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.