Cadillac Ciel Concept: First Look

Cadillac Ciel Concept

  • Looks like: A modern-day Cadillac Eldorado
  • Defining characteristics: Pronounced tailfins, massive power dome hood
  • Ridiculous features: Didn't you read the word "tailfins" above?
  • Chances of being mass-produced: Unlikely

Cadillac is really shaking things up this week. First, GM’s luxury brand did an about-face by saying it would indeed produce a luxed-out version of the Chevy Volt, called the ELR. With barely any time to digest that news, here comes the Cadillac Ciel concept.

The Ciel, pronounced “C-L,” is a four-door convertible that shows off Cadillac’s next iteration of its “Art & Science” design language made popular by the original 2002 CTS sedan. The concept packs a hybrid, twin-turbocharged V-6 powertrain, the same that was shown on the XTS concept.

But the powertrain isn’t important here — it’s the design. Cadillac has pulled many elements from its heritage and has reinterpreted those cues to come up with a look that’s compelling and distinctive.

Overall, you still see a lot of contemporary Cadillac design elements — from the CTS and SRX — but it’s more organic-looking and less angular here. Up front, there are large vertical LED headlights integrated into the front wheel arches, and a high-waisted shield-shaped grille. Combine the front-end look with the large power dome hood, and the face is generally reminiscent of the Ford Interceptor Concept overall.

Out back, Cadillac is getting a little more aggressive with its tailfin rear lamps (you can see nymph versions of this on the SRX and XTS concept). The cabin is more ornate than the one we saw on the meticulous XTS — there’s olive wood and brushed aluminum trim here. The cabin features three pull-out blankets that retract automatically, just in case all three passengers need to stay warm with the top down.

Needless to say, the Ciel isn’t an indication of a production-ready car. However, part of GM’s just-announced long-term strategy is to take Cadillac global and have it compete better with the likes of Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and BMW with what the automaker says will be “visceral” and “powerful” vehicles for people with “unmistakable swagger.” The Ciel is certainly unmistakable. 

Cadillac Ciel Concept
Cadillac Ciel Concept
Cadillac Ciel Concept
Cadillac Ciel Concept
Cadillac Ciel Concept

By Colin Bird | August 19, 2011 | Comments (37)


Not gonna lie - this is Cadillac's best-looking vehicle in DECADES.

That's a fact.

Ken L.

This Caddy looks gangsta. I can already see this appearing in music videos. But I do like the look and concept. It's much different than what's on the market.


...FUNKY!!!!and FUN...something the re-iteration of the T-Bird sure wasn't!


Good to see designers breaking away from the 'cats eye' headlight design that has been overdone at every shop for the past ten years or more...
I guess the current bandwagon is to eliminate a horizontal front 'bumper'?. Even still, some fresh ideas blending old and new...


Looks like Boss Hogg's Deville Convertible...need to massage the front end though...


Wow, hideous. Poor proportions.

If they build this they might as well file for bankruptcy again.


I think they need to change the name of this car. Let's see it's pronounced "C-L." If they add an "S" edition it will be "C-L-S," which sounds like a popular pill for E-D.

A better name would be the Cadillac "Elvis." you know the king would drive one of these.

I'm not going to lie, this is pretty cool, but most concepts are "cool". That being said, I do love how big the car actually is, and it kind of resembles a large estate home if you get the gist. I can't say why I like it, i just know I do.


I like it. Sure it might need some tweaking but the concept and the retro style is nice. GM would be foolish not to put out something closely based on this...


It looks like a Caddy concept from the mid-nineties, where they were first showing the design theme we now see on cadillacs whole lineup. Really, they need a convertible, but making one like this is going back twice, and forward once.


how do the rear lights count as "ridiculous features"? Don't get that. All modern Cadillacs have rear lights that are based on the vertical tail fins of the old Cadillacs. I"m confused.

sporty yet elegant...


Now that's totally American in every way! Love it! They just need to call it like it El "Dog"!

The headlights & rear lights looks ridiculous.


if you like Jaguars and thus like the current Xj how could you possibly think anything about THIS car looks ridiculous or garish? The lights are one of the best aspects of the car.


This is exactly what we need given the economy. Why doesn't GM build a mainstream affordable car instead of blowing money on ridiculous concepts.

Wow a new pimp vehicle from GM. Great work guys! Your car will be in a lot of rap videos.


Mike - firstly you dont make any sense. second there is a car in gms line up that caters for the masses which is the cruze and they are bringing the spark also.


This is the strangest looking Caddy I've ever seen. Well maybe the 2nd compared to the Cimmeron.

I would not own such a silly looking vehicle.

Art Woosley

Great to see an auto maker looking FORWARDS. Time to dump the retro craze and start creating newer and better.
The future can be bright!


Cadillac makes the ugliest luxury cars today and this is no exception.



