Cadillac concept wows Pebble Beach
With its emphasis on luxury cars of the 1930s, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in Monterey, California can usually be relied on for at least one completely outrageous art-deco concept from a domestic auto company - and this year it's General Motors' turn, with the Cadillac Elmiraj.
According to GM design boss Ed Welburn, the Elmiraj is a modern take on the classic format of a two-door, four-seater grand coupé, a pure expression of streamlined design and rear-wheel drive performance.
At 5207mm overall length, grand is exactly what it is, a statement of pure luxury and presence. The concept is also a runner, with a 4.5-litre biturbo V8 delivering an estimated 373kW and 678Nm, using the technology from the upcoming CTS Vsport 's Twin Turbo V6 in a classic V8 format for the first time.
With its windscreen set way back from the front wheels - a Cadillac signature - a long wheelbase and a clean profile with just one feature line in the sheet metal extending the full length of the body from head to tail lights, it's a mature design rather than a boy racer, emphasising poise and proportion.
The upper section of the instrument panel is a single piece extending across the full width of the car, while the lower forms a cockpit space tailored for performance.
Backlit titanium trim curves from the cowl to the doors, dividing the rich upper camel leather from the wood trim. GM craftsmen handpicked fallen Brazilian Rosewood, a wood veneer prized for its use for hundreds of years in home furnishings and musical instruments, hand-carving individual pieces into three-dimensional sections.
Directly behind a transparent analog rev counter and speedometer sits a wide, high resolution display that projects driver information - or the output of a front-mounted camera, while a 250mm touchscreen for navigation and connectivity can be concealed inside the instrument panel when not in use.
The rear bucket seats have backrests and a special valet feature to ease entry and exit - the front bucket seat slides 250mm forward while the rear bucket seat slides 100mm forward to meet the passenger, then slides them back into position once seated. The rear bucket seats recline for additional comfort.