Episode 706 – Cadillac Ciel Concept, Infiniti JX Revealed, 2013 Lexus GS 350

August 19th, 2011 at 12:45pm

Runtime: 9:14

There were several reveals from luxury automakers at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Cadillac unveiled a large, four-door convertible concept called the Ciel. Infiniti debuted a seven-passenger, three-row luxury crossover, powered by a V-6 engine matched with a CVT, called the JX. And Lexus showed off the 2013 GS 350 which has a 3.5-liter V-6 under the hood that produces 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. All that and more, plus a little taste, a morsel, of what you missed on last night’s Autoline After Hours, where we broadcasted LIVE from Woodward Avenue.


Visit our sponsors to thank them for their support of Autoline Daily: Bridgestone, Dow Automotive Systems and Hyundai

»Subscribe to Podcast | iTunes | Zune | RSS | Listen on Phone Stitcher

Ahoy hoy! It is I, Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics fame, bringing you another installment of Autoline Daily for your ocular, aural and . . . olfactory pleasure. Today is Friday, the 19th of August, 2011. We’ve got a great show planned and if you stick around, we may even hear from my evil carbon-based replica, Bob. But first, some juicy, newsy tidbits.

Last week on Autoline Daily, Rebecca Lindland, an analyst at IHS Automotive said her firm is reducing its sales forecast for the year to the mid-twelve million range. Now other analysts are doing the same. J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, J.D. Power and RBC all cut their forecasts and say sales will come in between 12.5 and 12.8 million units this year. Each firm cut forecasts for next year as well, saying they expect sales to reach between 13.3 million and 14.1 million in 2012.

But despite its downgrade, J.D. Power says retail sales this month are slightly better than July. They’re expected to come in at just under 900,000 units. That’s a SAAR of 9.9 million retail units, which is slightly ahead of last month’s 9.5 million. J.D. Power says the retail SAAR is a more accurate measurement of consumer demand compared to the Total SAAR, which includes fleet sales. The firm says there is a lot of pent-up demand right now but the economy and financial worries are keeping it from being released.

But even with the volatility, analysts at Edmunds.com say the ups and downs in the stock market haven’t impacted car sales. Yet. They expect August’s total SAAR to come in at 12.2 million units, which is about the same from July.

Cadillac unveiled a new concept car today at Pebble Beach in California, my home state. Called the Ciel, French for Sky, not the amusing ball-balancing aquatic mammal, the car is a large, four-door convertible wrapped is what can only be described as SPECTACULAR sheetmetal. In pictures, this thing looks low, wide and long – and it is! Wheelbase is a Queen Mary-like 125 inches. That’s a foot longer than a CTS! Overall, the design is striking and the car looks like something from the 1950s. It’s got suicide doors, too. But there’s nothing retro under the hood. It’s powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V-6 engine that’s paired with a hybrid-electric system. As usual, no production or pricing details are available, but if GM doesn’t do this one, even as a limited build short production model, it can only mean the old Corporate auto-immune system that help make General Motors what is was in the halcyon days of May 31st 2009 is back with a vengeance. BUILD THIS CAR Mr. Akerson!

Another Pebble-Beach reveal is the Infiniti JX. It’s a seven-passenger, three-row luxury crossover. It’s powered by a V-6 engine matched with a CVT . . . a continuously vexing transmission. In the design department this thing is a little soft, literally. It looks like it was carved out of a bar of soap that was run under hot water until all of the edges and cut-lines were softened. And check out that funky-looking D-pillar! This is one you’ll have to see in person before passing judgment on it. Look for the JX at Infiniti dealers next spring.

2013 LEXUS GS 350
But that’s not all! No sir . . . or Madame! Lexus used the famous California venue to premiere a vehicle of its own. Behold, the 2013 GS 350! Those of you in the market for a Japanese E-Class or 5 Series, this is your steed! With a 3.5-liter V-6 on board it delivers 306 powers of the horse and 277 torques. 60 miles an hour from a standstill should be attainable in just 5.7 seconds. One notable attribute about this distinctively styled car is the weight. It’s actually down compared to the previous version, if only a tiny amount. Inside, the design is much more tasteful. For more details hit the link in our show notes at AutolineDetroit.tv.

Ford’s panoramic sunroof option is proving to be more popular than the company expected. According to Ward’s, the company expected the take rate to be as high as 35 percent, but for the Edge and Explorer it’s at 50 percent! In addition to those models, the panoramic sunroof is offered on the Flex, Mustang and Lincoln MKX. It’s proving to be just as popular as navigation systems and it even surpasses other optional features like 20-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control and active park assist.

