Cadillac Ups Its Game Using Aluminum Extrusions in the CT6
To compete with performance luxury sedans like Audi’s A8, BMW’s 7 series and the Mercedes S Class, Cadillac product developers knew they needed to bring more than luxury … they also needed to deliver a level of performance and agility previously unseen in the marque’s large vehicles.
One key was a new body structure, aluminum-intensive and capitalizing on GM’s experience with the Corvette aluminum chassis launched just 2 years ago. The result: “The CT6 features one of the industry’s most advanced automotive body structures, an aluminum-intensive architecture that incorporates 11 different materials to achieve strength, performance and efficiency …”
The body-in-white is over 60% aluminum, featuring an all-aluminum skin and extensive use of extrusions and casting. Aluminum extrusions appear throughout the structure, with multi-void hollows utilized for the rocker and engine cradle assemblies. Complex high-pressure aluminum die castings replace multiple (over 20 in some applications) conventional parts, simplifying assembly and adding stiffness. Advanced high strength steel is also used for sound deadening and body structure reinforcing. Assembling the mixed-material vehicle requires a variety of technologies—from conventional welding to extensive use of structural adhesives. The result is a weight approximately 218 pounds lighter than a comparable vehicle primarily using high strength steel, and a body-in-white lighter, yet stiffer, than BMW’s 5 series.
Of course, there is more to this new, ground-breaking Cadillac than its aluminum-intensive architecture. An available 400 HP twin-turbo engine, active rear steering, a 34 speaker sound system, and rear seats offering heating, cooling and massage ensure that the CT6’s luxury and performance credentials are as robust as its agility.
If you’re ready for this next step forward in aluminum-intensive vehicles, you’ll have to wait a bit, as deliveries will not begin until 2016.
Photos: © General Motors