Cadillac Cien Concept: A Look Back at the Baddest Cadillac Ever Built

Cadillac Cien Concept

Officially unveiled at the 2002 Detroit Auto Show, the Cadillac Cien is a breathtaking concept powered by a 7.5 L V12 Northstar XV12 engine producing 750 hp and 450 lb/ft of torque. The engine featured direct injection and Displacement on Demand, which would shut down up to 6 cylinders under lighter load for fuel economy’s sake. The Cien is fitted with an F-1 style semi-automatic transmission.

To say the least, the Cien is extraordinary looking, and the design is based on the F-22 Raptor Stealth Fighter Jet. Electronically controlled air inlets and outlets are integrated into the Cien’s body side. These active vents open and close as required for cooling, similar to the Lamborghini Murcielago’s vents. Air is directed to the V12 engine via intakes beneath the two sail panels. The blue glass covering the Cien was inspired by sport performance eye-wear, giving the vehicle a more high-tech look. The Cien also has an active spoiler that raises and lowers, depending on the speed on the vehicle. The wheels are 19 inches in the front and 21 inches in the rear, which look very good on the car without giving it the “Dubz” feeling.

Cadillac Cien Concept rear

The Cien has all of the technological advances you would expect from it, including Night Vision, using thermal imaging to display a view beyond the headlights via heads-up-display projected on the windshield. It also includes StabiliTrak, Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist and Communiport – which integrates the car’s audio, computing, navigation and wireless communication through hands-free voice activation.

The interior, lined with carbon fiber, features the gadgets you would expect, including a rear-view camera, a top-notch entertainment system, and a digital instrument display relaying all of the vehicle’s functions, including diagnostics and satellite navigation.

Cadillac Cien interior

Dark anodized aluminum accents reflect the Cien’s cool, technical appearance. The interior has a strong vertical theme, revolving around the car’s center console, which houses Cien’s controls, and the modern, yet classical clock – designed by Bulgari and inspired by their Rettangolo wristwatch. The interior further complements the concept’s lightweight theme, utilizing carbon fiber and aluminum structural elements in a design that combines luxury and performance.

The Cien was also used in the excellent 2005 film The Island starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson. The car is featured in what my opinion is one of the coolest chase scenes in the history of movies, but I’m not going to ruin the movie for you. I highly recommend going out and renting it.

Of course Cadillac will not make the Cien, just like they didn’t make the Cadillac Sixteen Concept, they’re all about making awesome concepts to get people excited about their cars, then half-delivering on them. The overpriced (but admittedly cool) XLR-V (the luxurious Corvette) is most likely the closest you will ever get to a Cadillac Cien, but the thought of this making it to production makes me drool profusely. Frankly, this would be a decent move for Cadillac as it would get people more excited about them, moving their image up a few notches. Plus, I’m sure they wouldn’t have a problem selling a limited run of them. Who wouldn’t if they had the money?

Cadillac Cien Concept Photo Gallery:

  1. Oh, and Randy?

    You have got to be really retarded to think that this looks like the R8 or the Murcielago, which you obviously are.

  2. My first point is that this is a fantastic piece of machinery, and a welcome relief from the slew of "typical" supercars.

    My second point is about the issue over American vs. Foreign cars. Now, the reason Toyota is the world's top car company, and the reason the Camry is the best-selling car in America is because from the public's viewpoint, they are essentially better cars. We car enthusiats don't necessarily think so, but it is basically true. Like egon said, people don't always think about looks, they care about the "feel" of the car and depreciation. Now it's all about mpg, and the Japanese have got that segment bagged.

    Now, however, we are seeing a lot of better cars coming out of GM (mostly), simply because Toyota FORCED them to be better. Toyota saw the long-term investment in fuel efficiency and better warranties, while GM and Ford kept on selling gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks. American car companies realized that to stay competent, they had to match the Japanese companies, move for move. Which is why there are more and more (though still not enough) American hybrids, and better American warranties. This is the nature of competition, and in the automotive world, that's a very good thing, because it means that there can only be better cars (meaning the cars that we, the consumers, want).

  3. Will / Jacob, your thoughts make sense unless you dig a little deeper. U.S. based import fans are a big part of the reason why the U.S. dollar is devalued; maybe this is a new concept for you, its called a foreign trade deficit. So although as you state our consumer prices are “low” its made up for by devaluing our dollar due to all profit, a large percentage of possible taxes, and most r&d–the big bucks–going back overseas to Japan/Germany, etc..

