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2003 Detroit Auto Show: Cadillac Reveals "Sixteen"

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Detroit January 6, 2003; The Cadillac Sixteen is classic automotive seduction with the panache of Cadillac's ultramodern design.

In form, power and opulence, the 2003 Cadillac Sixteen embodies the timeless qualities of an exceptionally luxurious super-sedan with its sleek, gemstone appearance. The rear-wheel-drive Cadillac Sixteen brings forth the exclusivity and grandeur of the custom-built Fleetwood coach cars of the 1930s for today's generation of exceedingly well-heeled customers of discerning taste.

"The Sixteen is a modern interpretation of everything that made Cadillac the standard of the world and can again," said Robert A. Lutz, GM vice chairman for product development and chairman of GM North America. "It's a reminder of a glorious past as well as a progressive statement.

"Cadillac's tradition is rich, but in the next several years it will be introducing vehicles as solid, dynamic and beautifully designed as anything it's ever done. And Sixteen is a harbinger of this new era."

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Sweet V-16 The name speaks to the car's powerful 16-cylinder, 1000-horsepower engine and Cadillac's heritage as a maker of fine luxury automobiles. Cadillac's reputation grew exponentially during the '30s in no small part because of the development of the automotive industry's first V-16. The Cadillac Sixteen's grand exterior proportions create an unparalleled presence; its splendid interior is meticulously handcrafted and urbane.

"The Cadillac Sixteen proportions were crafted with great attention to detail and homage to classic design," said Brian Smith, the Cadillac Sixteen's exterior designer. "The Cadillac Sixteen evokes an era when luxury cars were hand-built."

General Motors' designers drew extensively on the traditions of the coachbuilt era in crafting the Cadillac Sixteen, employing the distinctive talents of leading artisans for the upholstery, instrumentation, interior wood and metal elements, and aluminum body panels.

As an exterior statement, the Cadillac Sixteen's proportional composition is bold. The aluminum hood is long, giving the Cadillac Sixteen tremendous dash-to-axle dimension; the wheel arches were designed to accommodate the beautiful 24-inch polished aluminum wheels. The four-door hardtop incorporates an all-glass roof and is without B-pillars. Crisp-edged lines of the midnight silver aluminum body panels accentuate the Cadillac Sixteen's striking appearance.

Even the engine compartment, with its sculpted design, has drama. With dual panels hinged about a center spine that runs the length of the expansive hood, it makes an event out of opening the engine bay. The hood panels are power-operated.

"The engine bay really pays tribute to the V-16," said Wayne Cherry, GM's vice president of design. "It's like a setting for a diamond, clean and simple. The under-hood was designed with the same care and attention as the interior.

"The interior is a pure expression of design," said Cherry.

"Premium materials in luxury refinement are fine woods, precision-cut metals and crystal. They've all been combined and balanced in harmony in the Cadillac Sixteen."

Warm luxury, contemporary style The interior theme is evocative of the posh accommodations of 1930s-era Cadillacs, but with contemporary style. For instance, the dashboard features a center-mounted Bvlgari clock.

The hand-stitched, Tuscany leather upholstered seats nestle the occupants. The right rear seat features power adjustable slope to recline like a chaise lounge. Warm, hand-woven silk carpets the floor in a light cream color that matches the leather upholstery. The dash, door panels, and front and rear consoles are trimmed with walnut burl veneer inlays.

"The lighting is architectural, enhancing the mood and desirability of the Cadillac Sixteen's interior space, complementing its shapes and colors," said Eric Clough, interior designer. "Technique combines with technology for a sophisticated, pampered ambience."

Meanwhile, the custom-designed crystal on the cluster dials offers subtle cues of the Cadillac Sixteen's precise engineering, elegance and craftsmanship.

One thousand horses While GM designers drew inspiration from the ultra-luxury sedan's ancestry, the Cadillac Sixteen is thoroughly modern in its powerplant and technological content.