Coming up next, a little taste, a morsel, of what you missed on last night’s Autoline After Hours, where we broadcasted LIVE from Woodward Avenue. Stick around.

As I alluded to before the break we were down on Woodward Avenue last night for Autoline After Hours, and here’s a quick smattering of what you missed.

JIM – That was fun show, Bobby!

BOB – It sure was, Jimmy!

JIM – Now eagle-eyed viewers, could you tell which Hall was which?

BOB – I don’t know, but that guy in orange sure was handsome.

Lastly, make sure you stick around for RoundAbout tonight. The show goes LIVE at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time on our website, AutolineDetroit.tv

Alright, well, signing off I’m Jim Hall from 2953 Analytics

BOB – and I’m Bob hall from not there.

Thanks for watching, we’ll catch you next time!

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

56 Comments to “Episode 706 – Cadillac Ciel Concept, Infiniti JX Revealed, 2013 Lexus GS 350”

  1. MW Says:

    Cadillac will build the Ciel? Really? Doesn’t sound like the GM we all know.

  2. MJB Says:


    Hall for president!

    On the Cadillac Ciel concept, not quite feeling it. Perhaps I need to see that one in person.

  3. tj Martin Says:

    Cadillac Ciel

    The new definition of FUGLY !

    Formula ?

    Take one Wanna Be Rolls Royce style body

    Toss in a healthy dose of pretentious ” Aero ” sculpting lines

    Stick one very over done Cadillac Grill on its snout

    And call it FUGLY

    Seriously , if this is the best Cadillac designers can come up with , is it any wonder they can’t sell them anywhere else in the world but here ( US ) where Cadillac still holds some distant yet ever diminishing Premium distinction ?

    And why would I bet dollars to donuts with the top up the Ciel has a plethora of Blind Spots

  4. tj Martin Says:

    The more I flip back and forth between the RR Phantom and the Cadillac Ciel , the more the Ciel looks like a bad interpretation of that RR’s design . Suicide rear doors and all .

    Chop the roof off ( the RR ) stick that Cadillac grill on the front and call it done .

    Pathetic .

  5. MJB Says:

    Yeah, I can’t imagine how horrific that thing will look with the top up.

  6. HtG Says:

    Picture this Bob and Jim, today my favorite on-ramp was repaved. You enter downhill, 90 degree right in 2nd gear, exit for a straight and go into 3rd, flat out till the banked left, short straight leading into negative camber 40 degree right, trail the throttle and get back on it so you enter traffic at 70+mph. If you did all this in my 96 Montego Blue Miata with the tires squeeling(and I mean it), you just want to shake Bob Hall’s hand and never let go. Bob, you will live forever, even if it’s only as spare parts.

  7. HtG Says:

    sorry tj, but that CIEL passed my smile test, BIGTIME.

  8. Chuck Grenci Says:

    @tj #3

    I don’t believe it is a convertible (as shown); appears to be an open air 4-seat ‘roadster’. I don’t believe there are side windows either. Appears to be a true concept and styling exercise (production models, if ever produced, would most certainly only retain the theme and for practicality have to be conditioned for less than optimal weather). My comments are merely conjecture (but I’m willing to give ‘this exercise’ a fair chance to see what develops; the twin turbo 3.6 kind of makes my mouth water a bit).

  9. Chuck Grenci Says:

    If anyone wants to jump on ‘ugly’ take a look at that Infiniti JX (looks like a cartoon car to me); Roger Rabbit would look right at home in that thing. :)

  10. Phoenix Mark Says:

    I like the Ciel as a concept / design study. I would love to see Lincoln do an updated 4 door convertible Continental.

    As for the Ford panoramic sunroof, if you can’t make it completely dark then, no thank you. Here in the valley of the sun, it would be too hot.

  11. GeelongVic Says:

    The Ciel reminds one of the 61-64 four door Lincoln Continental but without the grace of the Lincoln. Ed Welburn’s team should have done better in updating a fifty year old design.

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    The 16 concept was better looking and they never built it, and now they want to build this atrocity?

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    The same infection that affected the Acura designers seems to be spreading throughout the rest of the industry, please CDC look into it!!

  14. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I don’t believe anyone said anything about building this (except for Jim/Bob Hall).

  15. HtG Says:

    I gotta admit, them Infinitis look like they should have a theme song. Like the one from the Munsters. Cue the soundtrack Hermann…


  16. dcars Says:

    I think the Ciel is a decent design study, however it needs some work. Jim and Bob pretty cool trick!
    Very entertaining.

