The 2016 Cadillac Escala Concept was revealed over the weekend at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The concept highlights Cadillac’s twofold approach in building its next generation of automobiles. The Escala Concept considers the different thoughts, feelings, and emotions of drivers and passengers, and wraps them into one machine.
Escala – Spanish for “scale” – takes particular attributes that would strike drivers and passengers alike: technology, performance, luxury, comfort, and balances them equally between each other, like a scale in harmony.
“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.”
The Escala is a larger, more luxurious version of the 2016 CT6, a Cadillac flagship in its own right. The Escala Concept employs the same RWD large luxury car architecture that first appeared on the CT6. A prototype 4.2-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine, in development for future Cadillacs, sits under the hood.
It builds from there as a sign of things to come.
“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.”
The Escala Concept features a new take on Cadillac’s vertical lighting, a brand signature since 1948. Organic light emitting diode (OLED) elements are thinner and deep within the fascia. The car is 210.5 inches overall – 6 inches longer than the current CT6 – and runs on 22-inch wheels with two layers of spokes.
According to Cadillac, the Escala Concept features a “new and evolved face” with regard to the automaker’s design. Elements in the Escala are expected to appear on Cadillac’s other production models soon, giving them a distinct look and feel.
“This concept shares how Cadillac will bring forward a new experience that is uniquely American, and unmistakably Cadillac,” said Andrew Smith, Executive Director of Cadillac Global Design.
Dual Balance, Single Center
With its very name in mind and with that desire to balance the scales, Escala provides an interior where each “zone” delivers a different experience. For the driver, modern technology is the focus; for the passengers, it centers on relaxation and comfort. According to Smith, this was done to keep the concept’s dual personality intact, risky as it might be.
“It was an opportunity for our designers to break the rules a little bit, exactly what Cadillac should do from time to time,” he said.
As connectivity options evolve across the automotive industry, the Escala finds itself ahead of the curve. The central control module gives drivers command over virtually everything through voice and gesture recognition technology. The idea was to go beyond the limits in terms of merging connectivity with the actual act of driving.
“Escala is an expressive symbol of reward and an exhilarating driving experience,” Smith said. “On the interior, we pushed further. It’s about precision and ingenuity in craftsmanship, and the artistic integration of technology.”
Hand Crafted Creation
Like all Cadillac models today, the interior is forged from hand cut-and-sewn techniques, although Escala goes a little further. Hand-tailored fabric on the door trim and seating areas, for example, is inspired by Cadillac’s partners in the fashion industry. Smith believes these extra elements further play up the best of both worlds personality of the Escala Concept.
“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,” he said.
Escala is the third in a series of concepts launched by Cadillac in recent years at Pebble Beach. The first two included the Ciel convertible (2011) and Elmiraj coupe (2013).