The Cadillac Sixteen's 32-valve V-16 concept engine displaces 13.6 liters and is mated to a four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. The engine features fuel-saving Displacement on Demand technology, debuting in 2004 on some 2005 GM models, which shuts down half of the cylinders during most driving conditions and automatically and seamlessly reactivates them for more demanding conditions, such as brisk acceleration or load hauling cylinders when the driver needs the engine's full power. The engine produces 1000 horsepower and 1000 lbs.-ft. of torque.

The extensive use of aluminum components and structure provide substantial weight advantages. The aluminum-steel chassis employs high-arm SLA suspension up front and independent semi-trailing arm suspension in the rear. Four-wheel steering enhances the Cadillac Sixteen's maneuverability. The front and rear brakes are six-piston calipers with 16-inch rotors.

Electronic amenities include a rear-seat DVD information system, Bose sound system, and the fifth-generation OnStar in-vehicle safety and security communication system. The head and tail lamps feature LED technology.

All told, the Cadillac Sixteen is an ultra-luxury automobile of the first order.

"This car offers premier refinement and craftsmanship," said Cherry. "Its ultra-contemporary technical detailing is evident throughout.

"The Cadillac Sixteen is befitting of the great Cadillac tradition as the standard of the world."

From The Horses Mouths

Gary Cowger, Mark LaNeve, Tom Stephens, Wayne Cherry, Bob Lutz

Detroit Opera House NAIAS January 5, 2003

Gary Cowger:

Good evening and welcome.

By the time this great building opened, as the Capitol Theater, on January 12, 1922, Cadillac was already on its way to becoming 'the standard of the world.'

And just as the Detroit Opera House combines superb acoustics with Italian Renaissance style and elegance...

Cadillac has long represented a remarkable blend of technical innovation, design elegance and sophistication.

In its earliest days, Cadillac was renowned for its break-through engineering... ultimately earning a reputation as "the standard of the world."

Recognized for its leadership, Cadillac began an evolution into something utterly unique...a brand whose vehicles combined both romance and technology... flamboyance and precision craftsmanship.

The spark for that evolution came from the roughly simultaneous presence at Cadillac of a remarkable group of men, including...

Henry Leland, Cadillac's founder and a true visionary...

Charles F. Kettering, engineer, inventor, pioneer of the industry and of General Motors in particular...

Harley Earl, the first head of GM's styling section...and a trendsetter for every automaker the world over.

And Owen Nacker, the engineer who created the V-16...

Their efforts produced remarkable vehicles that could not have been designed and built by any other company.

For example, the 1930 Series 452...

Styled as "a dream of the Roaring Twenties," the 452 exemplified the engine as art-form...

It featured the world's first V16 for passenger car use.

It is Cadillac's - and GM's - good fortune to have today the same kind of vision, passion and talent that produced Cadillac's golden age.

Two such personalities are GM Design Vice President Wayne Cherry and Group Vice President of Sales and Marketing John Smith, who, just a few short years ago - while John was General Manager of Cadillac - made a personal commitment to return to traditional Cadillac strengths.

After slipping from its elite position in the luxury market, GM committed that Cadillac would develop vehicles with a unique blend of bold, trend-setting design and leading-edge technology.

One of the earliest products of that commitment was the notion of "Art and Science" embodied in the Evoq concept vehicle, which we revealed at the 1999 North American International Auto Show.

Evoq's bold, crisp design was based on a technology- oriented form vocabulary.

And the same theme was echoed in a package of advanced technologies for the powertrain, chassis, suspension and interior.

The Cadillac renaissance begun by the Evoq is gathering momentum.

And what's fueling that momentum is product...

Product that is already building volume and enhancing Cadillac's image.

To keep that volume growing and that image improving, Cadillac's leadership has mapped out a vision for the future.

Cadillac intends to lead in key North American market segments...

For example, in luxury trucks ...with vehicles such as the Escalade and the all-new Escalade ESV.

Cadillac has also trained its sights on growth segments.

The CTS was a big step in that direction.

