The surprise reveal of a new Cadillac luxury coupe concept took Pebble Beach by surprise today. The 2013 Elmiraj Concept evolves the styling themes seen on the similarly-sized Ciel convertible concept - but also forms a core styling template for the next-gen XTS as well as the 2015 Escalade.
Cadillac has big dreams, and the concepts that come out of those dreams are some of the most stunning and influential - despite few actually making it past the auto show floors. 2003’s Cadillac Sixteen super-limo was even featured in Architectural Digest, while the Imaj and Evoke were the supercar springboard concepts leading to Cadillac’s resurgent Art & Science design philosophy.
Big dreams and big cars - the Cadillac Elmiraj Concept recalls a pivot point in Cadillac ’s history in the 1970s: the launch of the Eldorado personal luxury coupe. A more bizarre source of inspiration is hard to imagine, but Cadillac ’s crystal ball does not show the Elmiraj Pebble Beach concept making it for sale.
Instead of a lightly disguised future model preview (like the CTS show car), the Elmiraj is a mostly a launch platform for new styling ideas, including a new emblem design.
Cadillac is smart to bring this two-door to Pebble Beach. It follows the core rules of collector classics: only one made, only two doors, a giant engine and sumptuous detail work inside and out. In 2113, this Caddy has the right stuff to even take Best in Show.
How about in present day? Would the Elmiraj fare well versus the upcoming Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe ?
Updated8/29/2013: Jay Leno got a personal look at the Elmiraj concept, You can see the video after the jump.
Click past the jump for the full styling analysis of the 2013 Cadillac Elmiraj Concept, with details on the new twin-turbocharged V-8 that brings 500 horsepower to the party.
2013 Cadillac Elmiraj Concept - Exterior Design Analysis
Overall, the Elmiraj is a stunning piece of design, with giant length and width dimensions paired to an intimate and ultra-posh four-seat cabin layout.
The circular wreath is not present in the Elmiraj’s mesh grille - which shows the new Cadillac emblem to be more horizontally oriented with a defined shield shape. Speaking of emblems and badges, the Elmiraj’s working code name was the V Coupe. A large V badge appears on the top right side of the trunk lid, showing that the black mesh grille will stay as a sports-variant exclusive. This indicates that the latest body-color and black-chrome grilles from the ATS and others will continue for the near future.
This grille shape looks quite bizarre with the traditional egg-crate cutouts from the Ciel concept, as it has a very flowing lower edge and almost a Joker-like grin. The flowing grille is now a core part of a chrome sweep that extends up the hood, and also brings an even-wider grille width than any other vehicle thanks to the razor-thin vertical LED headlights.
Giant wheels and a clamshell hood opening appear on the Elmiraj concept, which also has clever fender flares that are almost invisible from the side of the car. The Elmiraj’s sunken cockpit area allows the rear fenders in particular to be well-defined and extremely luxurious-looking. This is a much cleaner and nimbler look than the slab-like fenders of the current CTS Coupe (from some angles).
The overall profile and height of the Elmiraj is extremely low, which helps the whole vehicle seem a little but like a Monaco low-rider - if such a thing existed
Out back, things are also very clean and fresh, with far less creasing and slashes than is currently popular in the Cadillac design office. The flat panels for the trunk lid and bumpers are blended exceptionally well with the flowing rear glass and rising lower belt line. It looks fast and sporty in a way that few 205-inch long coupes do. (We’re looking at you, Mercedes-Benz CL and Bentley Continental GT).
Twin blade taillights are separated by a chrome accent, which is newly paired with the Elmiraj’s vertical, flush-mounted exhaust outlets in the far edge of the corners. The Cadillac feels potent and aggressive from the back, which is a nice change versus the XTS in particular - which seems pretty nervous about its LED brake lights and awkward roof line.
Jay Leno has an Up-Close Look at the Elmiraj
2013 Cadillac Elmiraj Concept - Exterior Dimensions
|Height||55 in / 1397 mm|
|Width||76 in / 1930 mm|
|Length||205 in / 5207 mm|
|Curb Weight||Approx. 4000 lb / 1814 kg|
2013 Cadillac Elmiraj Concept - Interior Design Analysis
The interior of the Elmiraj is pure fantasy concept, with four gorgeous saddle-leather chairs and even a wood-panel roof headliner. Luxurious caramel coloring appears throughout the Elmiraj - and this color and materials really pop in the California sunshine. The materials and overlapping panels of the dash are strong future cues, but leave little room for a production-ized version of this design.
The concept is a driver - which is nice for proving the car’s dynamic beauty as well as the interior layout like the driving position and visibility. Seat ed low and far to the rear of that runway-long hood, the driver of the Elmiraj in the press video is grinning almost as wide as the new Cadillac grille design as he pilots the Elmiraj through some twisty mountain roads.
Many fewer production Cadillac ideas are present inside the Elmiraj, which is a shame because their interior’s are really the biggest weak point in the handsome and sporty new designs of the ATS and CTS .
