By on August 19, 2016


For the third time in recent years, Cadillac has unveiled a stunning concept car to showcase the brand’s future design language, but forgive us for taking Cadillac’s hint at a production model with an Elmiraj-sized grain of salt.

The Escala, revealed last night at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, is a pillarless liftback sedan with styling that previews the automaker’s future products. Or so we hope.

Buckets of drool were shed over Cadillac’s past concepts — the yacht-like Ciel four-door convertible in 2011 and the elegant and athletic Elmiraj coupe in 2013 — but production vehicles they were not. The amount of design language that made the hop from those concepts to the CTS and CT6 is anyone’s guess. Not enough, many would say.

According to Global Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen, the design and technological concept could make it to production. Maybe, just maybe.

The Escala Concept introduces the next evolution of Cadillac des

“Escala is a concept car, but one based upon the unrelenting rise of our product substance,” he said in a statement. “Depending on the development of market segment for large luxury sedans, Escala is a potential addition to our existing product plan.”

The Escala’s interior reveals a bipolar personality — technology-minded in the front, comfort-focused in the back. A center control module combines the gauge cluster and center stack, while hand-tailored fabric throughout the cabin provides the opulence we all demand (but often never receive).

“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,” said Andrew Smith, executive director of Cadillac Global Design, in a statement. “So rather than a single design, this interior consists of two themes.”

Cadillac calls the Escala a “flagship sedan,” which doesn’t bode well for its future, given the planned CT8’s “on hold” status. Who knows, maybe the Escala previews a future replacement for the brand’s current range-topping CT6.

At six inches longer than a CT6, the Escala’s liftback would add a new measure of versatility to a premium sedan, but crossovers and SUVs will remain our vehicular overlords, now and in the future.

[Images: General Motors]

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71 Comments on “Cadillac Escala: Another Gorgeous Concept Doomed to Never Reach Production?...”

  • avatar

    The liftback would be the most surprising thing to make it into production.

    unrelenting rise of our product substance – I’d say “essence” instead, Amigo. Right now you’ve got a lot of sound and fury signifying very little.

    • 0 avatar

      Both pictures above show a sleek, modern, expensive, impressively powerful vehicle with comfortable seats, advanced electronics and the ability to transport numerous adults long distances… and a car.

  • avatar

    Handsome, yes. But it joins a long line of concepts that will never see production.

    I could see an attractive Crossover-coupe coming out of this. XT6 anyone?

    Cue the everything is awful at Cadillac comments…

    • 0 avatar

      “Four doors and one seven year itch ago, our GM father brought forth upon this continent a new concept, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all premium brands ought to be equal”

      • 0 avatar


        If DW hadn’t left of his own Accord (or whatever he drives), assuming he DIDN’T get banned, he would have been after reacting to this!

        This looks phoned-in! Give me a Sixteen, with a few curves thrown in, and a better-proportioned grille, CAFE be damned! (OK, if we must, a Sixteen with a shorter hood, and body proportional, with a supercharged LS-whatever with every go-fast bit in the GM stable!)

        And throw the interior out and put in something with glitz, and real buttons, that doesn’t resemble the inside of a ’70s safety car! Rolls-spec leather, Wilton wool carpet, offer bespoke interior appointments! Top of the line, something Sinatra would cherish! (No, an ’81 Imperial won’t cut it, either!)

        This should wipe the floor with the new Connie! Sadly, the Connie’ll take this thing’s lunch money every day!

        • 0 avatar

          Personally I miss DW. I always enjoyed his contributions. It’s a shame in this day and age that someone needs to be censured, banned or attacked for having strong opinions and maybe having “offended” someone……on the internet. What happened to “turn the other cheek” or “what-evah”.

          Oh, and I drive a DTS.

        • 0 avatar

          “If DW hadn’t left of his own Accord (or whatever he drives), assuming he DIDN’T get banned, he would have been after reacting to this!”

          (Good one)

          Somewhere in a Soho District basement, a Bourne-like DeadWeight is undergoing rendition by an Asian woman in a leather jumpsuit brandishing a whip, and a laughing, vaguely French fellow supplying the water.

  • avatar

    I would bet money that this is just a design concept; not to see production.

    And if it were, those headlights and mirrors would be larger and….most importantly, that grill emblem would have to be at least 10X larger than it is. It is WAAAYYYY to small for Cadillac.

  • avatar

    The most important thing about this concept is that it has a V8. A V8 Cadillac car not built for the race track. That makes me so happy I don’t care about the rest.

    Yes, it is a 4.2L twin-turbo instead of a naturally-aspirated 6.6L or something, but I take what I can get at this point.

  • avatar

    I still think the Ciel concept should have been built. A car like the Ciel forcibly intones, “I am of the 1%… What of it? We are unapologetic, we are Cadillac”.

