On Thursday, September 18, Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen unveiled the next generation of the luxury brand's design language with the Escala concept. Andrew Smith, Cadillac's Executive Director of Global Design, detailed the Escala's breathtaking exterior to an intimate gathering of industry and press.

First, there's the front: the brand's storied vertical lamps have evolved into razor-sharp "L" headlights, rendered in optic white LED's. Two opposing lamps bookend the Escala's shield-shaped grill, a visual callout to the iconic Cadillac logo. The car's mean grin extends to its bulging hood, a long, muscular cover for the car's twin-turbo V8. Rumored specs include cylinder deactivation and a power output above 500 horses.

The Escala then slopes back into a "grand coupe" form, a shape familiar to many luxury auto enthusiasts. Compared to its German counterparts, Cadillac's streamlined four-door appears much more athletic, almost geometric, viewed from the side. Hidden B-pillars and elegant door jewelry are the key draws.

Finally, there's the interior. According to Smith, the inspiration for the cabin's textiles was fine men's suiting - a break from the traditional "all leather everything" that's come to define European luxury. That's not to say the Escala is PETA-approved: lush leather accents (those plush seats; that glistening wheel) abound.

If anything, the decision to use suiting-grade wool on the doors represents a confident stride away from the dogma of traditional gran coupe designs. With an emergent Cadillac positioning itself as America's luxury automobile, it'll be exciting to watch how bold strides like the Escala define the 114-year-old brand's future for centuries to come.

Check out more pictures of the Escala concept car below: 


AS RAKESTRAW | The personal site of Alex Rakestraw.