The interior of the Elmiraj concept also innovates with a pillar-less door design and frameless windows, allowing the posh open-air experience that Mercedes -Benz coupe drivers have adored for the last 40 years. This feature is not likely any time soon on a production car from GM, because it takes a super-stiff body structure to pass crash tests without a B-pillar.
2013 Cadillac Elmiraj Concept - Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
The Elmiraj gets a bit more realistic under the hood versus in the cabin. Powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.5-liter V-8 engine, the Elmiraj puts out 500 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. Low-rev peaks and an automatic transmission ensure effortless sports car pace in this luxury coupe.
This engine is actually well on the way to production, where it will join the new 440 horsepower twin-turbo V-6 that is the top non-V-series 2014 CTS . Based on the 4000-pound quoted curb weight of the Elmiraj, and its unknown but likely 8-speed automatic: performance projections are 4.8 seconds to 60 mph and a top speed of 168 mph.
2013 Cadillac Elmiraj Concept - Mechanical Details:
|Engine||4.5-liter Twin-Turbo V-8|
|Power||500 hp / 373 kW|
|Torque||500 lb-ft / 678 Nm|
Competition - 2013 Cadillac Elmiraj Concept
The Elmiraj would compete with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe, with is the new name for the company’s CL-Class coupes. Other competition would be from the Maserati GranTurismo and BMW 6 Series.
The forthcoming S-Class Coupe hopes to shake off the staid image and extremely poor sales of their large coupe. The $100,000 luxury coupe segment is always a hard sell versus the sports coupe segment, but the new S-Class Coupe aims to bring style and technology that belittles even the latest Bentley Continental GT.
Two levels of AMG performance models are in the cards: an AWD S63 AMG Coupe and a rear-drive S65 AMG Coupe - both packing sprint times quick enough to spill your latte into the back seat.
Note: these pics are the new S-Class sedan, as the Coupe has not yet been revealed.
Gallery Cadillac Elmiraj Concept
Conclusion - 2013 Cadillac Elmiraj Concept
As good as Art & Science has been to Cadillac, the fresh styling ideas from the Elmiraj are a good indication of Cadillac’s future potential as it will enter more market segments in the mid-term future, including the compact crossover realm and a soft-roader, seven-seat SRX of some kind.
The latest rumors from Cadillac suggest that the future ‘Fleetwood’ S-Class-fighter may be on ice. Sadly, this is probably a smart decision. After all, Cadillac already has a giant flagship in its successful Escalade series - which can push $90,000 when loaded to the brim with options. The prospects for Cadillac actually selling more than a few dozen $100,000 sedans is simply quite unrealistic.
Perhaps it makes more sense as a flagship four-seater coupe and ragtop? Cadillac seems to think so.
Look for the Elmiraj’s nose to make it to the next-gen Escalade intact, with that grille shape and dark mesh finish a possible option on a future high-performance Escalade V-series. The 2015 Escalade is tipped to be the first of the next-gen GM SUV’s to launch, with a debut at the Detroit auto show in early 2014 expected.
As for this personal luxury coupe, the Cadillac design team is impressively coherent in its recreation of the Eldorado. The simple surfaces almost feel like they could be sketched on a napkin by an amateur - which is a hallmark of truly exceptional automotive design. As the Elmiraj cruises into the show car sunset, its luxury themes will populate the next decade of Cadillac models as the brand gets serious about making truly premium vehicles at the Mercedes-Benz level of quality - and prices.
- A one-off luxury coupe matches the Pebble Beach Concours’ priorities for classics
- New ideas like simple surfaces and elegantly flared fenders look great
- Blade of LED headlights coming to Escalade looking exactly like these
- New nose is styish with mostly painted bumper faces and a slim lower air intake...
- But looks a little clown-ish with rounded lower grille frame
- New Cadillac emblem design is not very impressive or expensive-looking
Gallery Cadillac Elmiraj Concept
Elmiraj Concept Explores Top of Cadillac’s Range
2013-08-15 CARMEL, Calif. – Cadillac today revealed the Elmiraj Concept, a grand coupe expressing the pure enjoyment of driving and exploring new dimensions for Cadillac’s ongoing expansion. The Elmiraj Concept showcases a new vision for luxury driving and the top of the brand’s expanding range.
“Cadillac is fueled by the creativity of our designers, led by Ed Welburn,” said Bob Ferguson, senior vice president, Global Cadillac. “Elmiraj provides a look inside the Cadillac Studio on how we envision performance and luxury for the next generation of luxury drivers.”
A modern update to the classic format of a two-door grand coupe, Elmiraj is a pure expression of streamlined design and engaging rear-wheel drive performance.
At 205 inches (5207mm) in overall length, Elmiraj is four-seat coupe with presence and poise. Taking up from where the memorable Ciel Concept left off, Elmiraj is a statement of pure luxury and performance with a purposeful character and proportion.