    These concepts just say, “Hey we can design pretty cars too. We can do it too, just like the Germans. Look, we are cool too. Right?”

    Funny thing, I just googled “Cadillac Escala Concept” and google auto corrected it to: Showing results for “Cadillac Escalade Concept”. Telling.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Reminds me of a scaled-up Impala, which I really like.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, with the narrow headlights, it looks rather sinister, but maybe some buyers of the car want that look. The grill also seems disproportionate. I saw a Chrysler 200 in the neighborhood and I think it is better looking than the Cadillac above and would be a good Cadillac “candidate”.

  • avatar

    I want to agree and say that this will never see the light of day. But Betteridge’s Law of Headlines says that this will see production.

    You made it happen Steph!

  • avatar

    Cadillac’s biggest problem is that to Joe Everyman, they’re not a real luxury brand.

    Folks who want European cars will buy from a European marque. Funny data correlation, that. Add in Cadillacs past “Standard of The Invoice” reliability and most folks eliminate them immediately from the shopping list.

    Folks disagreed with my notion of “Bringing Back the Old Names”, but ultimately copying BMW isn’t going to work. Even if Cadillac makes bargain BMWs better then the original in some ways, it means they become a vehicular equivalent of the Counterfeit Watch Dude.

    The only long term way forward for the brand is to Be American. Quit emulating the foreigners in a vain attempt to woo their customer base, and forge a lasting niche as an American luxury provider . Deathstar engine aside ,the FWD STS wasn’t a bad car- even Jeremy Clarkson said as much .Neither was the Eldorado.

    The enthusiast dudebros will hate it , but even BMW knew better then to listen to them in the area of product planning.

    • 0 avatar

      Cadillac’s best bet at this point is to forsake the sedans and focus solely on expanding the Escalade lineup. Add a small Evoque-type Escalade for the same price as the Evoque to the roster and thrown in a sporty “Escalade Sport” similar to the Range Rover Sport, for good measure.

      • 0 avatar

        Your idea sounds like the right one. The XT5 will sell well, but it would be nice to have some of the Escalade’s brashness – and luxurious interior – in a smaller size. The Acadia and Terrain are perfectly nice platforms to start with. Put a torquey V-8 in to differentiate them from GMC/Chevy platform-mates, and watch them outsell the ATS and CTS.

    • 0 avatar

      Oh of course Cadillac is a luxury brand–Melody What’s-Her-Name told us they were more than a luxury car brand a few years ago. (Now she runs the luxury Cadillac coffee shop in NYC or at least hangs out there once in a while so she knows her luxury pretty darn well.) I think it was around the time they started putting 2.5 liter 4 cylinder engines that are now shared with a base Chevrolet Impala into Cadillac luxury (?) sedans.

  • avatar

    I dunno, I think this thing looks rather generic.

    • 0 avatar

      It could be a designer’s rendering that evolved into a Nissan Altima.

    • 0 avatar

      It has the 2010 MKS rear lights.
      However, I would like to dream of this car coming to market as a hatch about the size of a 3 series. If not, who wants yet another BIG sedan???

      Seems more like the anti 3 car than the ATS.

      • 0 avatar

        I thought the same about the MKS-looking rear, it really looks like a Lincoln concept from the rear 3/4 view. All it needs is the new corporate face of Lincoln up front.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Handsome machine. Base model priced around $35k, and you have a winner.

  • avatar

    I saw pictures of the interior design on other websites and I really like the seemingly mid-century furniture style design. The exterior design is handsome. Not sure about the tail light design though.

  • avatar

    Best looking Caddy in decades! Put a Corvette engine and auto tranny
    in it, make it handle, make it comfy, and I’d buy one if I had the

  • avatar

    looks like a cross between CTS and XTS. I’m not particularly impressed.

  • avatar

    This is a real question?

  • avatar

    “Go snake eyes, Jack… like this!”

  • avatar

    Well so much for unique Cadillac styling. I don’t think it looks bad, but it’s boring to me and really seems like a mashup of other brands’ styling cues.

    And with a name like escala, it really should have been an SUV, 6/8 the size of the escalade. I mean, that couldn’t be any worse of a naming strategy than anything else Johan has come up with.

  • avatar

    I’m sure Audi is flattered.

  • avatar

    I for one would love to see it built but just within one sentence…

    “Depending on the development of market segment for large luxury sedans, Escala is a potential addition to our existing product plan.”

    There are a whole lot of “Ifs, “Mights” and “Maybes”.

  • avatar

    Cadillac shows us their interpretation of an Audi A7 that will never reach production.

    Meanwhile back in dealer showrooms and at GM offices all over the world numerous people ponder why the current lineup of 4 cylinder $50,000 sedans with instrument clusters that would have looked cheap in a 1985 Pontiac Grand Am pile up unsold and sales keep declining month after month.