    Many folks seem to think a few blue collar jobs makes up for the millions of dollars if not billions in Toyota's case that leave the U.S. to go home to corporate headquarters in Japan. Not only do we miss out on the high paying white collar jobs mostly comprised of in the home country of the corporate HQ; we also miss out on the millions of dollars of tax revenue associated with having corporate HQ in the U.S.. Import taxes and blue collar wage taxes are NOTHING in comparison. Oh, and I almost forgot, if we consumed more domestic vehicles there’s a high chance we would have MORE domestic jobs!! This is why lots of companies put their HQ’s on Cayman Islands and than don't worry about the import taxes. Last I checked the tariffs were set at 2.5 percent for any nation that signed the GATT agreement–a far cry from what a corporation based in the U.S. would pay for taxes and an even further cry from what a U.S. based corporation would have to pay to import to Japan or Germany.

    Lastly, even in the U.S. toyota and honda don’t deal with unions and the associated wage problems they have created for the detroit three. If you want american cars to be competitive we need to level the playing field; no unions burden and lets charge import taxes on each country as they do to us–how is this not fair and how would this not benefit the u.s.?

    By the way, if you think that Toys and Hondas are just "the best" here's some info to the contrary. They have problems just like anyone else and in this lawsuit much worse than any I’ve seen in the last 10 years with the big three.

  4. Gerard, you have got a real good point. I'm still wondering where you got the fact that I think foreign auto manufacturers should leave, but I agree with you on the rest.

    Frankly, how GM ever managed to be the top dog is amazing to me. Foreign companies have a breeze importing their cars into the states, while the Big Three have to claw their way through policies, regulations, all the typical bureaucratic B.S. to get a model over seas. Not to mention the difficulties you pointed out that afflict domestic companies and not foreign ones. So I completely agree, the playing field damn well should be leveled. But since that's not likely to happen, the Big Three have to compensate by being so much better than the foreign companies.

    Also, I think you may have misread what I said. Toyota, Honda, ect. made better cars than the Big Three for AWHILE, until the Three had to raise the bar to survive. GM and Ford are trotting out a whole bunch of nice cars now (but Chrysler's kinda DIW). I think that they are kinda equal now, and in time, that will force the Japanese to up their game to keep up with the Americans. And that's a good thing, for competition is the lifeblood of the industry.

  5. Will, thanks for the kind reply. Unfortunately our elected officials just want to look at bailouts rather then fixing the core issues of bad foreign trade policy and unions. My guess is that with all the profit the imports have been making they've also made some generous campaign contributions to the right officials to get them to look the other way. There may be a day soon when the big three and all of their suppliers vanquish rather than up it a level. Such a sad shame. It will badly damage our economy if not crash it when the big three bring all the tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3 suppliers with them.

    Thank you to all the politicians that have supported every country but the U.S. and lastly thank you to all us Americans that refuse to buy American and allow the politicians to do as they see fit for their pocket books.

    Think about it this way. Every foreign product you buy might be cheaper, but you devalue our dollar and bring up the foreign currency. Pretty simple concept. Who loses here?

  6. Slimy politicians and greedy, pathetic lobbyists are a sad fact of life in a democratic country. I despise the general lot of them.

    Like I said, automakers are forced to deal with the behemoth that is competition, which is a good thing, even if circumstances seem otherwise. GM, Ford, and Chrysler felt like they could cut corners on some things, and they payed for it.

    The same thing happened with Harley Davidson a while ago. A Harley used to be the best of the best, no questions asked. Then they started producing bikes to lower and lower standards, thinking they could afford to. Honda, Suzuki, and the like then swept in, making tiny, whining little machines that seemed pathetic but never broke down. Harley finally woke up, belted down and once again became one of the best.

    The Big Three are slow learners, for common sense is most commonly blinded by profit, but if they are to survive, they have gotta back their ass back on the right track. If they do, Motown's gonna come roaring back. If they don't, adios to the American automobile.

  7. Harley's situation was vastly different than the big three. Approximately one third of every GM car goes to pay pension and medical benefits on retired union workers. Harley let things slide cuz they thought they could get away with it. The big three let things slide because they couldn't afford to do otherwise and had incompetent union people running their floors. RIght now because of unions GM's cars are THE MOST expensive to build out of the major car players.

