As the leading luxury brand of General Motors, Cadillac is no stranger to showcasing their cars in creative and exciting ways. From test-drive events to roadshows, there has never been a shortage of opportunities to get up-close and personal with some of Cadillac’s outstanding creations. New for 2017 is the “Truth + Dare” Driving Experience, which is making its way across the US over the next 12 months. With driving events, demonstrations and a multitude of experts on hand to answer your every question, this veritable feast of automotive indulgence is guaranteed to satisfy the lust of even the most committed petrol-head. And we were lucky enough to join in.
Our journey began deep in the heart of Southern California where we were greeted by an awesome sight: no less than 4 shining new images of automotive luxury glistening against the desert landscape. Over the course of the day, these were to be our chariots, in which we would conquer the sweeping roads and mountain passes on our way to the Spring Mountain track outside Las Vegas, Nevada – home of the prestigious Cadillac V-Performance Academy. It is here where all new owners of a V-Series Cadillac are invited to spend two days learning to take their driving to the maximum and experience the true performance of their prized possessions.
First up on our road-trip was the 2017 Cadillac CT-6. Offering the size, style and features of a large luxury sedan combined with the efficiency and sporty-feel of a mid-size, the CT6 has established itself as the go-to option for those seeking a blend of luxury and agility. Available in an all-wheel drive configuration when coupled with the mammoth 3.6L V6 engine, the CT6 generates an impressive 404bhp. Add to the mix dynamic chassis control and an 8-speed paddle-shift gearbox and the result is simply mind blowing. Putting the CT6 through its paces on some of California’s vast desert roads felt not unlike driving a performance sports car from the comfort of your favorite armchair, such is the level of comfort and refinement. The road-holding was phenomenal, the acceleration limitless and the braking precise, making this a true contender as one of the most fun-to-drive luxury sedans on the market today.
In these days of increased environmental awareness, the design team at Cadillac have taken the proven winning-formula of the CT6 and delivered a variant which is – shall we say – a little “less thirsty” that it’s V6 brethren. The CT6 Plug-In as it’s known combines the legendary Cadillac style and handling with innovative electric vehicle technology to create a beast which is both exciting and environmentally caring.
Taking advantage of the car’s advanced lightweight structure, the design team has managed to almost double the range of the standard CT6 model without compromising on the driving experience. State of the art battery technology, combined with the ability to plug in the car at any number of charging stations nationwide, have made this new variant not just feasible, but positively appealing. And don’t think for one second that this car is an any way a slouch – with its 2.0 liter turbocharged engine and dual motor rear transmission, this feisty contender still summons up a respectable 335bhp and handles every bit as good as its all-petrol counterpart.
Climbing up towards the Mojave National Preserve, it was time for the XT5 to step forward and lead the pack. As one of Cadillac’s “luxury crossover” range, the XT5 is a fine example of how the off-road capabilities of an SUV can be blended with the luxury and poise of a high-end sedan. With an emphasis on space, efficiency and craftsmanship, the design team at Cadillac HQ have managed to make the interior of the new XT5 larger than ever without adding bulk. Add into the mix Cadillac’s patented rear-camera technology to keep you safe, and Apple Play compatibility to keep you entertained, and you may well find you have the perfect road-trip machine.
Crossing into Nevada, and it was the job of the new Cadillac Escapade to deliver us to our destination at the Spring Mountain Driving Resort. With its imposing 22-inch alloy wheels, robust body work and the unmistakable hum of the 6.2L V8 powerhouse rumbling in the background, this was the moment I had been most looking forward to.
When visiting Spring Mountain Motor Sports, you can also take advantage of the man-made lake. They offer jet skiing and a jetpack. This is probably the closest you will ever get to being Iron Man in real life.
Thundering across Nevada’s desert landscape in this icon of automotive engineering is an experience like no other.
With a 0-60 time of just under 6 seconds, this industry leading SUV boasts performance comparable to that of a small truck yet retains the style, poise and comfort for which Cadillac is renowned. Upgrades in the 2017 model include rear-view cameras, automatic park assist, and two new exterior color options which only go to further enhance the Escapade’s chiseled good-looks.
At the end of our ultimate Cadillac road-trip lay: The Cadillac V-Performance Academy at Spring Mountains. For the uninitiated, the V-Series comprises of the CTS-V and the ATS-V, which deliver a simply astonishing 640bhp and 464bhp respectively. It’s little wonder therefore that Cadillac is committed to developing their owners’ driving skill sets to better allow them to master their car’s mind-blowing performance. While both cars are modest in their external appearances, there is little doubt that these cars were bred with one thing in mind: speed.
Boasting a 6.2L Supercharged V8, the CTS-V has a 0-60 time of just 3.7 seconds, and the 8-speed automatic gearbox will take you smoothly up to a top speed of 200mph. Launch Control, performance traction management and Brembo brakes make the CTS-V a true contender on the race track. Away from the circuit, its elegant lines, sleek styling and plush interior hide the beast within in a shell of complete respectability. For the purists amongst us, the ATS-V offers a 6-speed manual gearbox in conjunction with a 3.6L Turbocharged V6, connecting the driver directly to each one of the 464bhp being generated within. Topping out at 189mph and hitting the 60mph mark after just 3.8 seconds, the performance of the ATS-V is only just a shade below that of its big brother and is just as much fun to drive.
There can’t be many people who can say that they have had the privilege of driving 6 of the US’s greatest luxury cars in a single day, let alone along one of the world’s greatest road-trip routes and ending on the racetrack. Until now, that is, thanks to Cadillac’s Truth + Dare Driving Experience. Welcome to the club.
For more information, visit Cadillac.