  17. tj Martin Says:

    OK to be fair the Lexus GS and the new Infiniti aren’t much better looking than the Ciel either .

    But talk about pretentious propaganda ….. read the GM link about the car .

    All this hype , here’s the story blah blah blah with the topper being the choice of name for the car .

    According to the GM propaganda the Ciel is supposed to be all about California the Pacific Coast Highway blah blah blah

    Albeit with a very pretentious FRENCH moniker that most in the US can’t pronounce and won’t understand ( Ciel = Sky , Heaven or Open ; methinks another H word fits it better )

    So what’s up with that GM ? Pacific Coast or say Highway One or any other multitude of CA specific monikers not good enough for this pretentious beast of a car ?

    This whole Post Modern Zeitgeist needs to come to an end

    ( where the story means more than the truth )

    In cars , advertising and life in general

    My choice of theme song for the Ciel

    ” Fat Bottom Girls ” by Queen


  18. HtG Says:

    today I watched a grey haired guy try to park his enormous Benz CL55 in a spot. He left half the rear in the lane and was crooked to boot. If they build the Ciel, he will come.

  19. tj Martin Says:


    As P.T. Barnum and W.C. Fields would of said…………

  20. tj Martin Says:

    Most ridiculous promotion offered by an Automotive Manufacture ;


    Oh well , guess if you can’t sell the little beasts you might as well give them away in the name of public betterment . Ugh !

  21. HtG Says:

    long ride today, tj?

  22. W L Simpson Says:

    Been wundrin for 50 years how best to describe my taste in car design & now I know—soft!
    thanks Jim

  23. tj Martin Says:


    Huh ???

  24. tj Martin Says:

    SAAB Story Deu Jour ;

    It just keeps on getting better by the minute ;


  25. HtG Says:

    @ Huh? cycling? No?

  26. tj Martin Says:

    # 25

    In KC ? In this humidity ? You’re joking . No ?

    Seriously KC is one lousy town for cycling in , not to mention above said humidity .

  27. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Clarification re; humidity

    Humidity + High Heat = Major league Migraines

  28. HtG Says:

    please excuse my questions, tj. I’ve been reading your posts enough, I thought you sounded a little off.

  29. SalvadorG. Says:

    - Who doesn’t like the Cadillac Ciel concept?
    - Whats wrong with you people!
    - That is a wonderful design, very classy looking car (don’t care for the brown interior)
    - But overall, very nice
    - And obviously, it is Not going to be build.

  30. XA351GT Says:

    Yep that is sure one ugly Caddy. I’d much rather have a 4 wheeled brick with absolutely no style ,but no blind spots as well. GIVE ME A BREAK!! Finally a car that isn’t plain vanilla and all we hear is griping and complaining, Plus side it’s a convertble so no BLIND SPOTS. Yeah!!!

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I thought that Cadillac concept looked kind of nice in the video, but as far as building it, I don’t think so. There is probably no existing platform that would work, so it would be very pricey. Still, these totally impractical, not likely to be produced concepts are cool. I still like the Chrysler Atlantic from a few years ago.

  32. David B. Fishburn Says:

    Until i watched this episode, i thought that Bob Hall was some kind of joke that Jim was doing. I was sure surprised to see that Jim does have a twin brother. Nicely done, Jim and Bob!

    That cadillac is one FUGLY car! I don’t like cadillac’s styling to begin with, this car really shows the ugliness.

    Thank you John, for correcting the 365 days of A link problem. It was a really interesting interview.

  33. Dan Clemons Says:

    Fabulous Show!!

  34. john787 Says:

    I thought the French word Ciel meant heaven, not sky. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  35. Chuck Grenci Says:


    According to an internet search ciel is both sky and heaven.

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    The last GM car that used the Sky name did not do too well, as I recall.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Sky and Solstice looked good, but were terribly underdeveloped with crappy interior, fussy top mechanism, poorly chosen gear ratios, and a trunk smaller than the under-seat storage of my SilverWing scooter. By one standard, the Sky did better than Solstice; Saturn sold more than twice as many Skys per dealer as Pontiac sold Solstice.

  38. tj Martin Says:

    @ SalvadorG

    re; ” who doesn’t like the Cadillac Ciel ”

    Well SG thats a simple one Anyone with even a modicum of that very rare commodity called ;


    Seriously if blinged up Rolls Royce wanna be is your thing , have at it , but don’t cope and attitude towards those of us that don’t

    Some of us aren’t impressed with H/K quality ( e.g. Carbon copy ) design , even if it does have a Cadillac badge on its ugly fat snout

    @ Chuck Grenci – #35 – I said that already direct from a French/English dictionary .

