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Celebrities always seem smaller in real life, much shorter and tinier than the over-sized personas they portray in movies and on television. The Cadillac Ciel Concept proved to be no exception to this rule during its recent trip to New York City. This four-passenger convertible looked absolutely huge in the photos I’d seen during its grand unveiling at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Thankfully, the folks at Cadillac brought the Ciel to New York City for a limited engagement (i.e. a rooftop lunch open to the media) before immediately shipping the car off to the Frankfurt Auto Show.
The Ciel looks far leaner and meaner sitting in the sunlight – the “Cabernet” paintjob is particularly deep and lustrous. The blunt eggcrate-style grill still dominates the front end, flanked by tall and thin headlights that sweep upwards and back onto the fenders. However, most photos made the car look flat, like a shingle sprinkled with chrome highlights. In person, the sides of the car taper to a very clean and contemporary rear end with neatly integrated taillights.
A set of enormous 22-inch wheels and a chopped-down look to windshield add a hint of hot rod to the design. And let’s be honest, the Ciel Concept is no petite roadster. At 203 inches in length, the Ciel is only 4 inches shorter than Caddy’s old school (and soon to be replaced) DTS sedan. The timing is no coincidence, as the Ciel offers a glimpse of Cadillac’s stylistic direction for the next few years. Company officials say the Ciel could even foreshadow a future range-topping model in the Cadillac lineup – though my bet would be on something racier, a two-door luxury GT to challenge the Mercedes-Benz SL and BMW 6-Series.
A twin-turbocharged and direct-injected 3.6-liter V-6 engine serves up 425-hp and 450 lb.-ft. of torque. Power is routed to an all-wheel-drive system. The gasoline engine is also coupled with a hybrid system powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. There are few details at the moment about this electric powertrain, though Cadillac has promised the system would allow for some sort of zero emission, all-electric driving mode.