Since 2011, Cadillac has been revealing jaw-dropping concepts at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The Ciel and Elmiraj were concepts for some time decades down the road and have done little to signal the design direction of the luxury automaker. At this year’s Concours, Cadillac has brought another concept—the Escala—to show—but this could be much more than just fantasy.
The Escala, which is based on the same Omega platform the CT6 rides on, would be the automaker’s flagship if it ever rolled into production. The wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer while overall length is up 6.5 inches. The front track is 2.7 inches wider while the rear track bumps up 2.4 inches. Under the Escala’s hood is a twin-turbocharged 4.2-liter V-8. The CT6 currently boasts a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 making 404 horsepower, however, the V-8 is coming to the car and is expected to make somewhere around 500 hp.
If the Escala is a hint at future Cadillac vehicles to come, then it is best to take note of the new design touches. While the rear of the Escala still resembles today’s Cadillacs—albeit much more handsome—the front sees a departure from current design conventions. Gone are the vertical headlights that have been so featured in the automaker’s Art and Science design language. The headlights are not a complete departure. While they are horizontal, the daytime running lights keep the vertical appearance. That new front end will begin appearing on production models soon—late 2018, according to Cadillac.
“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.”
Inside, the Cadillac Escala concept is nothing but luxury and well-appointed materials. Even the futuristic dashboard and instrument cluster look closer to production than wishful thinking. The A-pillars are super thin with the B-pillars gone entirely. We doubt these features would see production considering the stringent safety standards cars must meet today. There is also a panoramic sunroof and rear-seat retractable screens for passengers. Did we mention this is a hatchback? We doubt that will make production—at least in its current concept form.
The market right now for large luxury sedans is hot. Cadillac could certainly use a new, true flagship. However, the automaker is playing it smart by watching the segment carefully. The last thing Caddy wants to do is drop a massive luxury flagship into a consumer market that has moved on to other segments—like crossovers.