Cadillac revealed its Escala concept in California ahead of this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance to show future design directives for the luxury brand. The car, which draws its name from the Spanish word for “scale,” is an imposing concept that could point to a model that sits above the CT6 in Cadillac’s lineup.
“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,” Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen said in a statement. “Secondly, Escala builds Cadillac’s aspirational character, signaling the brand’s return to the pinnacle of premium.”
A long, large car with serious presence, the Cadillac Escala is half a foot longer than the CT6 sedan, at 210.5 inches long. It’s built on the same mixed-materials, rear-wheel-drive platform as the CT6, and although it looks primarily like a traditional three-box sedan, there’s a liftback design for the cargo area, à la the Audi A7 and Porsche Panamera.
The rear essentially continues the straight-edged, vertical-taillight look of other recent Cadillac sedan trunks, albeit with the addition of a small horizontal element at the top. The front of the Escala concept, meanwhile, advances the brand’s design aesthetic considerably. There are still vertical running lights, a Cadillac signature, but ultra-skinny OLED (organic light-emitting diode) headlights are now recessed deep into narrow slits at either side of the grille. The grille itself is an enormous trapezoid, while the hood has several bold strakes leading toward the windshield.
In profile, the Cadillac Escala’s length is broken up by two hockey stick-like chrome elements, one at the bottom of the rear windows and the other emerging from the 22-inch front wheels. Recessed door handles are evident only as small outlines in the door sheetmetal.
The inside of the car is supposed to combine both a driver-focused cabin and a chauffeur-ready back seat. Up front, that means a very minimalist dashboard dominate by three curved OLED displays that serve as the instruments and infotainment display. The steering wheel is similarly minimalist, with a very small-diameter hub. The center console features various control knobs, which are said to provide “tactile” controls to supplement touchscreen and voice commands. Throughout the cabin, hand-cut and hand-stitched leather adorns most surfaces; Cadillac claims that it even drew know-how from fashion companies to further decorate the car’s interior. Tablet-like screens slide out from the seatbacks to entertain the two rear passengers.
“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,” Andrew Smith, executive director of Cadillac Global Design, said in a statement. “So rather than a single design, this interior consists of two themes.”
Under the hood is a 4.2-liter biturbo V8 engine of undisclosed power; Cadillac says the engine, which has cylinder deactivation, is a prototype for “a new system in development for future Cadillac models.”
With so many details offered about its platform and its powertrain, and the fact that rumors have persisted for years about a range-topping CT8, it wouldn’t be impossible to imagine a car like the Escala reaching production. Cadillac even seems to be underlining that point, emphasizing that the concept car demonstrates the direction in which its styling and technologies will progress in coming years.
“Depending on the development of market segment for large luxury sedans, Escala is a potential addition to our existing product plan,” de Nysschen said in a statement.
Live Photos: Nathan Leach-Proffer / Motor1.com
Gallery: Cadillac Escala concept
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.