- Concept showcases future design, new tech
- Flagship sedan a companion for new CT6
- Dual-theme interior, next-gen connectivity
PEBBLE BEACH, California – Wow! Is this the best-looking “stealth car” yet? Cadillac is showing its Escala Concept at the annual Concours d’Elegance here as a taster for what the automaker says is the start of an evolution (revolution?) in its vehicle design.
The brand is 114 years old.
America’s version of a luxury brand made a brief foray into South Africa back in the single-digit two-thousands with its luxury BLS, CTS and STS, along with Chrysler’s version of a stealth car, the 300C gangsta autos.
“The Escala is a concept with two clear objectives,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Global Cadillac who was poached from Infiniti back in 2014. “First, it’s a statement of intent for the next iteration of Cadillac design and technical development concepts.
“Second, the Escala will build Cadillac’s aspirational character, signalling the brand’s return to the pinnacle of premium. It’s a concept car but based on the unrelenting rise of our product substance.
“Depending on the development of market segment for large luxury sedans, Escala is a potential addition to our existing product plan.”
‘INDULGENT FLAGSHIP SEDAN’
Escala, Spanish for “scale”, is a concept for a larger, more elite and expressive, companion to the recently launched 2016 Cadillac CT6, the brand’s new range-topping prestige sedan. It is also the third in a series of Cadillac concepts debuted at Pebble Beach in recent years: others were the Ciel (sky) convertible (2011) and Elmiraj coupe (2013).
The large, four-door, Escala was designed to be not only a driver’s car but also “an indulgent flagship sedan”. It’s large – 5.34m long – and has, its maker says, the new and evolved face of Cadillac design that will soon start to appear on production models.
It has “a new expression” of Cadillac’s vertical lighting, a brand signature for nearly 70 years. Its diode elements are thinner and set deep in the nose to create a sinister look, day or night, and the package rides on 22″ spoked wheels.
Andrew Smith, executive director of Cadillac Global Design, told The Corner in an international media release: “This Escala shares how Cadillac will bring forward a new experience that is uniquely American, unmistakably Cadillac – an expressive symbol of reward and an exhilarating driving.
“The cabin is all about precision and ingenuity in craftsmanship and the artistic integration of technology. My brief to the designers was “create a car you desperately want to drive, one in which you want to be driven”.
NEW CONNECTIVITY CONTROLS
An array of three curved diode-lit screens is prominent feature on the cabin facia. Cadillac says the very thin displays are layered in front of the driver, their backs covered in hand-stitched leather embossed with the Cadillac script.
The idea was to consolidate the traditional cluster of driving gauges with the “centre stack” one integrated unit.
The Escala includes new designs for connectivity and control, a prototype for future production. A central control module lets the driver touch-control a number of connectivity functions – or use voice and gestures.
NEW CAR, OLD ENGINE CONCEPT
The car also makes a broad use of hand-tailored fabric, as used by Cadillac’s fashion-industry partners, on the doors’ trim and the seat areas “to provide a new level of hand-applied craftsmanship and colour, unique in today’s auto interior landscape”.
The Escala concept is moved by a new 4.2-litre, twin-turbo, V8 engine – another prototype for those to come in future models. It continues the GM tradition of shutting down four cylinder once into cruise.