In its nothing-else-like- it design, it's a true descendant of Cadillac's Golden Age...

In its new Sigma architecture and its exhilarating sport-sedan performance, it's another example of a must-have vehicle.

The bar will soon be raised with a high-performance "V-series" First to market will be the 400 horsepower CTSv - coming at the end of this year.

This vehicle and all subsequent Cadillac v-series entries will be engineered to show that Cadillac understands that combination of explosive and refined performance.

The success of CTS in the market place in 2002, was a leading contributor to Cadillac posting one of the best performances in the industry with sales increasing sixteen percent...twenty-two ona retail basis.

Cadillac's increasing popularity with baby-boomers and in critical markets, such as California, led Cadillac to its best retail sales performance since 1990.

And yet, another critical growth that blends bold design and dynamic performance in a new and surprising shape...


Mark LaNeve:

Good evening. I'm Mark LaNeve of Cadillac.

SRX represents our entree into the fast-growing medium luxury utility segment.

It's designed to fit a new place in the portfolio between our sedans and full-size SUVs.

With technological innovations such as magnetic ride control and the ultra-view roof, SRX will set a new standard for the segment.

It's an important next step for us as we work to grow this legendary brand by broadening our appeal to a new generation of luxury customers.

Gary Cowger:

Today, the Cadillac line-up is one of the the industry...

Every vehicle has been introduced in the last three years, and there are three more to come in the next two years.

That's what our multi-billion dollar investment over a number of years is bringing us.

And there's more to showcase our intent to move Cadillac up, to a true premium luxury position...

Cadillac XLR arrives this spring...bringing stunning looks, exhilarating performance and break-through technology to the luxury roadster class.

It makes a bold statement... and there are more to come.

Tom Stephens:

Good evening.

I'm Tom Stephens of GM Powertrain.

As Gary mentioned earlier, before Cadillac became known for its break-through vehicle designs, it was known throughout the industry for its precision engineering and technological vision. In fact, the V-16 engine that powered the coach-built Cadillacs of the '30s helped propel Cadillac to -- the standard of the world.

For affluent consumers, Cadillac represented the pinnacle of luxury, an aspirational brand...a nameplate known for being the first to introduce revolutionary technology and designs.

It still is!

On behalf of GM, it is my honor and privilege to introduce to you the XV16.

Isn’t she gorgeous?

The XV16 is truly an image powertrain for Cadillac and GM.

It continues a long history of powertrain innovation, and showcases several new advanced technologies, which I'll get to in a minute.

We really challenged our engineers with this project.

We said outstanding quality, reliability, and durability were mandates.

We said, make it as smooth as a turbine.

Make it more powerful than any other engine in the world.

And, make it more fuel efficient than other manufacturers' V-10 or V-12 engines.

And, thanks to the work of an outstanding engineering team...

and the most capable math-based tools in the world...

We met all of our objectives!

The team designed, built and demonstrated a working engine in less than eight months. That's an incredible feat for an engine that is basically an all-new design with very few shared parts.

This is the world's first all-aluminum overhead valve V16.

It has a displacement of 13.6 liters...that's 828 cubic inches.

The XV16 makes an incredible 1,000 horsepower and 1,000 ft-lbs of torque... and that's naturally aspirated, no turbochargers are needed here.

And we've already gotten beyond 1,000 horsepower, making the XV16 able to generate more power and torque than any other engine we know of...yet it's remarkably efficient in both size and weight.

At 695 pounds, the XV16 is actually 64 pounds lighter than the Vortec 8100 V-8 in our full-size trucks and utility vehicles.

Speaking to the engine's elegance and simplicity, consider that, even with twice the cylinders, it has fewer parts than any DOHC V-8 engine in the industry.

And its front profile is significantly smaller than any dual overhead cam V-6, V-8 or V-12 design.

I point this out because it's one thing to decide to create a 1,000-horsepower concept engine...

It's quite another to commit to getting 20 miles per gallon real-world highway fuel economy...the fuel economy of many competitive V8s.

How do we do that?

