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Smooth, Sweet Sixteen
By GM Corporate Communications
Jan 17, 2003, 22:53 PST
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DETROIT - 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."



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 coach-built 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 Cloud, 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 on some 2004 GM models, which shuts down select cylinders to operate in V-8 or V-4 mode during most non-demanding driving conditions and automatically reactivates the other 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.”




Small Size, Low Weight And Displacement on Demand Showcase Advantages of Modern OHV Solutions

DETROIT - The new GM XV16 concept engine, unveiled in the Cadillac Sixteen show car, builds on GM’s leadership in advanced overhead-valve engine design and showcases a number of novel fuel-saving technologies in a surprisingly compact package.

“The V-16 affirms Cadillac’s leadership ambition with a powerful statement,” said Thomas G. Stephens, GM group vice president of GM Powertrain. “This elegant engine, thoroughly modern in every respect, is a fitting tribute to the automotive industry’s first 16-cylinder engine that Cadillac introduced more than 70 years ago.”

Looking back in time

In 2002, Cadillac celebrated 100 years of design, performance and technology leadership. But in terms of powertrains, 1930 was one of the most important years in Cadillac’s history - the year it introduced a 16-cylinder engine in an automobile. The engine design was straightforward: two eight-cylinder inline blocks mounted on a common crankcase.

Cadillac engineers continued refining the V-16 engine over the next decade, completely re-engineering it in 1938 because the lengthy and tall V-16 did not fit into the new body style scheduled for introduction. The redesigned V-16 became an L-head design with a 135-degree bank. This new engine was introduced in the fall of 1937, and remained essentially unchanged over the next three model years. The V-16 was discontinued at the end of the 1940 model year, causing historians to lament an era that would appear to be closed forever.

Until now.

The XV16

GM’s XV16 concept engine is a naturally aspirated, all-aluminum 13.6-liter V-16 that generates more than 1000 horsepower (746 kW) and 1000 lbs.-ft. (1356 Nm) of torque. Building on GM Powertrain’s small-block V-8 engine architecture, the V-16 features many of GM’s advanced next-generation valvetrain and fuel-saving technologies including 3-step Displacement on Demand.

The advanced V-16 concept engine embodies many of GM’s innovations in overhead-valve engine architectures. The recently announced new V-12 engine represents GM’s expertise with multi-valve overhead camshaft engines.

GM Powertrain had a clear, challenging list of objectives to meet with the new V-16 concept: outstanding quality, reliability and durability, plus turbine-like levels of noise, vibration and harshness. The XV16 needed to be as fuel-efficient as comparable V-10 and V-12 competitive engines. It had to have class-leading specific output and lower engine weight than current big-block V-8s. With all of these requirements, it also had to run on regular unleaded fuel.

All of the objectives were met or exceeded. Even more impressive was the fact that the engineering team working on this project designed, built and demonstrated a working engine in less than eight months.

Simple, elegant design

“The XV16 is an uncomplicated, technically elegant design that sets new levels for efficient, silky-smooth, ultra-quiet operation,” said Stephens. “Its power and torque levels are also beyond any other engine of which we know.”

High fuel efficiency and low emissions were a top priority in the design and development of the XV16. The XV16 has cylinder head ports and a combustion chamber that have been analytically optimized to provide smooth, quiet and complete combustion. The advanced combustion system reduces emissions and improves fuel economy simultaneously. Sequential multipoint fuel injection is utilized in conjunction with precisely targeted injectors to minimize engine-out emissions. Spark is delivered by high-energy ignition coils for a clean, fast burn. The engine-management system monitors mass airflow to accurately control fuel and spark delivery under all operating conditions.

The concept engine was also designed to be a very space- and weight-efficient engine. The XV16 weighs 695 pounds, 64 pounds less than the Vortec 8100 V-8 featured in the Chevrolet Avalanche, Silverado and Suburban, and GMC Sierra and Yukon XL. The engine’s front profile is significantly smaller than that of a dual overhead cam V6/V-8/V-12 design. And the XV16, with twice the number of cylinders, has fewer parts than any DOHC V-8 engine in the industry, thus underscoring another major benefit of overhead-valve designs.

GM Powertrain engineers benchmarked the port geometry of racing engines in designing the XV16. The result is a two-valves-per-cylinder engine with airflow characteristics that rival four-valves-per-cylinder engines.

Computer-aided analysis and simulation were used extensively in the design of some of the major components, such as the block, crankshaft, cylinder head, valvetrain, cooling and lubrication system. GM is recognized as a leader in computer-aided design, which allows engineers to extensively test, analyze and optimize designs in math before moving to expensive hardware. Computer-aided design also accelerates the development process as evidenced by the remarkably short time required to develop this engine.



