No one would argue that in recent years, Cadillac has lost a little of its mojo. While all these hulking Escalade SUVs, and tire-shredding, high-performance V models are all well and good, Cadillac for me, should be more about luxury and grandeur – and less about boy-racer performance.
That’s why the spectacular Cadillac Ciel four-door convertible concept it built for the recent Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance vintage car event in California, shows the direction Cadillac should be going.
No, they won’t actually put a four-door convertible like this into production. But the styling elements – that massive grille, slimmed-down headlights, those breathtaking proportions – will likely make it on a future flagship four-door luxury sedan to compete against BMW’s 7-series and Mercedes’ S-Class.
What the Ciel – that’s French for ‘sky’ – does is let us dream a little: Driving California’s’ Highway 1 while the sun sinks over Big Sur. Pulling up outside the Kodak Theater on Oscar night. Fittingly, the car was designed, not in Detroit, but at General Motors’ North Hollywood design studio in California.
As Cadillac’s design boss, Dean Case said: “The Ciel is about the romance of the drive. It emulates the great touring cars seen on the greens at Pebble Beach, but with a modern flair that projects Cadillac’s vision of the future.”
Just like the early ’60s Lincoln Continental, the Ciel has four big doors and four armchair-like seats. And like the Lincoln, the rear doors are hinged at the rear ‘suicide’ door style.
Naturally a car like this should have some hulking V12 under the hood. But that’s not politically-correct these days. So it uses Cadillac’s gas-sipping base 3.6-liter V6, but with twin turbochargers to boost power to an acceptable 425-horsepower.
And, of course, no concept car is complete without an electric motor somewhere or other. So the Ciel has a bank of batteries and an electric motor to allow it to glide slowly and effortlessly on its massive 22-inch wheels along Sunset Boulevard.
So applause for Cadillac. Let’s see a return to luxury and glamour. Maybe that’s what Ciel really stands for – Cadillac Luxury.