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General Motors Co.’s Cadillac brand said Sunday that it will offer a plug-in hybrid electric version of its top-of-the-range CT6 sedan, first available for the Chinese market.

Cadillac, in conjunction with the Shanghai auto show, said the new plug-in hybrid electric system for the CT6 is designed to achieve more than double the fuel economy of the traditional gasoline engines, with specifics available closer to the vehicle’s launch.

Mark Reuss, GM’s head of global product development, last fall said a plug-in electric option for the CT6 would offer “industry-leading fuel economy upwards of 70 mpg equivalent.”

The luxury brand said it used the car’s lightweight structure to help with design and efficiency, and the CT6 plug-in hybrid electric is aimed to allow drivers to complete most daily commutes in all-electric range. GM said it will announce electric range later.

Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell said the CT6 plug-in will launch in the second half of 2016 in China and will be added to markets like the U.S. in early 2017.

“In the CT6, Cadillac presents a new formula for prestige luxury. The advanced plug-In hybrid system is a key addition providing a combination of exceptional fuel economy, crisp acceleration and strong electric driving range,” Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said in a statement.

Late last month, Cadillac unveiled the CT6 sedan at an upscale event for hundreds of people in Brooklyn ahead of press days for the New York International Auto Show. The five-passenger CT6, a bigger sedan than the Cadillac XTS, has a lightweight mixed-materials body built from aluminum and l0 other materials and features many new and advanced technologies. The car is big for the luxury brand and gives it another competitor against BMW and Mercedes-Benz and is especially important for Cadillac’s growth plans in China.

The CT6 plug-in hybrid electric uses an 18.4-kilowatt hour lithium-ion battery pack at the rear of the car between the back seat and trunk. The pack includes 192 prismatic cells and the system will be able to charge using 120-volt or 240-volt chargers.

GM said the CT6 plug-in also features a new rear-wheel electric variable transmission with exclusively-designed motors to help acceleration. The two-motor electric variable transmission is mated to a 2-liter, four-cylinder turbo engine. GM estimates the total system will generate 335 horsepower and 432-foot-pounds of torque.

“The CT6 PHEV will deliver exceptional smooth, responsive acceleration that Cadillac and luxury sedan owners demand,” Travis Hester, Cadillac CT6 executive chief engineer, said in a statement. “We have managed to achieve superior drive quality when compared to our PHEV competitors due to our exclusively designed EVT.”

Cadillac says the CT6 plug-in electric hybrid will use iBooster and regenerative blended braking which helps maximum energy recuperation, reduced stopping distance and improved fuel economy.

The plug-in car also gets Regen on Demand, a system that allows drivers to use paddles behind the steering wheel to regenerate energy into electricity and store in the battery pack to use later. The system helps slow a vehicle down, such as when entering a turn, like downshifting with a manual transmission.

The CT6 will be built beginning later this year at GM’s Detroit Hamtramck Assembly Plant. GM has said it also will build the CT6 for the Chinese market at a new facility in China starting early next year.

GM also debuted a new generation Verano for the China market only called “Wei Lang” in Chinese, during an event Sunday ahead of the Shanghai auto show.

The automaker says the new Verano was inspired by the 2013 Buick Riveria concept and captures the “design essence” of the Buick Avenir concept, which was shown in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

mburden@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2319

Twitter.com/MBurden_DN

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