The 746 kW 13,6-litre V16 Cadillac Sixteen is proof that General Motors is not about to let Maybach and Rolls-Royce conquer the United States superluxury market without a fight…

The sumptuous 13,6-litre V16 Cadillac Sixteen is proof that General Motors is not about to let Maybach and Rolls-Royce conquer the United States superluxury market without a fight…

The Sixteen, which was unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show this week, is a concept vehicle. However, it is highly likely that the car, which is unrivalled by US competitors Ford and Chrysler, will go into production as GM doubles its efforts to rebuild the Cadillac brand.

Bob Lutz, the company’s vice chairman, this week said the vehicle was indicative of the brand’s direction, both stylistically and performance-wise: “Sixteen is a harbinger of this new (Cadillac) era."

The heart of the Sixteen is a 13,6-litre pushrod V16 designed over the past eight months specifically for this concept. The 32-valve engine produces a mammoth 1 356 N.m of torque and is housed under a gullwing bonnet.

The car is intended to go head-to-head with the flagships of BMW-owned Rolls Royce and DaimlerChrysler’s Maybach, both of which were recently launched in the US.

GM is aware that the Volkswagen-owned Bentley company will soon develop and produce a saloon version of its new Bentley Continental GT.

The Sixteen will be hand-built. It has an all-glass roof that stretches over a spacious cabin (but without a B-pillar).

Lutz said that designers were encouraged to soften and smooth out the look of the car… The result is a stretched out sedan that has plenty of room, but lacks the stateliness of a Bentley or Rolls Royce, reported this week.

The Sixteen would, however, carry a pricetag similar to Rolls Royce and Bentley, with estimates exceeding R2,15 million.