October 7, 2016

Cadillac Escala Scales Up Luxury Car Interiors

With Cadillac’s global headquarters up and running—and getting the cover treatment in our September New York issue—America’s coolest car company has debuted its latest concept car. The Escala (that’s Spanish for scale) is a sleek 4-door sedan with a sweeping 210.5 inch length and deep-set vertical OLED headlights for what Cadillac global design director Andrew Smith describes as a “sinister look.”

Escala’s most striking departure, however, is its hand cut-and-sewn gray-flannel interior. The material lends a dashing Don Draper vibe to the dashboard, steering wheel, side panels, and seat backs—not to mention a trunk that comes with custom luggage. It’s complemented by American walnut that’s engineered in precise strips to achieve an inlaid, parquetlike effect.

The slim-cut suit aura is accentuated by the latest in automotive technology, including an array of three thin, curved OLED display screens layered in front of the driver, with the backsides wrapped in hand-stitched leather. A central-control system features a module that enables the driver to execute tactile commands in addition to voice and gesture control technology. Inside the controller sits a new version of Cadillac’s “Flying Goddess” icon, not seen since the 1950’s. “The instrument panel is one of my favorite areas,” Smith adds. “Its purpose is both decorative and as a platform for presenting and celebrating the technology.”

There’s also a tablet resting between the backseats to control the digital screens in the rear. “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,” Smith concludes. “It was an opportunity for them to break the rules a little bit, exactly what Cadillac should do from time to time.”

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