Drama continues… “As the Standard of the World Turns”
The Cadillac Ciel Concept is among the first luxury hybrids
The Cadillac Ciel Concept is another superlative from the brand. It made its debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Classic Automobile Show in August 2011. Its bold contemporary design is unmistakably Cadillac. The Ciel Concept is a twin-turbocharged luxury hybrid electric car. It is yet another step closer to a Flagship which Cadillac desperately needs.
This luxurious four-door open tourer is the grandest of open tourers. The Cadillac Ciel makes an elegant statement. It is “glamour” cars like this that established the brand as the “Standard of the World.” Introducing one of the exclusive co-stars of the show presenting a dramatic encore performance…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
Pronounced “C-L”, this ultimate open tourer is a refreshing Art & Science design. It was designed at the GM North Hollywood Design Center. Niki Smart was the lead exterior designer and Gael Buzyn was lead designer for the interior, both under the direction of Frank Saucedo. The Cadillac Ciel Concept captures past, present, and future styling cues. “Ciel” is French for sky which is clearly what the designer’s mission interpreted.
Cadillac’s splendor and elegance is no more eloquently displayed than this “Retro-Mod” masterpiece from the master craftsmen. The avant-garde hand-crafted body is augmented with elegant forward-opening rear coach doors. It is a sculpted beauty with an elegant anonymous sweep from its aggressive front-end styling to its iconic Cadillac-style taillamps. The Cadillac Ciel is a dramatic forward-thinking design for the 21st century. Its head and tail lamps are LED technology. The Ciel is a quantum leap for the brand…
This grand open tourer could be at home anywhere in the world. I could see driving it on the Corniche roads in the South of France with their sheer drops and picturesque scenery…or graciously cruising Park Avenue in style and Cadillac luxury. The four-door Ciel is the modern interpretation honoring Cadillac touring cars of the past.
The Cabernet finish, specially designed for the Ciel was inspired by the rich translucence of red wine. Its classic simplicity and uncompromising elegance is designed to provoke an emotional response. The Cadillac Ciel is without conjecture, the quintessential Flagship…which proves the fact: “the only way to travel…is Cadillac style.”
The Ciel evokes the exclusivity and grandeur of the custom Fleetwood-bodied coachcrafted era. The elusive four-door open tourer celebrates the next generation of Cadillac Flagships. The Ciel is the epitome of contemporary Cadillac luxury and elegance…it’s a glimpse into the future Cadillac style-
The Ciel’s exclusive exterior spills over into the interior. Its Cabernet appeal highlights the caramel beige tone. The Ciel is a symphony of aesthetic delight with warm genuine Olive wood trim felled from a single 300 year old tree with hand-tipped leather upholstery and trim. The transmission shifter is deployed when the engine is started.
The Ciel features a full-length ‘floating’ center console providing all four occupants with sumptuous individual comfort. Sloping seat bolsters allow passengers to be seated comfortably aiding both entering and exiting the vehicle. The forward-opening rear coach doors adds a romantic intimacy to the individual rear seating. Rear seat occupants slide a leather panel to reveal an LCD monitor hidden in the back of each front seat.
The three passenger seating compartments offer individual media connectivity and power outlets. Each of the four lounge seats are heated, cooled, and individually power assisted. Pull a leather tab in each of the three passenger compartment headrests for cashmere pull-out blankets that automatically retract when not in use. The rear portion of the center console houses a small humidor and fine cigars. Aromatherapy is controlled from the rear armrest.
The Ciel’s ventilation system is routed through channels in the interior surrounding the passengers instead of traditional vents. The Ciel is a unique contemporary expression of Cadillac luxury and supremacy. The Ciel, as well as its predecessor the Cadillac Sixteen are both positive steps towards a Flagship for the new millennium. Grand touring on the grand Cadillac scale in the grand Cadillac manner…is the Ciel Concept.
The Cadillac Ciel is a luxury electric hybrid. It is powered by a 3.6 litre DOHC twin-turbocharged gasoline V6 engine teamed with an electric motor system utilizing the lithium battery technology. The gasoline engine is equipped with Variable Valve Timing and a direct-injection fuel delivery system. The all-wheel drive with both gas and electric motor engaged produces 425 hp with 583 Nm of peak torque.
Performance is estimated as 0-62 is 5 seconds with a top speed of 174 mph. The Ciel’s long dash-to-axle ratio is not only aesthetically pleasing, it makes the car stronger and more aggressive in performance. The Ciel may be operated solely by its electric system. Cadillac kept most of the details limited as to cruising range, mpg, type of motor/charging system, etc.
The Cadillac Ciel Concept luxury hybrid features a four-wheel independent suspension. With Ciel’s long dash-to-axle ratio and all four wheels mounted close to the ends of the vehicle, makes it perform as an aggressive sporting machine. The front suspension uses independent SLA’s while the rear is fitted with an independent multi-link suspension.
Monotube shock absorbers are fitted all the way around with front and rear stabilizer bars. Its large 22” aluminum wheels are mounted to size 265/35 R22 tires. The Ciel uses a carbon ceramic four-wheel disc braking system with ventilated rotors and six-piston calipers fitted to the front axle and solid rotors with four-piston calipers fitted to the rear axle.
Unfortunately, Cadillac decided to shelve the Ciel project. The Cadillac Ciel would be an excellent stable-mate for an elegant sedan based upon the Cadillac Sixteen, and a dashing hardtop coupe based upon the Cadillac Elmiraj. With offerings such as these, Cadillac would return to the true envy in the driveway as they were once upon a time. A luxurious trio would catapult the brand back to “Standard of the World” status once again.
Cadillac should take note from Rolls Royce. The eminent marque is marketed and sold in a completely tasteful manner. You don’t see Rolls Royce building kitschy-faux luxury cars that travel from 0-60 in less than a nanosecond do you? Rolls Royce targets a different audience…which is what Cadillac should do. To be blunt, GM should focus in one direction with the brand, by all means…cease and desist with the attitude of trying to be all things to all automobile classes. Cadillac is an ultra-luxury brand but you wouldn’t believe it by their current showroom baubles.
The Cadillac Ciel Concept hybrid is a masterwork from the brand. It combines the performance of a robust V6 gasoline powered engine with the economy of an electric hybrid. It is among the world’s first luxury hybrid automobiles. With both operating systems engaged the Cadillac Ciel hybrid converts to all-wheel drive producing 425 hp.
It is the grandest of open tourers. Its 21st century architecture is reminiscent of the elegant classic Cadillac open tourers. It is a luxurious land yacht that seats four in exclusivity. With its unique design and opulent appointments the Ciel is indeed one of a kind. It isn’t plebeian…it is patrician. The Ciel is the ultimate Flagship.
The Cadillac Ciel Concept hybrid is a dream with a little bit of fantasy. Even though it will never reach production, it is still a significant design towards the introduction of the Cadillac Flagship for the new millennium. The Cadillac Ciel along with the Cadillac Sixteen, and the Cadillac Elmiraj are the beginning of the new “Cadillac-style.” The brand has been remiss in the Flagship department since the departure of the Fleetwood-bodied Cadillacs. The Cadillac Ciel hybrid is a luxurious glimpse into the future. It is just another jewel in the crown of the brand…a shining co-star…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
This is Cadillac’s rendering of the Ciel as a hardtop sedan
Photos courtesy of Cadillac’s Media Press Club