Cadillac has just unveiled the Emiraj Concept ahead of the official launch of the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
We’ll let Cadillac itself explain that the Elmiraj is “a grand coupe expressing the pure enjoyment of driving and exploring new dimensions for Cadillac’s ongoing expansion.” In addition, the Elmiraj Concept “showcases a new vision for luxury driving and the top of the brand’s expanding range.” And according to senior vice president, Global Cadillac, Bob Ferguson, the “Elmiraj provides a look inside the Cadillac Studio on how we envision performance and luxury for the next generation of luxury drivers.”
For a brand that’s “fueled by the creativity of [its] designers”, the Elmiraj is The Wreath and Crest’s take on on the classic format of a two-door grand coupe, while being a “pure expression of streamlined design and engaging rear-wheel drive performance”, according to Cadillac.
The two-door, four-seat grand coupe is a whopping 205 inches (5207 mm) long, and carries presence and poise throughout, blending “pure luxury and performance with a purposeful character and proportion”. The concept car progresses Cadillac’s design philosophy of dramatic design and performance, as well as its commitment to lightweight, agile cars.
The Elmiraj follows Cadillac’s first exploration of full-size luxury — the Ciel concept.
“This concept is the second chapter, following the Ciel Concept, of our exploration of the personas of true luxury,” said Clay Dean, executive director of advanced design. “This project originated around the simple persona of “the drive,” or the visceral experience of driving a great luxury coupe. It’s 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.”
To that extent, Cadillac has made the following very clear: while some automakers use concept cars to exaggerate or “test” future production models, Cadillac approaches concepts as “a method for projecting design forward”. Given that Elmiraj was designed with this mind set, the concept suggests new territory for Cadillac Art & Science.
“Elmiraj advances Cadillac’s provocative modern design and performance, contrasted with bespoke craftsmanship and luxury,” said Cadillac design director Mark Adams. “It explores performance driving, as well as how we’re approaching elevating the Cadillac range and new dimensions of Art & Science philosophy.”
It all starts with a new-for-Cadillac front fascia design. Although it’s new, it is unmistakably Cadillac. The grille, for instance, focuses attention on the car’s significant road presence. Adorning the new grille is the Cadillac Crest in “conceptual form”. Having been revised dozens of time through Cadillac’s long history, the Crest has been “streamlined and tailored to the car’s overall design”.
Perhaps even more important are the dramatic proportions that convey power and performance. Cadillac’s signature long dash-to-axle front profile gives the Elmiraj concept a distinct, performance-oriented shape, while the long wheelbase and clean side body lines depict the car’s spacious dimensions and status.
The cabin is positioned within a fuselage with tight fender lines, which spline through the body. In that regard, the vehicle literally blends art and science — referring to Cadillac’s design philosophy by the same name. Vertical light elements, which have now become the brand’s signature lighting elements, are seen in bot the headlamps and tail lamps. Connecting the vertical front and rear elements is a “gently applied feature line in the sheet metal” that runs the full length of the body side.
“Elmiraj is about poise and proportion,” said lead exterior designer Niki Smart. “We wanted a mature statement for Cadillac, where simplicity and subtle adornments create a purposeful presence.”
The design of the Elmiraj concept also encompasses elements suggesting the engaging driving performance characteristics: two functional vents positioned on the car’s long hood release the hot air from the twin turbo V8. The concept rides on 22×9 aluminum wheels with large ceramic brakes complemented by Cadillac monoblock calipers. The concept also noticeably wears Vsport badges on its rich blue exterior, designating the brand’s new level of performance that slots directly under the range-topping V-Series.
The cabin of the Elmiraj concept features the traditional 2+2 layout with high-performance seats that are designed to support spirited driving while providing a high dose of luxurious accommodation. And while the rear seats of most coupes are the economy class travel to the first class comfort of the front seats, some might actually look forward to sitting in the back seat of the Elmiraj. That’s because rear bucket seats incorporate a valet feature for ease of entry and exit. Here’s how it works: the front bucket seat slides 10 inches forward while the rear bucket seat slides 4 inches forward to meet the passenger for ingress or egress. The rear seat then slides back into position once the passenger is seated. The rear bucket seats recline for additional comfort.
Furthermore, the Elmiraj combines elements of luxury, space, and driver-focused components. The upper section of the instrument panel, for instance, is a single piece that stretches across the full width of the vehicle, while the lower “forms a cockpit space tailored for performance.”
Returning to the notion that the Elmiraj concept isn’t a concept for the sake of being a concept, lead interior designer Gael Buzyn says that “A concept provides not only an opportunity to explore new design ideas, but to pursue new techniques for elegant craftsmanship and materials.”
Backlit titanium trim curls from the cowl to the doors, splitting the upper camel leather from the wood trim. The wood in the concept was handpicked by Cadillac Studio craftsmen, who selected fallen Brazilian Rosewood that’s lauded for its use in home furnishings and musical instruments. The wood is hand-cut into three dimensional sections for perfect control of the grain flow.
The instrument panel is comprised of an analog yet transparent tachometer and speedometer. Placed directly behind the analog gauges is a wide screen, high resolution display that shows driver information as well as the footage from a front-mounted camera. Meanwhile, the center stack cradles a 10-inch touchscreen for navigation and connectivity. The screen can hide behind inside the instrument panel when not in use.
Throughout history, many of the acclaimed automotive designs have been luxury coupes — and designers drew inspiration for the Elmiraj concept from the 1967 Eldorado.
“We were influenced in particular by the 1967 Eldorado, both its actual design and the fact that in its time that car was a very stark contrast and a new direction. More recent design like the CTS-V Coupe and the ELR are provocative,” said Dean, the advanced design director. “Both of these cars were major statements of performance and luxury and drove Cadillac forward into new territory.”
Under the direction of Frank Saucedo, designers at GM’s advanced design studio in North Hollywood, California, led the development of the interior and exterior of the Elmiraj. The concept vehicle was hand-build by in-house craftsmen in Michigan.
The Elmiraj utilizes a chassis and structural elements of “an ongoing Cadillac vehicle development project slated for future production” — something that reportedly carries the name Omega internally at GM. According to Cadillac, “this new vehicle architecture expands the brand’s commitment to lightweight RWD performance” demonstrated on the ATS sport sedan and the all-new 2014 CTS that launches this fall in the United States.
Under the hood, the Elmiraj cradles a 4.5 liter twin turbocharged V8 delivering an estimated 500 horsepower. The powerplant, according to Cadillac, utilizes the baseline technology from Cadillac’s new twin turbo V6 (LF3) engine found in the 2014 CTS Vsport, where the boosted 3.6 liter engine makes 420 horsepower, while expanding it to the familiar and universally-loved format of a V8.
|Cadillac Elmiraj Concept
|4-passenger, 2-door grand coupe
|55 in / 1397 mm
|76 in / 1930 mm
|205 in / 5207 mm
|Approx. 4000 lb / 1814 kg
|4.5-liter Twin Turbo V8
|500 hp / 373 kW
|500 lb-ft / 678 Nm