Concept coupe previews Cadillac design evolution

Cadillac Elmiraj Concept Coupe revealed at exclusive Pebble Beach soiree

Published: August 16, 2013, 12:00 PM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 3:04 PM

General Motors CEO, Dan Akerson is on record as saying that Cadillac will launch a car bigger than its current XTS sedan within the next two years – a car ostensibly to compete with the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Last night, at an exclusive soiree associated with the week-long automotive extravaganza surrounding the annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, GM revealed a new concept car that could be a harbinger of what that new flagship will look like – even though the concept is a coupe, not a sedan.

That expectation is supported by GM's assertion that the Elmiraj Concept, as it is called, explores "new dimensions for Cadillac’s ongoing expansion," and that it "showcases a new vision for luxury driving and the top of the brand’s expanding range".

Taking its name from California's El Mirage dry lake, which was once a venue for the hot rod fraternity to explore the limits of speed, the Elmiraj is said to be a modern update on the classic format of a two-door grand coupe, expressing streamlined design and rear-wheel drive performance.

"It explores performance driving, as well as how we’re approaching elevating the Cadillac range and new dimensions of Art & Science philosophy," said Cadillac design director, Mark Adams.

At 5207mm in overall length, the big four-seat coupe is indeed longer than the XTS, but GM says it based on an architecture that demonstrates a commitment to light-weight design. Its chassis and structural elements are those of an ongoing Cadillac vehicle development project slated for future production, GM adds.

Power for the Elmiraj comes from a twin-turbocharged 4.5-litre V-8 engine delivering an estimated 500 horsepower. It is said to incorporate the baseline technology of the new Twin Turbo V-6 featured in the upcoming 420-horsepower 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport edition.

According to Clay Dean, GM's executive director of advanced design, the Elmiraj's . design is "an expression of the confidence and poise you feel driving a high-performance car, which we feel is an essential element of top-level luxury."

Its dramatic long-hood, short-deck proportion is said to communicate power and performance, while its long wheelbase and clean body side characterize its spacious dimensions and elevated status.

"Elmiraj is about poise and proportion," said Niki Smart, lead exterior designer. "We wanted a mature statement for Cadillac, where simplicity and subtle adornments create a purposeful presence."

Cadillac’s vertical light signature is continued in both head- and tail-lamps but he face of the Elmiraj experiments with new visual elements, including a new variation on the brand's traditional crest logo. Still, it remains unmistakably a Cadillac.

Inside, the Elmiraj is a blend of unmistakeable luxury, generous space and driver-focused performance elements. The upper section of the instrument panel is a single piece extending across the full width of the car, while the lower forms a cockpit space tailored for performance.

The car’s instrumentation features a transparent analog tachometer and speedometer, directly behind which sits a wide screen, high resolution display which projects driver information and the output of a front-mounted camera.

A 10-inch touchscreen for navigation and connectivity can be concealed inside the instrument panel when not in use.

Designers at General Motors’ advanced design studio in North Hollywood, Calif., under the direction of Frank Saucedo, led the development of the car’s interior and exterior. Elmiraj was hand-built by in-house craftsmen in Michigan.