August 24, 2016

Mercedes-Maybach, Cadillac Debut Concepts At Pebble Beach

Mercedes-Maybach, Cadillac Debut Concepts At Pebble Beach

The annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is THE prestigious show where the greatest classics of all time are on display.  At Pebble Beach, Duesenbergs, Rolls-Royces, and Pierce-Arrows are a dime a dozen.  To win there, you must have something really special.  So, it’s become the preferred place for luxury automakers to debut their most beautiful concepts.  Mercedes-Maybach and Cadillac proved this year was no exception.

Electric Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6

As Mercedes-Maybach looks to the future, it also takes a glance over its shoulder.  The purpose of the Vision 6 is to show what a super-exclusive luxury coupe, powered by electricity, can be.  Styling of the 2+2 coupe hearkens back to the classic aero models with its long hood and fastback profile.  Brand cues like Maybach’s vertical chrome grille topped by a three-pointed star identify its parentage while 24-inch wheels and an aluminum frame place it in the present.

“Our sensational coupe, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6, represents the ultimate in contemporary luxury.  It is cool,” said Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Daimler AG.  “With its intelligent appeal and reduced, technoid look, it perfectly embodies our design philosophy of sensual purity and our pursuit of aerodynamic efficiency.”

Unlike in the old days when a long hood signified a straight-8 engine, the Vision 6 is an electric car that can go 200 miles per charge, summon 738 horsepower to run 0-62 mph in under 4.0 seconds, and rise to a governed top speed of 155 mph.  A quick charge function replenishes the batteries with adequate power to drive 62 miles in just five minutes.

The concept’s interior is as advanced as its design and powertrain. The dashboard curves into the door trim and into the leather-upholstered seat area, creating a roomy lounge.  Elm, a pale open-pore wood, panels the floors for a yacht look.  In contrast, the windshield serves as a full-width gesture-recognition heads-up display.  Sensors in the seats activate climate control, massager, and ambient lighting to keep passengers comfortable. 

Take all of the luggage you want.  With batteries placed under the floor, there’s plenty of room under the hood.

Mercedes-Maybach needs an ultra-luxury coupe as a symbol of the brand’s prowess.  Doing so with an advanced electric powertrain to counter Tesla and an upcoming Porsche four-door coupe seems entirely appropriate.  For now, I can only dream of rolling up to my favorite restaurant in the Vision 6!

Cadillac Escala Predicts Brand’s Future

On the eve of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Cadillac rolled out its vision of the future – a range-topping four-door concept coupe that foretells where the brand is going.

“Escala is a concept with two clear objectives,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Global Cadillac.  “First, Escala is a statement of intent for the next generation of the Cadillac design language, and also technical concepts in development for future Cadillac models.  Secondly, Escala builds Cadillac’s aspirational character, signaling the brand’s return to the pinnacle of premium.”

An evolution of Cadillac’s “Art & Science” design theme, Escala takes a softer approach with flowing fenders, fastback roofline, sweeping hood, and elegant chrome around the windows.  The front uses the recent V-Series grille, but replaces vertical headlamps with thin inset horizontal OLED clusters.  Around back, Cadillac’s trademark vertical lamps angle into the rear fenders for a tailfin affect, but are accented with short horizontal elements.  At 6 inches longer than the CT6, and riding on 22-inch wheels, the car has presence.  It’s beautiful.

Inside, the cabin exhibits well-appointed split personalities.  Up front, drivers face an array of thin curved OLED screens for instruments and infotainment controls.  Voice and gesture controls add convenience while tailored stitched leather, gray cloth, and wood exude luxury.  A new edition of Cadillac’s “flying Goddess” icon resides in the controller.  In the rear, passengers enjoy copious amounts of legroom and information screens – ideal for those who are more likely to be chauffeured.

The rear-drive car (presumably with AWD if produced) is endowed with a 4.2-liter twin-turbo V8 that’s a prototype of an engine under development.

I’m not sure Cadillac really needs another sedan until it adds a couple of crossovers, but I sure hope Cadillac builds the Escala.  As technically advanced and superbly comfortable as the new full-size CT6 is, I wish Cadillac had built the Escala, instead.  I say build it, and do it quick!

Storm Forward!

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