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Cadillac Escala Concept: Meet the future

by Roy Choi | August 21, 2016August 21, 2016 9:00 am PST

Show Press Release

Monterey, Calif., August 18, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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 unveiled its Escala concept this week in Pebble Beach, California to showcase its new design and tech for future car models. While you may never see this car on the road, you will likely see a lot of its design cues and tech in future Cadillacs.

“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,” Johan de Nysschen, president of Global Cadillac, said. “Secondly, Escala builds Cadillac’s aspirational character, signaling the brand’s return to the pinnacle of premium.”

SPECIFICATIONS

Vehicle: Cadillac Ciel concept
Body style / driveline: Four-door, four-passenger convertible with longitudinally mounted front engine and all-wheel drive
Wheelbase (in / mm): 125 / 3175
Length (in / mm): 203.7 / 5174
Width (in / mm): 77.5 / 1968
Height (in / mm): 50 / 1270
Engine type: 3.6L V-6 with twin turbochargers; DOHC, continuously variable valve timing and direct injection
Horsepower
(hp / kW):
425 / 317
Torque (lb-ft / Nm): 430 / 583
Transmission: Hybrid with low-speed all-electric drive
Front suspension: Independent SLA with monotube shock absorbers and stabilizer bar
Rear suspension: Independent multilink with monotube shock absorbers and stabilizer bar
Brakes: Four-wheel disc with ABS; vented front rotors with six-piston calipers and solid rear rotors with four-piston calipers
Wheel size and type: 22 x 9-inch aluminum with brushed nickel accents
Tire size: 265/35R22

For the record “Escala” is Spanish for “scale” meaning the concept is meant for something larger, more elite. The Escala measures at 210.5 inches long with a wheelbase of 125 inches and sits on 22-inch rims. The concept is futuristic, but it also borrows from the past, like the car’s signature vertical lighting.

While the exterior is sleek and pretty, the interior is even more futuristic. But, don’t take my word for it, check out the gallery above.

More Cadillac concepts from the past: 

El Miraj

Ciel

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Roy Choi

Roy Choi is a Southern California native. He has been infatuated with technology reviews ever since he bought his first crummy laptop in the summer...

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