Pebble Beach 2016: Cadillac and Mercedes unveil concept cars – Los Angeles Times
Monterey Car Week has traditionally been about old cars — vintage cars in rallies, antique cars at auction, historic cars on the race track, culminating with the classic car beauty pageant at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance.
But increasingly the event has become a platform for new cars, as major auto manufacturers try to grab the attention of the world’s most obsessive auto enthusiasts by unveiling new vehicles and designs.
Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz did that Thursday night, with a pair of bold concept cars that point the way for their manufacturers’ futures.
Inside a bunker-like building on the third fairway at historic Pebble Beach golf course, Mercedes’ U.S. president Dietmar Exler introduced the Vision Mercedes Maybach 6.
The long, sleek two-door coupe is an electric battery-powered, rear-wheel drive supercar. With 750 horsepower, a split rear window and exotic gull wing doors, it clearly caught the attention of the otherwise blase Pebble Beach crowd.
“That’s the next Jason Bourne car,” one observer called out.
Though it is not likely to ever be sold in this form, it contains hints of what Exler called the “sensual purity” design language of future Mercedes Maybach creations.
Across the peninsula, in a massive stone and wood house that suggested Fred Flintstone on steroids, Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen was using similar language to introduce a similarly unlikely car.
Asserting that the concept Escala car he was about to unveil marked “a point of transition in the design language for Cadillac,” De Nysschen evoked the GM subsidiary’s great history as a leader in design and technology and promised a return to “the pinnacle of performance.”
The covers came off to reveal an almost Tesla-like four-door luxury sedan — sheer and smooth, with a liftgate rear door and an interior crafted in supple leather and burnished American walnut.
The vehicle, surprisingly, was almost entirely absent of the sharp, boxy “Art and Design” look of the company’s current line.
“We are retaining the ‘Art and Design’ theme, but with softer shapes, and a lower belt line, and less emphasis on the wedge shape,” De Nysschen said.
The executive said that the Escala, in this form, would never be a production vehicle, but promised that elements from its design would begin showing up in all Cadillac vehicles starting in cars sold by 2019.
The car, or its offspring, will be powered by a new Cadillac-made V-8 engine. (The company has used engines from other GM divisions to power its bigger cars.)
“The Escala signals a return to the spacious and elegant luxury cars” of Cadillac’s past, De Nysschen said. “Over the next five years, we will drive the brand back to its rightful place at the pinnacle of premium.”
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