Cadillac’s new Escala concept reveals design evolution inside and out

What does the future of Cadillac look like? The Escala, the company’s new concept car, holds the answers. The Escala is on show publicly for the first time at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this weekend, and reveals a car that takes its name (Spanish for ‘scale’) to heart, as a larger sedan that previews the future lines of Cadillac’s body design, and the next stage of evolution for what it puts inside its cars, too.

The Escala is larger than the Cadillac CT6, its current production luxury sedan, with a four-dour design that measures 210.5 inches in length, which is about half a foot longer than the CT6, tip to tail. The generous proportions are definitely a bit of a retro edge to this future-focused vehicle, but the rest of the car is all cutting edge.

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It’s a showcase for tech that’s coming soon to Cadillac’s production line, including new headlights that use OLED elements to deliver an even slimmer variation of the company’s trademark vertical headlight look. Cadillac itself describes this as resulting in “a sinister look” –  and insofar as a car is capable of that, it does ring true.

Cadillac’s design here is aimed at delivering a great driving experience, and that’s the reasoning behind a new style of instrument panel that replaces the traditional dials and displays with a set of three curved OLED screens. These are some of the more interesting aspects of the car from a tech perspective, giving the driver a lot of real estate for car info, cabin controls, communications and entertainment displays.

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Cadillac’s concept images show the displays offering up info on an owner’s upcoming calendar entries, field phone calls, showing info about passengers and in-car data connections, and replicating traditional instrumentation. When asked about the flexibility of the system, Cadillac told me that the car can show any info traditionally shown by dashboard gauges or infotainment displays, and that they can be customized based on user preference.

Seat-integrated displays for passengers complete the infotainment picture for those who prefer to be driven. Under the hood, the car boasts a 4.2-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine that’s a prototype version of an engine system designed for use in future production cars.

Cadillac says it wanted to create a car that was both fun to drive, and equally great for being driven in – just for the record, I’m up for either.