The concept advances Cadillac’s philosophy of dramatic design and performance, and its commitment to lightweight, agile cars. Elmiraj is constructed with chassis and structural elements of an ongoing Cadillac vehicle development project slated for future production. This new vehicle architecture expands the brand’s commitment to lightweight RWD performance, exemplified in the ATS sport sedan and the all-new and elevated 2014 CTS launching this fall in the U.S.
“Elmiraj advances Cadillac’s provocative modern design and performance, contrasted with bespoke craftsmanship and luxury,” said Mark Adams, Cadillac design director. “It explores performance driving, as well as how we’re approaching elevating the Cadillac range and new dimensions of Art & Science philosophy.”
Elmiraj is powered by a 4.5-liter twin turbocharged V8 delivering an estimated 500 hp. The engine takes the baseline technology from the new Cadillac Twin Turbo V6 featured in the upcoming 420-hp 2014 CTS Vsport edition, and expands it to the classic performance format of a V8 engine.
Dramatic Exterior Proportion
With a heritage of imaginative designs, Cadillac approaches concept cars as a method for projecting design forward rather than simply exaggerating or “teasing” future production models. Elmiraj was created from this mindset, and therefore suggests new territory for Cadillac Art & Science.
“This concept is the second chapter, following the Ciel Concept, of our exploration of the personas of true luxury,” said Clay Dean, executive director of advanced design. “This project originated around the simple persona of “the drive,” or the visceral experience of driving a great luxury coupe. It’s an expression of the confidence and poise you feel driving a high-performance car, which we feel is an essential element of top-level luxury.”
The dramatic proportion communicates power and performance. A long dash-to-axle front profile, a Cadillac signature, gives the coupe a performance-oriented form. The long wheelbase and clean body side characterizes the car’s spacious dimensions and elevated status.
The fast cabin sits within a fuselage where taut fender lines spline through the full sectioned body, literally blending art and science. Cadillac’s vertical light signature is represented in both the headlamp graphic and tail lamp. A gently applied feature line in the sheet metal extends the full length of the body side, connecting those vertical front and rear elements.
“Elmiraj is about poise and proportion,” said Niki Smart, lead exterior designer. “We wanted a mature statement for Cadillac, where simplicity and subtle adornments create a purposeful presence.”
Elmiraj contains design elements emphasizing Cadillac’s capabilities for engaging driving performance in its production portfolio. Two vents in the car’s long hood are functional, acting as hot air outlets for the twin turbo engine. Elmiraj has 22-x-9-in. aluminum wheels are backed by large ceramic brakes with Cadillac monoblock calipers. The car’s rich blue exterior finish wears the brand’s Vsport designation, Cadillac’s new level slotting directly under the high-performance V-Series.
The face of Elmiraj experiments with new visual elements, yet is unmistakably Cadillac. The grille emphasizes the car’s substantial road presence. The Cadillac Crest appears in a conceptual form, streamlined and tailored to the car’s overall design. This design idea for a revised crest reflects the fact that Cadillac’s unmistakable symbol has evolved dozens of times through history to mark new eras or design achievements.
Exquisitely Crafted Interior
The interior of Elmiraj blends elegantly crafted luxury and generous space with driver-focused performance elements. The upper section of the instrument panel is a single piece extending across the full width of the car, while the lower forms a cockpit space tailored for performance.
“A concept provides not only an opportunity to explore new design ideas, but to pursue new techniques for elegant craftsmanship and materials,” said Gael Buzyn, lead interior designer.
Backlit titanium trim curves from the cowl to the doors, dividing the rich upper camel leather from the wood trim. Cadillac Studio craftsmen handpicked fallen Brazilian Rosewood, a wood veneer prized for its use for hundreds of years in home furnishings and musical instruments. The wood is hand-cut into three dimensional sections for perfect control of the grain flow.
The car’s instrumentation features an analog tachometer and speedometer that are transparent. Directly behind the analog gauges sits a wide screen, high resolution display which projects driver information and the output of a front-mounted camera. A 10-inch touchscreen for navigation and connectivity can be concealed inside the instrument panel when not in use.
The 2+2 layout features high-performance seats, designed to support spirited driving while also delivering luxury accommodation. Elmiraj passengers might actually lobby to sit in the back. The rear bucket seats each contain a valet feature to ease entry and exit. The front bucket seat slides 10 inches forward while the rear bucket seat slides 4 inches forward to meet the passenger, then slides him or her back into position once seated. The rear bucket seats recline for additional comfort.
Many of the most celebrated automotive designs through history have been luxury coupes
“We were influenced in particular by the 1967 Eldorado, both its actual design and the fact that in its time that car was a very stark contrast and a new direction. More recent design like the CTS-V Coupe and the ELR are provocative,” said Dean, the advanced design director. “Both of these cars were major statements of performance and luxury and drove Cadillac forward into new territory.”
Designers at General Motors’ advanced design studio in North Hollywood, Calif., under the direction of Frank Saucedo, led the development of the car’s interior and exterior. Elmiraj was hand-built by in-house craftsmen in Michigan.