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General Motors: Cadillac Cien Concept

Cadillac Celebrates "Cien" With V-12 Concept Car

PEBBLE BEACH, CALIF. - In keeping with the brand's role as a technology flagship for General Motors, the premium V-12-powered Cadillac Cien concept car is a befitting icon to usher in the brand's 100th anniversary next year.

The aerodynamic Cien - Spanish for 100 - holistically illustrates Cadillac's signature 'art and science' philosophy, melding design and technology in a mid-engine, two-seat sports car.


For larger view click image

Cadillac's 'art and science' design philosophy incorporates sharp, shear forms and crisp edges - a form vocabulary that expresses bold, high-technology design and invokes the technology used to design it.

"With the Cien, we've created the ultimate expression of 'art and science' using dynamic lines to achieve geometric forms similar to those of the Evoq, Imaj and Vizón concept vehicles that preceded it," said lead designer Simon Cox, executive director of GM's Advanced Design Studio for Cadillac in Birmingham, England.

Cien's low, sleek appearance, inspired by modern-day Stealth aircraft, introduces a different proportion for Cadillac and demonstrates the reach of the brand's identity.

Cadillac Cien
For larger view click image

Trapezoidal air inlets are milled into the front-end surface graphically forming Cadillac's shield-like grille along with the centrally mounted badge. The bank of air inlets cools the front-mounted radiators, and is flanked on either side by vertical headlamps.

In profile, Cadillac's characteristic crisp-edged spline that runs the length of the bodyside from front to rear suggests tension in the surface. Another taut line answers the first -- sweeping over the rear wheel well to return to front -- creating a dynamic appearance.

The body and chassis are made of carbon fiber composite that is lightweight and stiff. Cien is equipped with scissor-style doors that pivot at the base of the A-pillars upon opening.

Functional side air intake and exhaust vents lay flush with the surface of the car, opening up as required. Formal, directional sail panels, which appear to float above the surface, house air intakes for the V-12.

Cien's rear view recalls Cadillac's distinctive design heritage with fin-like, vertical taillights, full-width center high mounted stop lamp (CHMSL) spanning the deck and a centerline crease. Cien also features an adjustable rear spoiler and a removable hardtop roof.

Sport-performance eyewear inspired Cien's blue glass windscreen, sidelites and backlite.


Nestled between the engine and the 19-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels is a computer-influenced driver's cockpit featuring Cadillac's leading-edge telematics, including Night Vision, OnStar, StabiliTrak, Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist and Communiport, which integrates the car's audio, computing, navigation and wireless communication through hands-free voice activation.

Cadillac Cien Interior
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Night Vision uses thermal imaging to help a driver detect potentially dangerous situations well beyond the range of the car's headlamps. The image is relayed to the driver via a head-up display.

Cien is equipped with LCD panel screens to display information from the car's navigation system and rearview cameras. The high-tech interior features a digital instrumentation and an analog clock. The state-of-the-art entertainment system was designed to match the car's unique acoustic characteristics and incorporates headrest speakers.

Interior aluminum accents and prominent vertical elements reinforce the vertical graphic theme of the exterior. Rich, inviting materials, contrast the cool technical appearance, balancing contemporary feel with touches of modern luxury. Further, the interior complements the concept's lightweight theme, utilizing carbon fiber and aluminum structural elements in a design that combines luxury and performance.


Cadillac Cien's 7.5-liter, V-12 powerplant, which is visible through the car's rear window, is a new concept engine from GM Powertrain dubbed the Northstar XV12. The all-aluminum, double overhead cam (DOHC) four-valve V-12 engine generates 750 horsepower and 450 lb.-ft. of torque, yet it meets the packaging requirements and fuel economy standards of a V-8.

The Northstar XV12 concept engine features several technological advancements over today's V-8 engines, including: GM's Displacement on Demand technology, which allows the engine to run seamlessly on six cylinders at times to maximize fuel savings; direct injection gasoline combustion system for increased engine power, improved fuel economy and reduced emissions; and a combined starter generator for quicker, quieter starts.

U.K.-based ProDrive engineered a semi-automatic transmission with racing-style electronic paddle shifting for Cien compatible with the car's powerful, high-torque engine.


Drawing on 100 years of rich Cadillac heritage, Cien honors the brand's tradition of bringing innovative technology and trend-setting design to the luxury segment.

Cadillac has claimed a number of industry 'firsts' and major engineering advancements over the years, including the introduction of electric self-starters, significant improvements in engine technology and the development of sophisticated suspension systems.

The same emphasis on bold, trend-setting design that has set Cadillac apart among luxury marques in the past is the essence of 'art and science.'

"The Cien concept combines V-12 power and great proportions in a striking design that is unmistakably Cadillac," said Cox. "This concept is a most appropriate medium to celebrate Cadillac's past, present and, above all, it's future."

all photos: General Motors

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