Key features

The valvetrain is designed to expand the performance envelope of the conventional pushrod, two-valve engine while maintaining the inherent advantages in packaging efficiency and mass.

The XV16’s valves are titanium alloy, an extremely lightweight material. The engine also employs titanium alloy valve springs, which are 40 percent lighter than comparable steel designs. The titanium helps increase the springs’ natural frequency by 28 percent to allow for higher engine speeds.

Because of its overhead-valve architecture and roots in GM’s next-generation small-block V-8, the XV16 is a perfect candidate to feature GM’s Displacement on Demand (DoD) fuel-saving technology. This technology enables the engine to run seamlessly on eight or even four cylinders during typical driving conditions to maximize fuel savings.

The XV16 engine is started on all cylinders to provide fast, clean starts in all conditions. Once running, the powertrain control module activates DoD based on speed and load conditions using inputs from a number of sensors. Under light load conditions, the control module automatically closes both intake and exhaust valves on selected cylinders. The valves are reopened to provide the number of cylinders needed for exhilarating acceleration or for hauling heavy loads.

DoD leverages the existing oil pump to provide hydraulic pressure to activate the system. The mechanical actuators are special hydraulic lifters, each with a spring-loaded locking pin that deactivates the cylinders.

These special lifters are designed so that one section can collapse, or expand, into the other section. The two sections can be either coupled or uncoupled to each other through the locking pin. When DoD is initiated, hydraulic pressure is used to dislodge the locking pin and collapse the lifter, thus closing the valve. In reactivation mode, the removal of hydraulic pressure causes the locking pin to return to its latched position, restoring the lifter’s normal function.

When in V-8 or V-4 mode, a balanced combination of cylinders would be used to maintain smooth engine operation. Cylinder deactivation-reactivation operation is accomplished in a fraction of a second, making the transition seamless and transparent to the driver.

Based on GM’s fuel-economy analysis, on a drive from Detroit to California, the XV16 would operate in eight-cylinder mode 65 percent of the time, four-cylinder mode 30 percent of the time, and in 16-cylinder mode only 5 percent of the time.

With the XV16’s 3-step DoD system, you get the added benefit of having greater performance with all 16 cylinders in certain wide-open throttle situations such as safely passing on a two-lane road, climbing a very steep grade, or simply having fun.

As with Displacement on Demand, variable cam phasing further enhances the XV16’s fuel economy, emissions and power output. An electro-hydraulically actuated position controller varies the camshaft timing relative to the crankshaft. The use of cam phasing also eliminates the need for an external exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system to control engine-out NOx emission.

The cam phaser enables increased torque at low speeds by positioning the camshaft with an earlier inlet valve closing to trap more fresh combustion mixture. It also can be used to modify the “effective” compression ratio, allowing for increases in initial compression ratio for improved fuel economy and performance. A phaser authority of greater than 40 degrees allows for overall optimization of power, fuel economy and emissions.

This powerful engine also generates a lot of heat under high load conditions. Piston squirters allow the engine to run at higher engine speeds and loads, and keep the pistons cool. The squirters target oil at the underside of the pistons to help remove heat. Oil is also directed at the cylinder wall to help provide a quieter start-up.

The GM XV16 also uses a dry-sump scavenge pump system integrated with the main oil pressure pump. The dry-sump helps reduce overall height for improved packaging while making the vehicle capable of more aggressive cornering. The system has eight individual scavenge pumps to evacuate oil from the sump for improved performance and fuel efficiency.

“The technologies featured in the XV16 engine - all-aluminum construction, DoD, cam phasing, advanced port and combustion chamber design, piston cooling and advanced materials - are all indicators of where we are headed with our next-generation overhead valve engines,” said Stephens. “The Cadillac Sixteen show car is also a great opportunity to showcase the innovative thinking at GM Powertrain.”

GM XV16 Specifications


13.6L V-16


longitudinal RWD




OHV 2 valves-per-cylinder

Bore x Stroke:

105 mm x 98 mm


1000 (746 kW) @ 6000 rpm


1000 lbs.-ft. (1356 Nm) @ 4300 rpm

Compression ratio:


Firing order:


Fuel system:

sequential multipoint fuel injection

Recommended fuel:

unleaded regular





Endoskeletal Construction Provides Lightweight, Rigid Backbone

DETROIT - When General Motors’ design team set out to create the ultra-luxurious Cadillac Sixteen concept car, they knew the super sedan’s sheer size would require some unconventional thinking to keep the overall mass relatively low and optimize performance.

