Finally a concept car that Cadillac will put into production

The annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has been giving us outstanding public debuts for quite a while now, and this year’s edition is no exception from that rule. The 2016 event has been packed with many great debuts, but very few are as spectacular as the Cadillac Escala concept. The American brand has made a tradition from bringing its most daring concepts at Pebble Beach. In 2011, Cadillac introduced the stunning Ciel convertible. In 2013, the Elmiraj followed, showing the world that Cadillac can still design large coupes that can stand out from a crowd. Come 2016 and GM’s luxury division introduced the Escala sedan at the same car show.

Described as a vehicle that previews "the design and technical ideas driving the next phase of Cadillac’s ongoing expansion," the Escala is a four-door sedan that’s slightly longer than the current CT6. It also previews Caddy’s upcoming flagship vehicle, which should arrive in production form by the end of the decade.

“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.”

Updated 08/22/2016: We added a series of images taken during the car’s official presentation at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Check them out in the picture gallery.

Continue reading to learn more about the Cadillac Escala Concept.

Exterior

2016 Cadillac Escala High Resolution Exterior
- image 685455
2016 Cadillac Escala High Resolution Exterior
- image 685458
2016 Cadillac Escala High Resolution Exterior
- image 685462

The first thing that catches the eye when looking at the Escala concept is the massive front grille. The reshaped trapezoidal opening is flanked by new headlamps that are thinner than anything previously seen on a Caddy. Down bellow there’s a no-nonsense bumper vent stretching from one corner to another, but the look is finished off by a reinterpretation of the vertical daytime running lights that debuted on the Cadillac CTS in 2013. The company describes the new arrangement as the "evolved face of Cadillac design that will begin appearing on production models soon."

The first thing that catches the eye when looking at the Escala concept is the massive front grille.

The engine hood is also unique to this concept, featuring a more organic design that’s also mirrored by the side panels and side skirts. The standard side mirrors have been replaced by thin element, while the side windows are devoid of B- and C-pillars.

Around back, the Escala also showcases new taillights. As thin as the headlamps and featuring the same OLED technology, the taillights are somewhat similar to the CT6’s, but extend deeper into the rear fenders and toward the tailgate. And yes, that is no type, this Caddy has a big hatch instead of a traditional trunk lid. Other than that, the fascia has an overall simple design with a trapezoidal recess that mimics the shape of the front grille.

The exterior is rounded off by 22-inch wheels with two layers of spokes, finished in chrome and gloss-black, respectively.

As far as dimensions go, the Escala is 210.5 inches long, about six inches longer than the CT6. The sedan also seems a bit wider, but Cadillac has yet to release specific figures.

Exterior Dimensions

Height 57.3 Inches (1,455 MM)
Width 76.7 Inches (1,948 MM)
Length 210.5 Inches (5,347 MM )
Wheelbase 127.1 Inches (3,228 MM)

Interior

2016 Cadillac Escala High Resolution Interior
- image 685476
2016 Cadillac Escala High Resolution Interior
- image 685480
2016 Cadillac Escala High Resolution Interior
- image 685477

Inside, the Escala concept sports a simple, yet elegant layout. The two-tier dashboard has a wooden deck just below the upper section that contains three curved OLED screens on the driver’s side and a smooth surface that descends toward the door panel on the passenger side. The main screen behind the steering wheel displays information such as speed, rpm, and mileage, as well as navigation data. The one on the left appears to handle some of the infotainment system, displaying the driver’s schedule and providing access to various functions. On the right, it shows the number of passengers in the car and the number of devices connected to the vehicle.

The interior is assembled using hand cut-and-sewn techniques.

The steering wheel is wrapped in white leather and features three aluminum spokes with chrome inserts. Only four buttons are incorporated for a clean, modern look, but appears to have touch-sensitive controls for each thumb.

Although it doesn’t give out specific details, Cadillac talks about "new designs for connectivity and control, providing a prototype for the user experience in development for future production models." The system reportedly features a central control module that enables the driver "to execute tactile commands across the spectrum of connectivity functions," but also includes the more familiar voice and gesture control technology.

Just like in the CT6, the interior is assembled using hand cut-and-sewn techniques. However, the concept showcases features not available on current production models, such as hand-tailored fabric on the door trim and seating areas.

Drivetrain

2016 Cadillac Escala High Resolution Exterior
- image 685466

The Escala concept utilizes Cadillac’s new rear-wheel drive car architecture for large sedans. The platform debuted on the CT6 in 2015 as the company’s most advanced body structure, claiming to offer "unprecedented agility and efficiency." Power comes from a twin-turbo, 4.2-liter V-8 engine, which Cadillac describes as a new powertrain "in development for future Cadillac models." The engine features Active Fuel Management technology, enabling fuel-saving four-cylinder operation, which can only mean that it’s the same V-8 that will be offered in the CT6 next year. It’s safe to assume that the production model based on the Escala concept will be built around the same architecture and engine.

Conclusion

2016 Cadillac Escala High Resolution Exterior
- image 685463

Although it’s not as wild as some of the concept cars unveiled at Pebble Beach (think the Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6), the Escala is definitely modern by all standards and it’s the type of vehicle Cadillac should be building in order to become a solid player on the luxury market once again. Fortunately, the Escala is indeed scheduled to become a production car, and judging by its not-so-futuristic design inside and out, chances are we’ll see it on public roads with minor changes. It’s definitely to early to draw a conclusion here, but this is excellent news given that Cadillac’s previous concepts, the Ciel and Elmiraj, never made it on the production line.

  • Leave it
    • * Final production design might not be as spectacular
    • * Not exactly revolutionary compared to other concept cars

Press Release

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.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: