Cadillac’s newest Escala Concept is the epitome of grace and power

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 25, 2016

Cadillac has this thing where they debut their concept cars at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. In 2011, the very impressive Ciel concept was unveiled at the said event and two years later, the stunning Elmirai concept took its stage. Now just before this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Cadillac introduced the world to its newest concept car – the Cadillac Escala concept.

The Escala concept is named after the Spanish word for “scale” and even though it sounds like the Cadillac Escalade, there is nothing in common between the two. The former is actually a contrast to the latter – the Escalade is an imposing SUV while the Escala is a low, sleek styled four-door coupe.

The Escala shares the same platform as that of the CT6 but is expected to outperform the latter. It has a wheelbase stretched from 12 cm to up to 3.2mm compared to the CT6 and is longer and larger by half a foot, a total of 210.5 inches long. It was made of the same mixed-materials that have been used in the CT6 and also comes in rear wheel drive.

The length of the Escala is broken up by two hockey stick-like chrome elements, of which one is at the bottom of the rear windows while the other one comes from the 22-inch front wheels.

In general, it looks a lot like a traditional three-box sedan but the cargo area’s liftback design is similar to that on the Audi A7 and Porsche Panamera. The straight-edged, vertical-taillight design found in recent Cadillac sedans is also found on the Escala with an additional small horizontal element at the top of the car.

The aesthetic design of the front end of the Escala is more advanced than its predecessors (and some of its competitors) with the signature Cadillac vertical running lights but with ultra-skinny OLED (organic light-emitting diode) headlights deep in the narrow recesses of either side of the grille. Up front, the Escala has massive trapezoidal grilles and its hood has been designed with several bold strakes that reach up to the windshield.

The interior is where all the magic begins; and by that we mean this is where a big chunk of hi-tech innovation is. The dashboard comes with a minimalist but very elegant design featuring a wood trim and a simple layout dominated by three curved OLED displays co-developed by LG Electronics, ditching the conventional controls. The OLED displays provide a much better 3D navigation system by projecting vivid colors and crisp images of the outside world. The steering wheel also comes in a very minimalist design with a very small diameter hub while the center console features various control knobs that could be used instead of touchscreen and voice commands.

The cabin is a perfect epitome of elegance and sophistication with hand-cut and hand-stitched leather adorning most of its surfaces. Fashion companies have said to have been consulted by the American automaker for the decoration of the interior. Two tablet-like screens have also been installed on the seatbacks to provide entertainment to the two rear passengers. Cadillac Global Design Executive Director Andrew Smith briefed his design team to create a car that “you desperately want to drive” and at the same time “one in which you want to be driven” and thus the two-themed design of the Escala.

The car will be powered by a 4.2-liter biturbo V8 engine. The automaker says that the engine is a prototype for a new system that is still under development for future Cadillac models (along with the OLED display systems) and will come with a cylinder deactivation. However, there hasn’t been any information on how much power it can give to the Escala.

The Cadillac Escala is said to have been designed to compete with the Audi A7, the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe and the Porsche Panamera. It has also been expected to outperform the range-topping CT8, creating more speculation that this vehicle may sooner or later reach production. But since production plans will still depend on the development of the large luxury sedans market based on Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen’s statement, might as well wait and see and take the news with a grain of salt.

Press Release

Cadillac Unveils Escala Concept, Previewing Future Design Direction

The Escala Concept debuts in California tonight, introducing the next evolution of Cadillac design and previewing the craftsmanship and technology being developed for many future models. Following a series of private previews, Escala will be displayed this weekend at the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

The Escala Concept previews the design and technical ideas driving the next phase of Cadillac’s ongoing expansion.

“Escala is a concept with two clear objectives,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Global Cadillac. “First, Escala is a statement of intent for the next iteration of the Cadillac design language, and also technical concepts in development for future Cadillac models. Secondly, Escala builds Cadillac’s aspirational character, signaling the brand’s return to the pinnacle of premium.”

Cadillac has released a new slate of models bristling with expressive design and exhilarating performance, driver’s cars taking Cadillac into a new chapter of its storied 114-year history.

“Escala is a concept car, but one based upon the unrelenting rise of our product substance,” de Nysschen said. “Depending on the development of market segment for large luxury sedans, Escala is a potential addition to our existing product plan.”

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 remarkable new range-topping prestige sedan. Escala is also the third in a series of concepts Cadillac has debuted at Pebble Beach in recent years, following the Ceil convertible (2011) and Elmiraj coupe (2013).

Escala is designed to be both a driver’s car and an indulgent flagship sedan. The large 4-door sedan features an expansive liftback design emphasizing the car’s considerable scale and versatility. At 210.5 inches in overall length, Escala is roughly 6 inches longer than today’s CT6.

Escala features a new and evolved face of Cadillac design that will begin appearing on production models soon. This includes a new expression of Cadillac’s vertical lighting, a brand signature since 1948. Organic light emitting diode (OLED) lighting elements are thinner and set deep within the fascia, creating a sinister look, day and night.

The concept’s details invite closer inspection, including a three-dimensional precision pattern in the grille design and 22-inch wheels with two layers of spokes.

“This concept shares how Cadillac will bring forward a new experience that is uniquely American, and unmistakably Cadillac,” says Andrew Smith, executive director of Cadillac Global Design. “Escala is an expressive symbol of reward and an exhilarating driving experience. On the interior, we pushed further. It’s about precision and ingenuity in craftsmanship, and the artistic integration of technology.”

Escala features a “dual personality” interior crafted with distinctly different zones: The front is about intensely focused modern technology, while the rear delivers relaxation.

“My brief to the designers was to create a car you desperately want to drive, and also one in which you want to be driven,” Smith said. “So rather than a single design, this interior consists of two themes. It was an opportunity for our designers to break the rules a little bit, exactly what Cadillac should do from time to time.”

An array of three curved OLED screens is a prominent feature in the front of the cabin. The very thin, curved displays are layered in front of the driver, with the back sides wrapped in hand-stitched leather embossed with the Cadillac script. The array of screens consolidate the traditional “cluster” of driving gauges with the “center stack” into one integrated unit.

Escala includes new designs for connectivity and control, providing a prototype for the user experience in development for future production models. The system features a central control module that enables the driver to execute tactile commands across the spectrum of connectivity functions, in addition to voice and gesture control technology. Inside the controller sits a new edition of Cadillac’s “flying Goddess” icon, a nod to the brand’s illustrious heritage.

Like all Cadillac models today, the interior is assembled using hand cut-and-sewn techniques. However, Escala presents several new and unique touches, blending overt luxury with covert technology. Escala makes broad use of hand-tailored fabric on the door trim and seating areas. Inspired by suiting material used by Cadillac’s partners in the fashion industry, the fabric provides a new level of hand-applied craftsmanship and color, unique in today’s auto interior landscape.

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