  39. tj Martin Says:


    Ciel = Sky , heaven , or open

    Pronounced C L

  40. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit



    Great to look at , horrible to drive and own . A real shame if you ask me .

  41. tj Martin Says:

    XA351GT- # 30

    Read my response on #38

    And …… ahhhhh ………. convertibles have to have a top for those rainy days so so much for no blind spots as well

    It’ll have them ( blind spots ) Assuming Cadillac is stupid enough to build it . Like every other car they’re making today . You wait and see .

  42. tj Martin Says:

    @ XA351GT

    re; Blind spots on convertibles

    Haven’t driven / read John’s review of the Camaro convertible … have we ?

    Believe me at the rate GM is going they could design blind spots on a clear glass Fish Bowl !



    re: My mood Friday

    It was more about stocks tumbling again , more lousy SAAB news , The Tata NANO thing ( though on a better day that’d just have me laughing ) the Plaza schtick etc

    Add in that Ciel monstrosity and my mood plummeted .

  43. tj Martin Says:

    Got it !!!

    The Cadillac Ciel = The McMansion of the Automotive World

    All size , zero style and vapid in content


  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj, out of curiosy, what did you think of the Chrysler Atlantic?

  45. XA351GT Says:

    Kit @ 37 , My Parents have a Solstice GXP and the interior is nice and we don’t have any issues with the top or the gear selection .I will agree with you about trunk or rather lack there of space. Are you speaking from experience or from waht others have told you? I can’t speak for the standard Solstice ,but the GXP is a great little car.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    My experience with Solstice was when I “almost” bought one when they were new. As far as the interior, is was, to me, cheap looking, and had no storage for small items. I was looking at the early cars with the 2.4 engine engine and 5-speed manual. The gears were too widely spaced to be pleasant around town, and didn;t work too well in sporty driving. It needed a 6-speed, or if they were going to do a 5-speed, the place to compromise was with a shorter top gear. As far as the top mechanism, it worked less well than my ’86 VW Cabriolet, a 1980 design. One would expect progress to be made over the next 20 years.

  47. HtG Says:

    what exactly was going on in the trunk of the Solstice? The front end sure was sultry, unless you live in a front license plate state.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems that they were so obcessed with top-down appearance of Solstice/Sky that they didn’t concern themselves at all with trunk space. The top completely fills what would be the trunk. If you plan to go on a trip and never put the top down, there is more trunk, but still not a lot.

    Yeh, the Solstice suffers more than any car I can think of with a front license plate, but looks good without one.

  49. XA351GT Says:

    I remember looking at the last Gen Toyota MR2 Spyder and thinking, wow there is zero space for anything here. The Solstice would run a close second place.

  50. pedro fernandez Says:

    Mr Davis from Motorweek should retire already before he continues to make himself sound more foolish with every new review, now it’s the idiotic Murano rag-top thing, he admits that it’s has little room, ponderous handling and braking, horrible rear visibility and poor mileage with premium and over $40k then he has the audacity to say that it’s cheaper than the MB SLK convertible and it seats 4. This guy is wacko!!

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Murano ragtop thing is the silliest vehicle to come along since the GMC Envoy with the peel forward roof for transporting refrigerators. Remember that one?

  52. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yeah, that one worked, did they ever hear of a pickup truck for such chores? This Murano makes no sense at all, looks like they were trying to make a ragtop on steroids, “Failed” As far as the Motorweek people I would ask them just one question: Is there one single vehicle out there that you don’t like? I will try to find an old review of the Yugo to see if they also gave it high praise.

  53. pedro fernandez Says:

    Found one and they were”impressed” with fit and finish, these people have always been full of it, I guess, another review on Youtube found that not even the seats were safe, since they were sliding back and forth when the latch failed to secure it in place or when you folded the seats up to get into the back, not to mention numerous interior shoddy assembly.

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The thing I remember about the Yugo when I first saw one, is that the seats looked like they were covered with worn out bath towels.

  55. cwolf Says:

    I bet it did’nt take you long to discover that the Motorweek site provides no means to express a comment. This tells me,at least, that they don’t care what others think about the job they are doing. If enough viewers contact the TV station, things will change rapidly.

  56. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf: my beef with this show is that they never seem to consider the negative points, which they do mention, when they give a thumbs up on any particular vehicle. Instead of pointing out a better alternative or simply saying they don’t think the price is worth it, it’s as if they’re scared of offending the manufacturer and they won’t get any more free loaner cars to test.