I didn’t make it to Pebble Beach this year but it would have been good to see Cadillac’s Escala Concept in person. I’ve seen many of their recent concepts and they are always more impressive in person. When your movements shift shadows and morph reflections, details pop out that would otherwise be impossible to translate through still images.
I’ve got to say, however, that this particular Cadillac concept has restrained details and appears to have forgone styling drama in favor of a strong, no-nonsense presence. With that said, this looks far more production-ready than some of their more stunning efforts and we’re told some components foreshadow production projects in the works.
“Depending on the development of market segment for large luxury sedans, Escala is a potential addition to our existing product plan,” according to Johan de Nysschen, president of Global Cadillac. “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.”
Here’s a bit of what stood out to me after seeing the media release photos.
It looks like Cadillac will be moving to a horizontal headlight arrangement which is big change. Cadillac said that this design shows the brand’s new and evolved face that will begin appearing on production models. The front to me is a mixed bag, probably because I still like the current one and was waiting for Cadillac to bring it to maturity.
I see masterful proportioning of sizes, element placement and alignments at the front which act as an attractant to the eye. I find the grille to be attractive but not a work of art and the horizontal gap at the top is distracting, if not meant as a prominent new feature. The hood and front fenders look more finessed. I made the point that the running/driving lights look a tad Toyota-ish but really it is Audi that should be flattered by the concept’s overall aura.
The length of the concept, easily made evident in the profile shots, comes complements of the architecture found under the CT6. Escala’s wheelbase is roughly half a foot longer than the fullsize Brougham of the late 1980s, although the concept measures almost a foot shorter in length. In any event, the days of formal rooflines appear to be long behind us as the Escala goes with a fastback design and a liftback opening.
The rear, if this is indeed indicative of Cadillac’s design direction, will be the hardest pill for me to swallow. I don’t find it unattractive but inelegant and confusing. The three-legged taillight comes across as gimmicky, like the latest Civic’s, as opposed to a natural progression or signature that any of the competition would covet. I think the new appendage would have looked better extending from the bottom, and there would be historical precedence.
Andrew Smith, executive director of Cadillac Global Design said his brief to the designers was to “create a car you desperately want to drive, and also one in which you want to be driven.” That led to a new perspective. “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.”
One thing’s for sure, that 1980s era cargo liftover height would lead to soiled clothes and scuffed paint. Nostalgic nonetheless.
Okay, so those were my thoughts on Cadillac’s next epic concept and styling chapter. What are yours? Is it a good styling direction to continue the brand’s upward march? Were you expecting an SUV?