See Cruze, Malibu, Impala, Sonic, etc. Try making some sense next time. All full line auto manufacturers make affordable and ridiculously priced vehicles.


If you think this has any commonality with the Cimarron I would guess you likely arent the target customer for something this exclusive and pricey. You can always spot a import brand fanboy when they start talking about the Cimarron as if it was something recent. That was 30 years ago- time to move on.

I like the design and how it completely bucks the trend of what we've seen in the industry for decades. Sadly, we all know the production version won't look nearly as old-daddy-pimpin'.


For those who can do nothing but ignore history and look forward with no concept of where you've been, this car is NOT for you. However, for those who are aware of their heritage and can embrace the future and readily as they must accept the past, then this car speaks volumes. If you can't get past something that might resemble the historic and the iconic elements that put Cadillac into the forefront of the luxury car market in decades gone by, then you have no business casting aspersions because your reaction is short-sighted. Cadillac has taken the neo-angular theme that has pulled their cars out of the doldrums of the 80's and 90's and married it with the dimensions and class of the iconic Cadillacs from decades that MADE the American automobile. Just because you are too young or too narrow-minded to see or appreciate it doesn't make subjective comments berating it, worthy comments to the topic. Its YOUR kind of short-sightedness that holds the future to mediocrity.

By the way, Cadillac, kudos to letting your heritage steer your future while continuing to move forward. A step backwards in some respects gives you the opportunity to incorporate the past into the future. If more organizations and people would look to their future with a keen eye on where they've come from, fewer mistakes will be repeated.


This is the example of luxury and sophistication that Cadillac should be know for. For those not in the know, the Cadillac brand in it's hey-day was never intended for large volume sales to the masses. GM are you listening? Please built this car!!!


Hot Damm! This is the best looking Cadi for decades. GM, build this thing! I will be the first to sign up to buy this CAR!



S class and BMW 7 are so boring compare to the CIEL.

GM, please build this S class killer. And show the boys at Stuggart that GM got balls!

Art Woosley

Cadillac Ciel is a homerun!
No retro rearward design here!
Kudos to Caddy for presenting a most elegant and soul stirring open air motor car that visages the future while giving homage to past design hallmarks.
Make it and I will buy one!


Wow! That's all I have to say!


JHB-I could not agree with your more. This car speaks volumes and places of years past and days to come. It has style and grace yet it can kick butt on the road-like Eldorado's of yesteryear. It's time to take car manufacturing back in the USA and Cadillac has always be a luxury automobile. Good job GM-keep this momentium going.
Hurray USA!!!

Dan Joyce

I cant believe anyone actually thinks any of todays cars look good! Theyre all the same!!! One guy designed all of them every last one all you have to do is glue on whatever emblem you like and no one could ever tell it wasnt what you say it is. Every car for the last fifteen years has exactly the same body design all they do to make one seem different from another is use some plastic pop on screw like thingies to change the front plastic and back plastic and call it a different car. If your not close enough to read the emblems a lexus looks exactly the same as a ford probe!! Why cant car companies build cars like this Caddie no one would mistake it for a hyunda (or whatever they call them) I have a 1971 Caddilac Fleetwood YOU CAN TELL WHAT IT IS A BLOCK AWAY! (Sort of like how you could tell a 57 Ford from a 57 Chevy didnt have to be able to read the emblems) Thought I would have to drive my Fleetwood until I couldnt drive anymore If they build this Caddie I'll buy one. And oh yeah my 1962 Corvette doesent get confused with a Camero either.

Rev. Etienne Mannie Rapier Davis

It's about time Cadillac has made a real luxury car. They have not had one in a long time. The CTS , and STS just don't cut it. I now drive a 2001 Deville, With the Ciel soon to be on the market, I won't have to buy a Lexus ,Mercedes, Or a Bentley. Every car looks the same, when I get into my Cadillac I want to feel that Cadillac ride and see that Cadillac look. I just love my hood emblem facing me when I drive. It says Cadillac.


What's a great surprise for 4 seaters convertible. I like the new design, but I just wonder about the drive type AWD. If GM decided to make AWD for this kind of car, they must think about hard top convertible, and a little higher for ground clearance to attract, and convince buyer this is an all season vehicle.

Your article is too interesting, I was deeply attracted to your work, let people indulge in pleasures without stop I enjoy your articles


WOW... Cadillac!!! I have missed you. Gorgeous!!!


Cadillac 2013 is borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring.....same old style for all makes....I hope someone from the Cadillac Corporation is reading all these comments....Who is the architect of these cars?.....he/she did not have to work hard to produce this reminds me of my Capri....At least my Capri was not looking as if it were getting ready to crash....Whatever happened to the Eldorado that was on the drawing board.....long lean with two doors and study looking wheels. Everyone does not want to drive a freaKing COMPACT! What is the problem! Everyone does not want to drive a compact! DUH!


This concept car is nice! If only it was somewhat shorter---- length-wise....I would buy it!

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