Cadillac wants to boost its sales and it has this beauty lying around. Anyone want to do the math?
The backdrop of Monterey, California has served as a show floor for Cadillac’s concept cars for years, with the two of the more notable examples being the topless Ciel shown off in 2011 and the Elmiraj in 2013. Now, in part because Cadillac wants to follow up with something equally as impressive and in part to set a precedence for future cars, the Escala Concept has just had its wraps peeled off at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Before eyes saw sheet metal, the name provoked the biggest response.
“Escala” is only two letters away from “Escalade,” summoning fears that a crossover-ified Escalade was under the cover. Luckily, Cadillac intended the Spanish meaning of the word, “scale,” to be the defining aspect of the car. As a hypothetical big brother to the CT6, scale, climb, and ascend it does. In the role of a flagship model designed to hold a chauffeur up front and wealthy patron in the back, the Escala looks similar to the CT6 only prettier. To sharpen the face, the pudgy nose of a grille on the CT6 is gone and has been replaced by a wide confident grin in the shape of the Cadillac badge. The biggest contributors to that spiteful stare are the horizontal headlights, which remove the cutesy look of the CT6 and bring out a predator.
Adding to the effect is the fact that the organic light emitting diodes (OLED) are pushed into the cavity of the headlamps. On the way to the rear, Cadillac wisely added character lines on the hood and at the hips to give the eye more candy to sort through. Of course, such a presence can only wear the finest, so flashy 22” rims were in order. The presenters mentioned that Cadillac wanted to go back to its roots with this car, and it did so in a tasteful manner. True to the luxury barges of the brand in its younger days, the Escala is huge. It measures 210.5 inches in length, 6 longer than the CT6 and just 2.1 inches shy of a Rolls Royce Ghost. It’s also exactly as wide as a Ghost, but a lower roofline gives it more of a ready to go stance than the Rolls.
Interestingly enough, the rear doesn’t have a trunk. Instead, a liftback hatch is seen, kind of like the one on the Corvette except in the Escala, the floor of the trunk lifts up with the lift gate since reaching down for things is a plebeian pastime. As a passenger’s car the four-door Escala is designed with both front and rear passengers in mind, however the execution couldn’t be more different. While a Rolls Royce can put the entire cabin to sleep, the Escala design team placed a huge emphasis on the dual nature of the interior. Essentially, they wanted an owner to be desperate to hop behind the wheel and go for a spin, but they also wanted the rear seats to be a destination for ultimate relaxation.
As a result, there are small touches to allude to the focused front and cozy rear. Aluminum accents are present up front while in the rear, warm wood can be seen between leather cocoons in the back. The driver is helped by a new infotainment system (new CUE is reportedly better, but hopefully this is an improvement on that) and three OLED screens up front, a bit like on the dashboard of the Mercedes S-Class. More to see your speed with, a good thing considering what is sure to be an efficient but powerful 4.2-liter twin-turbo V8 lies up front and relays the commands of the driver’s right foot to the rear wheels. If the current CTS-V is telling of anything, it’s that Cadillac hates to skimp on the power.
Like the Escala itself, the engine is a prototype unit, and given that the concept will dictate the design of future Caddys for the next five years, we can expect it to make an appearance behind that unforgiving stare. Unfortunately, the Escala shares one common theme with its other Pebble Beach heartbreaking brothers: it will never see the production line. As luxurious as it is, we can imagine it higher ups vetoing any attempt to bring it to life based on its cost and what would be low volume sales. The silver lining of it all is that design elements from the Escala will make their way into the next generation of Cadillacs, so for now, wait around until the CT6 facelift is announced to see if you can get your version of the Escala-lite.