MONTEREY, Calif. — Cadillac retreated to the Scrabble letter pile for its new Ciel concept, a four-door, four-seat convertible unveiled Thursday evening on the grounds of this weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance.
The Ciel (the word is French for sky) swaps out one letter from the “Cien” (Spanish for one hundred), a concept powered by a V-12 that was shown at the 2002 Detroit auto show, and the Buick Cielo (Spanish for sky) concept of 1999. And for those keeping score at home, further back, there was also an Oldsmobile Ciera.
So the name may be derivative, but Cadillac insists the car is not.
“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, Cadillac’s global design director, who previously designed models for the Hummer brand.
Envisioned by Cadillac as a range-topping luxury flagship, the Ciel is powered by a 425-horsepower twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6 engine and a hybrid system using lithium-ion battery technology. Cadillac claims that the the system allows for purely electric driving at low speed. Keeping with the French theme, a special paint color, Cabernet, was developed for the Ciel.
The car’s body is about 12 inches longer than a CTS sedan, and it rides on a chassis with a generous 125-inch wheelbase.
Cadillac officials were coy when asked about production plans. But with the $100,000 XLR hardtop convertible now out of production, the marque is clearly flirting with the notion of a new, bodaciously bodied flagship.