Monterey 2011: Cadillac Ciel Concept Celebrates the Journey [Gallery]

Cadillac has chosen the backdrop of this week’s classic car festivities in Monterey, California to debut a new concept convertible called the Ciel, which means “sky” in French.

Cadillac has just unveiled the Ciel concept, an elegant, open-air grand-touring car inspired by the natural beauty of the California coast. The Ciel – pronounced “C-L,” the French translation for sky – is a four-seat convertible that opens a new chapter in Cadillac’s design and product ascent, pushing the brand’s Art & Science philosophy into a new stratum. Ciel is 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.”

The spacious and elegant Ciel is a grand gesture that explores themes driving Cadillac’s explorations into range-topping flagship luxury. It 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.

Driving California’s Highway 1 in an open car while the sun sets, from Big Sur north to Monterey, is the type of journey the Ciel team envisioned during its design.

“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.”

The four-door Ciel embraces the social aspects of a recreational journey, with generous room for two couples. It evokes the spirit of the classics with a long, low proportion. The doors are French-style, with the rear doors hinged at the rear – there is no B-pillar – to reveal a sweeping view of the dramatic interior. Distinguishing fender lines run from nose to tail, and nickel-plated bright work accents the body lines, enhancing the visual length of the car and honoring Cadillac touring cars of the past.

Ciel’s exterior flows seamlessly into the cabin, with the body color rolling over on top of the interior door panels. Like the exterior, the passenger space is accented with sweeping nickel-plated trim. It divides the body-color upper sections from a complementing beige lower color. Italian Olive wood, machined aluminum and hand-tipped leather are elements that flow through the interior, complementing the primary colors with warm, rich tones.

“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.”

Ciel literally and figuratively reflects the driving experience along the California coastline. The Cabernet paint color, developed specifically for Ciel, is inspired by the rich translucence of a glass of red wine held up to the sunlight.

A prominent, polished aluminum windshield frame serves as in important structural element of the vehicle, as well as aesthetic one, recalling classic open cars of the past. Additional exterior cues, including a shield grille and vertical lighting elements, are pure Cadillac, but suggest a more organic interpretation of the brand’s signature design language that emphasizes the artistic and natural sides of it. The body sides, for example, are more rounded, sweeping upward. Bright work is used to bring contrast to the deep paint color, but plays a more supporting role.

The car rides on large, beautifully finished wheels that feature brushed nickel plating over milled billet aluminum, matching the materials and appearance of other trim. Carbon ceramic brake rotors are visible behind the 22-inch rims, a visual clue to the Ciel’s foundation of performance.

And owing to Cadillac’s heritage of advanced technology, 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.

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