that's underneath there is very protected by a lot of clear over it, as opposed to being integral all the way to the top.
And, that pigment when it goes on, interestingly, is usually kind of flat or non gloss.
That's how important the gloss or clear-coat is on a modern two-stage paint job.
Plus, the chemistry is just all different.
This is really durable stuff.
This is also part of why you'll see when a car gets scratched these days, no matter what color the car is, you tend to see a white scratch.
Cuz what you've done, is you've scratched the clear.
And in many cases, haven't even gone as deep, as the color coat.
Now, clear over color, means you're more concerned these days about how your clear coat is dealing with the environment, not how your pigment is dealing with the environment.
So you think less today about what color am I getting, and how will it fade?
What we used to see in the 70s and 80s, a lot of cars have got real chalky and that was because the clear coat fail usually.
They didn't have it down in those days.
Now they do.
When you see clear coat failures very rarely, you see paint failures very rarely.
I gotta say this is one of those areas right alongside it starts everytime Where cars cars have changed it dramatically.
Bottom line, I wouldn't worry too much about any color car fading.
Those days are largely behind us thanks to great paint chemistry.
Okay, our last email comes in from John P.
who asks about hydrogen cars.
He said, whatever happened to the GM Hy-wire?
The skateboard like, hydrogen fuel cell car.
He says I always liked the thought of being able to design the top of the car to look like a 50's to 70's car from yesteryear but still have the teach of today underneath.
Well the high wire platform was indeed kind of skateboard like the way GM showed it laid out and sketched out.
It was a Flat wide platform.
Nothing really stock up.
And within there was an entire hydrogen fuel cell drive packaging for suspension steering, everything body mounting point.
All in this one flat thing.
You can imagine almost any style of body being attached to the top of it.
Now, of course it never came into production because that was long time ago.
Things change, hydrogen was very green as an automotive fuel in those days.
The recession came along.
Some things got left by the wayside like Pontiac and Oldsmobile.
And the idea that hydrogen fuel is highly available so that's not the case.
Now Honda and Toyota are out there of course with limited production on cars like the Clarity and the Miray respectively.
Toyota will tell you we do not need more than maybe 1/5 or 1/6 The number we have of gas stations.
But, even that is not where we are right now by any stretch.
That holds some car makers back.
There's a lot of major convulsive R&D going on right now.
The hydrogen fuel cell space Is advancing so rapidly a lot of car makers are saying, let's not get in until we think we're at some kind of point of stability and market readiness.
Again, Toyota and Honda are kind of standouts in this area, but most of the car makers are saying, well, we're still in the deep R&D phase right now, as well as the fact that they've gotta hit a certain sweet spot on size and cost.
Of the fuel cell itself Not to mention those bulky, high-pressure hydrogen tanks.
The idea is to get the size down where it doesn't intrude on the interior packaging of the vehicle, and to make sure that it uses as little platinum as possible.
Cuz platinum's really expensive, and as I understand it there's about a wedding rings' worth of platinum inside of a typical fuel cell.
That's a lot of money.
They wanna get that way down through engineering efficiencies.
All eyes are on 2020 when it comes to GM, because they are in partnership with Honda on developing hydrogen fuel cell cars.
And they have been saying for a while now their GEN 2 platform will be coming out in 2020.
Perhaps that will lead.
To a production GM hydrogen fuel cell car that would be the grandson of Hy-Wy.
Thanks for watching, as usual I really appreciate you being here.
I hope you enjoyed this episode.
Keep the emails coming, it's OnCars@cnet.com.
Big part of the show, I read every one, reply to as many as I can.
And as you can see, a whole bunch of them end up in the show.
And by the way, if you send us an email with a question about your car Send a picture also.
We all want to see it.
I'll see you next time we check the text.