Yes, Cadillac’s new video ads are appallingly bad. Yes, a CT6 in slow-motion down a brick street in Manhattan is ridiculous. It looks like a high-fashion version of those anti-texting PSA’s, where the beautiful couple/friends/family’s lives are shattered by a huge crash. No overt carcrash in the Caddy ads. But they are a trainwreck.
But Cadillac does have a vision these days, even if little of the product lineup really matches that look into the future.
The Escala is the third “glamour” concept from the marque, after the Ciel and the Elmiraj from 2011 and 2013, respectively.
This machine is all about sumptuous, long-wheelbase limo luxury. Pricing for a production-ized variant would start from around $90,000 — but is not likely to happen at all. Even so, if this design showpiece points toward the next look of the unloved CTS when it becomes the CT5 around 2019, we say hoorah.
2016 Cadillac ESCALA Concept
CADILLAC UNVEILS ESCALA CONCEPT, PREVIEWING FUTURE DESIGN DIRECTION
- Concept showcases future design and technical systems in development
- Flagship Sedan is a concept for a more expressive, expansive companion to the recently launched CT6
- Dual-Theme interior includes Curved OLED displays, next-gen connectivity designs, ingenious details
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 Ciel 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.
The Escala Concept utilizes Cadillac’s new RWD-centric large luxury car architecture, featuring one of the world’s most advanced body structures, which debuted on the new CT6. The mixed-material construction enables unprecedented agility and efficiency.
Escala uses a new 4.2-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine, a prototype of a new system in development for future Cadillac models. The advanced engine utilizes Active Fuel Management technology, enabling fuel-saving 4-cylinder operation.
Cadillac Escala Concept Basic Specifications
|Body Style||4-door expressive flagship sedan, with lift-back rear opening|
|Height||57.3 in / 1455 mm|
|Width||76.7 in / 1948 mm|
|Length||210.5 in / 5347 mm|
|Wheelbase||127.1 in / 3228|
|Engine||4.2-liter Twin Turbo V8|
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.