    I think you're missing my point which is that regardless what the big three try to do in improvements to their vehicles unless the playing field is leveled they will eventually fail and along with it a big chunk of our economy will fail as well. You say they need to improve and that they shouldn't "cut corners". I ask, with what money? When a third of your cost is overhead on top of overhead how can you afford to improve?

    What magic pixy dust can they sprinkle? This is economics at its best. Low overhead, high profit wins and in this case all Americans lose BIG. Think stock market CRASH.

    You also mention that competition is a good thing in all cases. Then why doesn't China, Japan, and Germany decrease their tariffs on our imports to 2.5 percent like we have to thiers? Competition is only good if its your product in a foreign country that's winning. If it was always good Japan would have abandoned its protectionist policies long ago–they know better.

  8. Mr. Gerard Cannon, I respect a lot of what you say, but I happen to disagree with you on this: GM's case is not hopeless.

    It's true the current situation is unfair, but GM and the other two did not let things slide because they HAD to, they did so because they CHOSE to. Unions, taxes, and the like can do a lot of things, but they do not mandate that many American cars were notorious for shoddy build quality and service problems.

    It's a misconception that no matter what happens, the Big Three will fail due to unfair competition. All they have to do is recommit themselves, and be so much better that they take back the market EVEN while suffering due to an unlevel playing field. To be the best even when the odds are against them…that's the American way.

    Leveling the playingfield is a nice thought, but it's not very likely to happen, which is why the Big Three have to focus on regaining the market by exceeding standards first. Having a level playing field simply makes it easier for the Three to do so.

  9. The shoddy build quality and service problems are a direct result of a union based work environment and low profit due to unfair foreign trade practice. Unions make it next to impossibly to fire incompetent employees, not to mention if you're spending all your budget on union overhead you have none left over for updating tooling, machinery, etc..

    Union shops don't promote employees based on performance like a normal business would do. A crappy performer gets paid the same as a high performer and the only thing unions reward is seniority. In that type of work environment its no wonder why they've had quality issues and to be honest even with this handicap I've been seeing a lot more problems coming out of the imports as of the last 7 years.

    In a global economy the lowest overhead highest profit competitors will win. This precludes the big three.

    With all that said I hope you're right….

  10. The cadillac cien needs to be put to rest. Cadillac is going out of business and will need to be shunned for the next following years.

    1. I highly doubt they are going out of business since the new Cadillac just won several manufacturers awards including “Car of the Year” by Motorweek and Motor Trend amonst others. I would suspect just the opposite. Cadillac has a MASSIVE following in the younger generation and in fact, younger, rather than older people are now about 50% of Cadillac’s purchasers now. That was exactly what Cadillac was striving for over the past 10 years. Marketing towards the younger gen. Get them to be excited about Cadillac. Granted, a lot of older people still purchase vehicles like the CTS Coupe and STS but the CTS-V and other “V” model cars are hot items amonst the younger generation and coveted cars to own now. In fact, many of the “V” model Cadi’s are being used to upgrade and convert into powerhouse modified cars.

  11. They’re making one that looks like it was inspired by the cien, but without the power – the 2014 ELR. I’m just hoping they’ll end up with an interior that is as luxurious, yet sleek, as the current CTS coupe. If they pull that off, power or not, I’ll probably buy it.

    1. The ELR looks great – sort of a mix between the Cien and CTS Coupe. Let’s hope they make the interior and powertrain at least come close to matching its exterior appearance.

  12. The Cien is one of the most beautiful Cadillac’s ever made in my opinion, other than the “Sixteen” concept that was also made. Both cars were striking in their design and reported performance. The Sixteen was far too advanced for a production vehicle and would have never been practical for Cadillac to produce, however, the Cien could have easily been produced in limited numbers and they would have sold out almost instantly for sure. Even at $300,000+, the Cien’s would have most certainly sold to high end buyers and car collectors. Even in 2013, the Cien is a revolution in design and Cadillac should still consider producing this vehicle in limited numbers. Although their current line up does definitely take some cues from the Cien’s design elements. The CTS-V Coupe is an incredible vehicle and looks similar in some aspects to the Cien. It is probably the closest car that can be purchased to the Cien. This would be a really cool car for a one-off car company to design and build out of a production Cadillac.

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