“The Cadillac Sixteen is more technical than most concept cars insofar as the structure,” said David Bolognino, the Cadillac Sixteen’s program manager. “It’s truly an engineered car, and the Cadillac Sixteen is designed with more real-world performance criteria in mind.”

Aluminum was the obvious choice because of the material’s light weight and superb mechanical properties, and GM Design teamed up with Alcoa Automotive to craft the Cadillac Sixteen’s underlying body structure and exterior panels. However, the result is a sophisticated vehicle architecture unlike any other in the industry, and one that weighs up to 50 percent less than a steel construction.

The Cadillac Sixteen makes extensive use of aluminum, including the engine, body structure, body panels, transmission case, driveshaft tube, exterior details and the 24-inch forged and highly polished wheels.

“The Cadillac Sixteen features an advanced aluminum structure,” said Robert S. Hughes, Alcoa’s executive vice president and group president for Alcoa Automotive and Allied Products. “The architecture embodies all of our learning and experience up to this point.”


Perfect setting

The gem of the Cadillac Sixteen is its all-aluminum overhead-valve 1000-horsepower, V-16 engine. GM Design and Alcoa created the perfect setting to showcase this jewel.

The Cadillac Sixteen’s hood is a gull-wing configuration, with dual panels hinged on a center spine, for a dramatic presentation and to maximize the engine’s exposure.

The W-shape of the cast-aluminum shock towers provides the necessary strength and stiffness for the body structure while also adding an artistic element with the natural finish. The unique design of the aluminum-extruded front rail structure enables excellent visibility for the 16-cylinder powerplant without sacrificing stiffness.

Front and rear cradles are bolted directly to the front cowl and rear bulkhead enabling improved stiffness and durability. In addition, two of the six front cradle mounts tie directly into the shock towers rather than the traditional connection directly to the frame rails.



Structural backbone

“We built the Cadillac Sixteen on the same structure as the human skeleton,” said Bolognino. “The strength of the human frame is derived from the spine. The Cadillac Sixteen uses the same basic concept.

“We call it an endoskeletal construction.”

A combination of formed-aluminum sheet and tubular extrusions are welded to form the central structural backbone of the Cadillac Sixteen instead of traditional unibody or spaceframe architecture, where the primary loads are carried by the outer structure, Bolognino said. The spine, or tunnel, also serves as a conduit for all of the vehicle’s control systems, exhaust and driveshaft.

The front and rear bulkheads serve as the shoulders and hips of the skeletal structure. A one-piece, cast-aluminum front bulkhead replaces 13 stamped parts used in typical vehicle construction. The rear bulkhead also is cast aluminum, allowing the front and rear components to serve as structural elements.

The floor pan uses a structural aluminum foam composite; a new technology that enables the same stiffness as other materials, such as aluminum honeycomb, while providing more interior space and improved NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). The result is a lighter floor pan up to an inch thinner than one made from other materials.

Design element

Aluminum has cachet as a design element, and the material’s natural finish is revealed in the front under-hood structural components - shock towers, front cowl and rail extrusions - as well as in the A, B and C-pillars.

The material also gives the Cadillac Sixteen yet another connection to custom-built coach cars of the 1920s and ’30s. The refinement of highly malleable aluminum allowed skilled craftsman to create shapes and designs not possible when only wood and steel were used.

“The Cadillac Sixteen is designed and crafted as the ultimate statement of luxury,” said Wayne Cherry, GM vice president of design. “By utilizing the sophisticated aluminum architecture, the Cadillac Sixteen’s superior craftsmanship is much more than skin deep - it’s the essence of custom coachwork.”






Body/chassis structure:


Body material:


Chassis material:

aluminum / steel




Sigma-based high arm SLA


semi-trailing arm, 4-wheel steer


24" x 9" aluminum

Tire size






Tire brand:

Michelin custom tread


Baer 6-piston, 16" rotors




GM 16-cylinder, 90-degree

Engine displacement (cu. in / cc):

830 / 13600

Horsepower maximum (hp / kw):

1000 / 745

Torque maximum (lbs-ft / Nm)

1000 / 1355


modified Hydra-Matic 4L85-E



Height (in / mm):

54.8 / 1392

Length (in / mm):

223.3 / 5673

Width (in / mm):

79.9 / 2029

Wheelbase (in / mm):

140 / 3556



Front/rear (in / mm):

69.5 / 1766

Weight (lbs / kg):

5000 / 2270 (estimated)















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