The Cadillac Sixteen was a prototype of a stylish and high performance automobile first presented by Cadillac in 2003.
The vehicle was equipped with a 32-valve V16 concept engine displacing 13.6cc/liters and was mated to a four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. The engine featured 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 when the driver needs the engine’s full power. The engine was said to produce 1000 hp (750 kW) and 1000 ft·lbf (1350 N·m) of torque using no form of forced induction.
The car was conceptually related to the Cadillac V-16 of the 1930s. The actual design of the car was a combination of Cadillac’s current “Art and Science” design theme and 1967 Cadillac Eldorado cues. Additional original design elements were provided by an in-house design competition led by GM Vice President Robert Lutz.
The Sixteen is also known to have the steering wheel logo carved out of solid crystal and a Bulgari clock on the dashboard.
Although the Sixteen fell short (narrowly, by some accounts) of production approval, its legacy is alive in Cadillac’s future product planning. The next generation of Cadillac products is expected to incorporate elements of the Sixteen’s design. These influences are expected to range from styling cues to a possible scaled-down version of the car, which may be powered by a V8 or V12. This range-topper, which has not been formally announced, is often referred to as the ULS (ultra luxury sedan) when GM executives talk with automotive media sources. If built, it would compete with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the BMW 7-Series and the Audi A8 . There are plans to introduce a car very similar to this in 2009. It will have a base V8, and the top model will have a V12.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.