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Cadillac Sixteen: Concept or Production Vehicle?
This past month I was finally able to get a first hand view of a fabulous looking concept car called the Cadillac Sixteen at the North Carolina International Automobile Show. As concepts go, the Sixteen is truly a radical looking, but thoroughly luxurious sedan that serves as a reminder of Cadillacís past glory while incorporating a forward-looking 21st century style. Will the car be built? That is hard to say, especially considering GMís current financial condition. However, letís take a closer look at the dream car and what a Sixteen could do for the Cadillac brand.
It is a given: Cadillac has made tremendous strides over the past decade despite the ongoing problems with parent GM. No longer solely the builder of posh luxo-cruisers for the elderly, the current Cadillac line up is exciting, invigorating, and competitive. Whereas in times past comparisons with BMW and Mercedes would not have been made, todayís models frequently are compared to their elite German rivals. Sales are up and profits are up; still, there is room for improvement and the Sixteen could be the model behind the continued upswing in Cadillac fortunes.
So, why is the Sixteen still receiving raves three years after making its debut at the 2003 Detroit Auto Show? Well, let me paint a picture of this car for you: imagine a sedan with an extra long hood which seamlessly flows up to a rakish windshield. To the top of the car and down to its trunk, the Sixteen looks as if it is in motion while standing still. GM used no less than 30 coats of paint to bring out the deep, rich midnight silver color in the finish which gives the car an almost surreal look. Add in bountiful 24 inch tires and the car is truly commanding. Strikingly, the hood is center hinged like cars of old: while it was on display, one section of the hood was lifted up to reveal half of its sixteen cylinders. Thatís right, the car isnít called "Sixteen" for no reason.
The inside of the Sixteen is simply opulent. Because the car was sectioned off by roping, it was hard to get an eagle eye look. Nevertheless, I was able to see that the Sixteen incorporates advanced interior lighting, deep wood trim, and brushed leather almost everywhere.
After leaving the show I did some investigating and have learned that GM wonít be producing the Sixteen as shown. Supposedly, the 1000 horsepower output and 1000 lbs of torque is a bit much for a production vehicle and even with displacement on demand technology in use, 16 cylinders is a bit of a stretch in this day of elevated fuel prices.
What I have learned is that is several upcoming Cadillac models will adopt some of the Sixteenís styling cues when they are updated over the next few years. Talk of adding a V12 engine to one model continues to persist, but most of the speculation involves styling.
Yes, Cadillac is no longer just the exclusive realm of blue haired grannies; instead, the brand is as exciting and as stimulating as just about any make today.
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