Ah, remember the days before big luxury SUVs were in vogue. If you wanted luxury, you stuck by your tried-and-true personal luxury coupe like a Lincoln Mark or Continental, or a Cadillac Eldorado. Those days are long gone, and so is the market for utterly numb, serene, and effortless cars with hoods that stretched for miles and fuel economy so bad that it was impossible to own one unless your last name was Exxon.
But what if an automaker could bring it back, except this time the large coupe would be molded in the same light as the German luxury vehicles that helped destroy the personal luxury coupe in the first place? What if it had a uniquely American twist? You’d probably come up with something like the Cadillac Elmiraj concept that has debuted at the events surrounding this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
At 205 inches long, the two-door, four-passenger coupe is 2.5 inches longer than a standard Escalade. Everything about this car is about size and presence. Its wheels are 22 inches in diameter by 9 inches across, with carbon ceramic brake rotors sitting behind them. At 76 inches in width, it’s just narrower than the Escalade by three inches, too. But at around 4,000 pounds, it’s only about 400 pounds more than the considerably smaller, more pragmatic 2014 Cadillac CTS. In fact, the Cadillac Elmiraj is considerably lighter than the current Cadillac CTS-V.
Cadillac says the Elmiraj is a Vsport model, which is a new branding strategy for sporty cars that aren’t quite up to V-Series spec. Likewise, it can hustle by way of a 500-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V-8 engine. After the Cadillac STS and DTS went out of production, the automaker was left without a V-8 engine in a passenger car. This Northstar-replacing 4.5-liter V-8 looks like it will take that engine’s place…finally.
Inside, passengers are treated to backlit titanium and Brazilian Rosewood accents where there aren’t displays, whether analog like the gauges (with displays behind them) or the 10-inch navigation screen. Oh, and there’s leather. Lots and lots of leather, with rear-seat accommodations that allow the front seat to slide forward 10 inches (the rear seat slides forward 4 inches simultaneously) for easier access. Once seated, the Cadillac Elmiraj allows rear passengers to recline their seats.
With the Cadillac Elmiraj concept, Cadillac hearkened back to the 1967 Cadillac Eldorado for inspiration. And like the Ciel, Cien, and Sixteen concepts that came before it, the Cadillac Elmiraj will not be produced. It will, however, inspire the next generation full-size sedan that is aimed as an anchor for the Cadillac brand. That, we know, is making a comeback sooner than not. Hopefully, it will look just as stunning.
If it does, the only thing left for Cadillac to accomplish will be to bring back real names. We say call it the Fleetwood Brougham. -Live reveal photos by Michael Shaffer