General Motors has finally given the green light for Cadillac to develop a new flagship saloon aimed at taking on the likes of the BMW 7-series and Mercedes-Benz S-class. GM’s luxury brand has been struggling to convince management to come up with the necessary cash since it rolled out the over-the-top Caddy Sixteen concept nearly a decade ago.
However, it was the strong response to another Cadillac prototype, the Cadillac Ciel cabriolet revealed at last year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, that convinced the maker it could move upmarket and reposition the once-dominant marque as a serious global player.
The flagship is not expected to be quite as bold as the Ciel concept but will push for a level of “premiumness,” according to one company source, that would be more in line with ultra-premium brands such as Bentley.
Cadillac is likely to power the new model with a V8 that can compete with the likes of the BMW 750i or Mercedes-Benz S550. A smaller and more fuel-efficient V6 is a likelihood and may came in turbocharged-only form. A new eight-speed gearbox is reportedly in the works. Whether the Detroit maker would also offer a hardcore V-series entry to compete with the likes of the Mercedes S63 AMG is uncertain.
A new concept, updating the Ciel, is expected to be revealed early next year and Cadillac hopes to have the new flagship model in showrooms by 2016.
The maker is just launching the new Cadillac ATS, a compact premium saloon aimed at the BMW 3-Series. The new Cadillac XTS saloon is also coming to market for 2013 and a small crossover is reportedly in the works, too, with Cadillac officials confirming they are looking at the possibilities for an ATS coupé, V-series variant and even a convertible.
Cadillac has had reasonable success in several markets, including China and Russia, but the maker is hoping the ATS and next-generation Cadillac CTS in particular, will finally give it traction in Europe. That could open the door for the flagship saloon to take aim at the dominant German brands later in the decade.