Cadillac wows at Pebble Beach

9/7/2011, 8:24 p.m.
If there was ever any doubt about Cadillac’s ability to be a top player in the world of luxury automobiles, ...

If there was ever any doubt about Cadillac’s ability to be a top player in the world of luxury automobiles, it was all put to rest with the new Ciel concept unveiled at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

The Ciel – pronounced “C-L,” the French translation for sky – is a four-seat convertible pushing the brand’s Art & Science philosophy to a new level as a new expression of Cadillac’s historical grandeur, as well as a celebration of open-air motoring.

“Large, expressive luxury is innate to Cadillac and the Ciel recalls that heritage, while suggesting where the brand can go in the future,” said Clay Dean, global design director for Cadillac. “Authentic luxury is driven by experiences, not just products, and Ciel is about the experience of the journey.”

A fitting unveiling for the annual Pebble Beach automotive event, considered the most prestigious of its kind in the world.

Inspired by the idea of driving California’s Highway 1 in an open car while the sun sets, from Big Sur north to Monterey, the Ciel is powered by a twin-turbocharged version of the 3.6-liter Direct Injection V-6 engine, paired with a hybrid system using lithium-ion battery technology.

“The Ciel is about the romance of the drive,” said Dean. “It emulates the great touring cars seen on the greens at Pebble Beach, but with a modern flair that projects Cadillac’s vision for the future.”

Developed at GM Design’s North Hollywood Design Center, the four-door Ciel’s exterior design elements include French-style doors, with the rear doorshinged at the rear, distinguishing fender lines run from nose to tail, and nickel-plated bright work accents the body lines.

The interior is accented with sweeping nickel-plated trim that divides the body-color upper sections from the car’s complementing beige lower color.  Other interior design elements include Italian Olive wood and machined aluminum and hand-tipped leather. How’s that for detail?

“There is authentic craftsmanship in the way the exterior and interior elements meld, much like a vintage wooden boat,” said Gael Buzyn, interior design manager. “It is romantic, not only in its form, but the materials – nothing smells as good as real wood and leather. It blends together for a rewarding feeling of uncompromising luxury.”

Additional exterior cues include a shield grille and vertical lighting elements -- pure Cadillac. The car rides on wheels that feature brushed nickel plating over milled billet aluminum, matching the materials and appearance of other trim. The Ciel’s carbon ceramic brake rotors are visible behind the 22-inch rims, and the headlamps and taillamps feature LED lighting elements – including a unique daytime running light graphic on the front of the vehicle that is generated with gradated LED lighting.

Now, if we can only convince Cadillac to build it.