This Is Cadillac’s Design Future: the Escala Concept

The sleek-bodied sedan is meant to usurp the CT6 at the top of the Caddy kingdom.

bySean Evans|
Cadillac News photo


The CT6 currently enjoys its perch as Cadillac’s flagship sedan for good reason. Its sharp styling and potent powertrain options are more than enough to coax the nouveau riche away from buying the from the traditional German trinity. Particularly with a price point below $100,000 for the fully bedecked Platinum trim. While the domestic luxe purveyor slowly erodes market share from the Europeans, they’re not content to stay stagnant. If buyers responded favorably to the CT6, how would they feel about, say, scaling the luxury and power up a few notches?

Enter the Escala, which debuted tonight in California as part of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance festivities. Escala is literally Spanish for “scale,” and it represents the manufacturer’s desire to keep pushing design and technology boundaries. “It’s a little chilly here tonight,” Johan de Nysschen, president of Global Cadillac, said to the modest crowd. “Hopefully this car provides enough excitement and energy to compensate for the chill in the air.”

Indeed it did. Engineered to be a more elite and larger counterpart to the CT6, the Escala marks a transition of the new design language of Cadillac. “The CT6 is one of the first salvos in a product offensive we’re about to launch. The next five years will continue to relentlessly drive this brand to its place at the pinnacle of premium, starting with the Escala,” de Nysschen told us.

The RWD car is powered by a new 4.2-liter twin-turbo V8, which is helpful to get all that mass moving, since the Escala is roughly six inches longer than the CT6. The fierce front and rear fascias highlight Cadillac’s signature vertical lighting, a brand staple engrained as early as 1948, but really they make it look savage. Helping the bold styling cues along are the 22-inch wheels with dual layers of spokes. The car has 14 layers of clearcoat finish so it’ll appear to change colors as day transitions into night.

Inside, tech developments abound, most of which are currently slated for forthcoming production models. Three curved OLED screens cluster around the driver, and a new system that utilizes a central control input will allow the driver to enact controls via tactile means, voice commands or gestures.

“The minute I step off this stage, people are going to ask me, ‘When are you building it?’” de Nyssen said. “Let me proactively answer that. This car is not an announcement of production. It’s an announcement of the direction we are thinking about in terms of technology, automation and craftsmanship.” Yeah, but when are you going to build this?

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