  • avatar

    Nice stretched Audi A7 with Jaguar XJ taillights.

  • avatar

    As I questioned on the Facebook feed… That’s a “Gorgeous Concept?” By no means does it come across as a Cadillac but rather as a 4-door ‘coupe’ version of a conventional sedan. It offers no suggestion of luxury but plays far more on the perception of speed over comfort. It’s like they’re trying to compete with Tesla and for all I know that’s exactly what they’re doing.

    • 0 avatar

      This IS a gorgeous concept, far better looking than any four door car currently being produced. Now, it’s true it doesn’t say Cadillac, at least not more than subtly, but so say Cadillac, you have to be big. The 16 concept did unmistakably say Cadillac.

  • avatar

    Looks nice, but very Euro. Euro makers already do Euro. It would be nice to see Cadillac focus on defining themselves as American luxury, and own it. For now, Chrysler does a better job at this with the 300C.

  • avatar

    “Depending on the development of market segment for large luxury sedans”

    Lawl. Because it’s 1972? This is vaporware.

  • avatar

    This would be an absolutely gorgeous Mazda 929 update.

  • avatar

    One of the problems I have with current Cadillac designs is that the headlights are to far apart. There is simply to much empty space from grill to the head lamps. This new design solves that problem by moving horizontal head lamps closer to the grill. Of course the headlights will be bigger in a production model.

  • avatar

    Like others, I see a lot of Audi’s A7 here, not surprising given de Nysschen’s history. I guess he’s GM’s Bunkie Knudsen for the 21st century.

  • avatar

    Bel-Air, Camaro and others in recent years…

    Funny that so many of these concepts just happen to be pillarless!

    For THE company that invented the pillarless coupe and sedan not to actually build one when Mercedes has that market all to itself is a design travesty.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    Looks like a Jaguar XJ. Borrowing heavily from the British has worked for:

    Ford Fusion
    Ford Explorer (and most of Ford’s lineup come to think of it)
    Chrysler 300
    70’s Lincoln Continental
    new Lincoln Continental

    Oh yeah, can’t forget about all the Hyundai and Kia luxury cars

  • avatar

    The B-pillarless look is cool as is the exposed lower front door hinge. The rest is too today meaning there is not enough design reach. Plus, with all of the engineering prowess and material advancements why is there a huge support bar going across the rear seat leg area? I think it could have been better integrated or designed in such a way to not impede rear passenger comfort space.
    If this is the best Cadillac can muster? Lets hope not for the sake of the brand.

    • 0 avatar

      They didn’t want to spend much time naming their concept, so they just lopped the last two letters off the Escalade.

      At least it has a name, and not three letters that may or may not actually mean anything.

  • avatar

    Looks cool…and we’re clearly channeling Tesla now.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The front end and hood look nice, maybe a different grille and headlight setup would improve the vehicle.

    The rear, well, it’s just all wrong for a four door sedan. It needs a boot (trunk). A trunk would help in the looks department as well.

    The rims look great.

    A two door version of this on a slightly shorter wheel base with a Chev front end should of been the new Camaro.

  • avatar

    To me it looks kinda like the Buick Avista Concept, but as a four door (grill shape, body lines, etc.

  • avatar

    I really like the look of it, but if it manages to make it into production, here is what I expect to see:

    Ridiculous MSRP ($80-90k+)
    Base model with a crappy 4-cyl engine
    Rear legroom for double amputees only
    Hard suspension
    No rear visibility
    Crappy gauges from base ATS

  • avatar

    Way out of my price range for sure.
    I’m quite happy with my 2000 Eldorado ETC and my 1983 Eldorado Biarritz.
    Ditch the three character names, get some tailfins (really!) out of those long red rear lights and be different.
    And then lease it for $429 per month.

  • avatar

    This looks a lot like the 2017 Buick LaCrosse. I sort of thought that, with the addition of the CT6, Cadillac would discontinue the XTS, but this could be the new one.

  • avatar

    Any one else spot that XF ass on the Caddy.

  • avatar

    Looks like a Jaguar from the back. Are those squinted headlights actually supposed to illuminate the road at night?

  • avatar

    If they can come up with names for their concepts, why can’t they give names to their production cars?

  • avatar

    There is almost nothing “cadillac-ish” in this concept car ..

    These ignorant hipsters are “watering down” Art^Science idea which could be great modern Cadillac design language ..

    Look at these 2 .. > ..×960.jpg

    .. they are actually “real” production cars and from a decade ago .. and they look much more interesting .. than this new “shmancy-fancy” concept car .. !?! ..

  • avatar

    No likey. Well, somewhat. Vertical headlights aren’t simply one of the most unique design cues in modern automotive design, they’re good looking to boot.

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