CRAZY CONCEPT: The 2013 Cadillac Elmiraj

By Michael Lockhart

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At this year's Monterey Classic Car Week and Pebble Beach, Cadillac took over Tehama Golf Course (owned by Clint Eastwood, who was curious enough to stop by) overlooking the Carmel Valley to celebrate the latest developments in its Art and Science design language with a rolling parade of its newest models: the gorgeous new CTS, luxury electric ELR and last year's well-received convertible concept, the Ciel, culminating in the rebirth of the Cadillac flagship: the 2013 Elmiraj Concept.

Inspired by the legendary '67 Eldorado, the Elmiraj is a grand coupe four-seater with the elegance and length of its predecessor but the same futuristic technology and innovation we've seen pioneered by the company over the past few years. The trademark top-of-the-range presence that started with the Ciel has been built upon but refined into a much tighter package.

The Elmiraj contains a wickedly powerful 4.5-liter Twin Turbo V8, which produces about 500 horsepower and approximately 500 pound-feet of brute torque. This puts its performance on par with—if not slightly above—the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class flagship S550, which has about 449 horses and 516 pound-feet of torque. Coupled with a 17-foot length (about a foot and a half shorter than the Eldorado), the Elmiraj is shaping up to be a luxury behemoth—should it be chosen to go into production.

The design emphasizes Caddy’s trademark long dash-to-axe profile, giving the classic coupe design a modern update that reminds us of what’s been built out of the Camaro refresh but much more distinguished. The bodywork isn’t overly cluttered with adornments or bold accents, though the functional dual air vents for the twin-turbo in the long hood are an attractive touch, hinting at the power that lies below. All of this rides on 22-inch aluminum wheels that are anchored by ceramic brakes with monoblock calipers.

{"pbembedwidget":"gallery","id":"14468","size":"large","alignment":"left"}Inside, the Elmiraj‘s mix of luxury and technology, at the usual exaggerated level of detail seen in concepts, works well in the 2+2 layout of the vehicle. The sculpted high-performance seats are bold but comfortable, wrapped in caramel-colored leather with titanium accents that play up the handpicked fallen Brazilian Rosewood veneer. The 10-inch touchscreen for entertainment and navigation conceals itself within the dashboard when not in use, underneath the transparent instrument panel. This moving-compartment functionality seems to be a trend with Cadillac; we noticed it in our test drive of the ATS earlier this year.

The most unique addition was the much-rumored redesign of the Cadillac logo on the large front grille. Gone is the wreath of eras past, with the remaining crest streamlined and stretched. If this is any indication of the risks Cadillac is willing to take in its design direction in the future, we could be looking at a much more competitive player that can not only reinvent American luxury from where it has stagnated but also challenge the dominant European manufacturers as they attempt to overtake China and other key emerging markets. We look forward to watching Cadillac’s star continue to rise.

For more information, visit cadillac.com


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