Design concepts are almost always double-edged swords. They hint at the future of a brand's aesthetic, but tease us with beauty that will never see production sheet metal in their fully realized forms. But once in a while, a concept comes along that simply demands to be built. Could the Escala be that car for Cadillac?
This isn't the first--or for many, even the most beautiful--Cadillac concept to woo press and public alike in recent years. The Ciel and Elmiraj both captured the imaginations of what true American luxury could look like if it could just shake the bridle of the bean counters downstairs. Details of each concept have borne production fruit, but neither will ever see regular production in their unmolested original forms.
Not so the Escala. Or at least that's what Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen thinks. In a late-evening Facebook response to my (moderately ridiculous) image post juxtaposing the Audi A7 and Cadillac Escala as well as the new Cadillac DPi-V.R prototype race car and the Audi R18 (which you can also find right here in Deep Thoughts), de Nysschen delivered the thought in his characteristically forthright way, saying of the Escala, "I'm very proud of this car. Seems too good not to build, in my opinion."
You'd have to be blind not to agree.
Could the Escala be the return of the true American luxury flagship? A return, if not to the standard of the world, to something approaching that title? Perhaps--if Cadillac takes its boss's lead and actually builds the car, and if that build process delivers on the Escala's stunning looks with a car that's just as good to drive. Given Cadillac's recent work, both of those ifs are within the realm of possibility.
On the other hand, we were all cautiously impressed with another American flagship concept a few years ago in the form of Lincoln's Continental. But when tires met asphalt earlier this year (to no fanfare or press introduction, merely slipped onto dealer lots in the dark of night), the production version of the Continental met bated breath with bland disappointment.
Will Cadillac actually build the Escala? It just might if de Nysschen has his way. I and others like me certainly hope so. And there's a lot riding on that hope.