Cadillac Cien: beautiful, fast, technological and almost serial

The Chrysler ME Four-Twelve mid-engine supercar remains a concept. And it is not that surprising. Thankfully, at least the project itself appeared, as Chrysler already had an example of a similar attempt before its eyes, and only a couple of years earlier. The year 2002. On the territory of the European Union, the euro enters into use, and the Brazilian national team wins the FIFA World Cup. Recently presented Lamborghini Murcielago – the first Lambo, created in cooperation with Audi – is gradually spreading all over the world and becomes the main reference point for supercars of the new millennium. However, not everything was quiet “in the Kingdom of Denmark” – in Lamborghini were seriously worried, as if the car shown in January 2002 at the Detroit Motor Show would not go into production. And that car was not a new Ferrari – presented the same year Enzo was too expensive and too “limited” in number of copies – but the American Cadillac. More precisely – the Cadillac Cien.


However, we cannot call Cien a purely American car – its design was developed in the British GM Advanced Design Studio. What does not prevent “Siena” look like a purebred Cadillac: here and trapezoidal slots on the front, forming a massive radiator grille, and in some places overdrawn proportions, so it seems as if the car “sticks” to the ground, and, of course, the characteristic, narrow taillights, referring to the Cadillac fins of the middle of last century.

As the concept designer, Simon Cox, admits, he was inspired by the look of F-22 Raptor fighters when creating the image: “With Cien, we tried to create a bright, powerful expression of the very essence of design and technology.” And he admits he likes the vehicle best when viewed from above. “The Cien concept combines the power of the V12, outstanding proportions and a modern design that is unmistakably Cadillac. This concept is the best way to pay tribute to Cadillac’s past, present and, most importantly, future,” Cox adds.

The phrase about the heritage Simon Cox said not accidentally – in fact, the name Cien in Spanish means “a hundred,” and the concept is a gift to the company itself on the centennial. Despite its futuristic appearance, the car was completely passable. Only some of its electronic features existed only on paper.


The two-seat medium-engined sports coupe of targa type was built with attraction of experts from the British company Prodrive – the one that built rally Impreza and Leman’s Aston Martin. The Cien is based on a carbon monocoque, which provides lightness and rigidity to the chassis. The body panels are also made of carbon fiber. At the time, Cadillac was competing in endurance racing with the LMP01 and LMP02 prototypes, so the abundance of racing technology was not unexpected.




Although the Cien weighed just 1,400 pounds, behind the passengers was the mighty 7.5-liter XV12 Northstar. The all-aluminum engine, with two camshafts per row and direct injection, produced 750 horsepower and 610 Nm of torque. Despite the fact that supercars of those years rarely had environmental “tricks”, the engine Cadillac had a patented system deactivating half of the cylinders (system Active Fuel Management or DoD – Displacement on demand, “working volume on demand”). This helped the Sienna to be less voracious.

Suspension of the concept, as it should be supercars, was on the double wishbones in front and behind, and a gearbox – robotized, with paddles and six gears. Traction, traditionally for supercars, went to the rear axle, and from it to wide Michelin tires 335/30 R21. Front rollers were noticeably smaller – 245/35 R19, but the front brakes were larger by 30 millimeters – 390 vs. Carbon ceramic discs and brakes were made by Brembo.

The exact dynamic characteristics of the super-Cadillac are unknown even to General Motors, but it was supposed that up to “a hundred” Cien could shoot in about 3.5 seconds, and the maximum speed will exceed the mark of 350 kilometers per hour. Unfortunately, all assumptions remained on paper – in the middle of 2002, General Motors admitted that the finances aren’t running smoothly now, and that if the concept goes into production, it will cost about 3 million dollars apiece. Well and in August it was reported that Cien will remain a concept car – too expensive for the company to produce such a complex supercar.


The complexity was not only in the engine with disconnected cylinders. A digital dashboard, rear-view cameras, Night Vision system, adaptive stabilization system StabiliTrak, Communiport voice control system – all this required a long “dopilization” at the time, when even polyphony was not on every cell phone. But the Bulgari clock on the torpedo worked without any problems from the very beginning.

In general, the project was folded up and put on the shelf. However, Cien’s appearance turned out to be so “timeless” that he took part in the shooting of two movies – “The Island” in 2005 (the events in which, incidentally, are unfolding in 2019) and “Transformers: Age of Extinction” in 2014. And became imperishable in games like Midnight Club 3, Test Drive Unlimited, Gran Turismo 4, 5 and 6, and Asphalt 9: Legends. It’s a shame we lost a car like that. Truly unique Cadillacs are in short supply right now.

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