Through our advanced next-generation valvetrain and fuel-saving technologies, including 3-step Displacement on Demand.

Three-step Displacement on Demand means the XV16 will run on only four cylinders for fuel efficiency at cruising speeds, 8 cylinders for passing safely on a two-lane road, or all 16 cylinders for just having fun.

The advanced technologies featured here...all aluminum construction, DoD, cam-phasing, advanced port and combustion chamber design, piston cooling and advanced materials... enabled us to meet the QRD, noise and vibration, fuel economy, and performance goals of this XV16 image engine.

These enabling technologies are also indicators of where we are headed with our next-generation overhead valve engines.

That makes this XV16 concept engine a great opportunity to showcase the innovative thinking and passion at GM Powertrain, and one of the coolest projects this engineer has ever worked on!

Wayne Cherry:

This really is a beautiful engine.

Designers get excited about engines too...especially the performance and the aesthetics.

Working with the powertrain engineers, we wanted to give the engine a contemporary look that visually communicates the simplicity and elegance of the V16's that powered the coach-built cars of the 30's.

When Bob Lutz suggested a super luxury, aspirational Cadillac V16, we were all seemed so natural and so right.

The concept created the rationale for the V16 engine, which in turn influenced the design of the car.

First, we wanted to highlight the engine, so we designed the engine compartment as a showcase...with powered gull-wing hood panels that provide the best possible view of the engine.

Secondly, the proportions of the vehicle...and to a designer, proportion is everything.

Look at the profile...

The long hood emphasizes power and performance.

With the cabin set back, it's almost coupe-like

There's a wonderful tension between the overall classic gesture of the vehicle, which appears under acceleration...

And the contemporary attitude, which is nose-down...

So it really transfers the visual energy forward in the vehicle.

In many ways, it's like a designer's sketch.

This is a driver's car...not one just to be driven in...

But when you are driven, you're in good shape, with a large rear compartment and passenger-side seats that move into a chaise lounge position.

Inside, you'll find all the premium luxury materials you would expect...but with great attention to detail and precision craftsmanship.

For example, the needles for the instrumentation and the Bulgari timepiece are etched on rotating crystal lenses.

The beautifully refined Cadillac grille features a crystal wreath and crest...which is one of several used throughout the car.

This seamless co-existence of design and technology is the very definition of what it means to be a Cadillac.

With this car, we wanted to create a contemporary design statement that has the presence of a coach-built classic car...but in today's world.

We believe Cadillac has a rightful place as one of the world's great aspirational marques.

This is what we are working so hard to achieve...

This is our vision...

This is ...the Cadillac Sixteen.


Bob Lutz:

Our dream was to create a modern interpretation of everything that made Cadillac the standard of the world…

Striking design... heroic proportions... remarkable technology...and craftsmanship... a vision of the golden age of Cadillac to come.

This vehicle communicates our vision for Cadillac to move up-market...

to become ever more aspirational... and to return to pre-eminence in the luxury market.

It's filled with inspired design and ideas. It exhibits Cadillac's intent to master relevant technology.

One example is the innovative use of aluminum throughout this vehicle...

Which we have achieved with help from our partners at Alcoa...

Alain Belda, Alcoa's Chairman and CEO is with us tonight...Thank you, Alain.

The Sixteen also demonstrates that Cadillac has strong and passionate leadership... With the vision and determination to move Cadillac up-market.

And while we're on the subject of leadership and vision...tonight marks another significant event...Wayne Cherry will retire this fall...which means that this is the final time that we will be able to present one of his creations in a setting like this.

And what a creation it is!

I know that Wayne personally spent countless hours perfecting every nuance of this car... working and re-working until he was sure it was absolute perfection.

It is, without question in my mind, the crowning achievement of his great career.

Congratulations, Wayne... and thank you for your innumerable and inspiring contributions to General Motors.

Thank you for being here tonight.

Please join us for a closer look at the Cadillac Sixteen.

2003-01-06 Please quote if You use this news article!