The Rise, Fall, and Rise of Cadillac

Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid

Cadillac has had a long, turbulent history in the United States. When it was up, it was the go-to luxury car in the U.S.; when it was down, it was little more than an afterthought in the American conscience. Despite its ups and downs, Cadillac is still here and is surging, once again, into the national conscience. Below is a brief history of the rise, fall, and subsequent rise of the Cadillac brand.

The Glory Years

From the 1930s through the early 1970s Cadillac was a symbol of the American dream. During its hey-day, owning a Cadillac meant those three-martini lunches had paid off, and that you were well on your way to having the keys to the executive washroom. It meant that you had game and that you were a force to be reckoned with. You were Frank Sinatra and Super Fly and Don Draper rolled into one.

Elvis Presley was a huge fan of Cadillac, even going so far as to make a special trip to Houston, Texas to buy a 1956 El Dorado.

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Car Review: 2014 Cadillac CTS VSport Premium

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As the luxury car market in North America continues to see new entrants, the all-new Cadillac 2014 CTS sedan ascends into the heart of the midsize luxury market with expanded performance, elevated luxury and sophisticated technology. We had the opportunity to test drive the new CTS VSport to learn first-hand what the folks at Cadillac are offering luxury car buyers who are looking for some excitement.

EXTERIOR

Cadillac’s shield grille and signature vertical lighting elements – including LED front signature lighting detail – evolve on the CTS. The grille is wider, with a more detailed texture, while the headlamps flow up with the hood line, incorporating crystalline LED light guides for a technologically advanced appearance with more uniform illumination.

Active grille shutters are included on some models, improving aerodynamic performance on the highway to enhance fuel efficiency. A longer, lower and more athletic-looking proportion is introduced on Cadillac’s landmark sedan and evolves the brand’s Art & Science design philosophy. While growing five inches (127 mm) in length, including a 1.2-inch longer wheelbase, the roofline and cowl – the base of the windshield – are about an inch lower, dimensions that complement the longer exterior to accentuate the car’s lean aesthetic. The 18-inch, ultra bright machined aluminum wheels were a work of art that really elevated the appearance of the 2014 Cadillac CTS VSport Premium. Our VSport test model also sported dual stainless steel exhaust, intellibeam headlamps, LED vertical accent lighting, illuminating door handles and illuminated front door sill plates. The look of the 2014 CTS clearly resembles the new ATS sedan with an ultra-athletic look that is a positive from all angles!

INTERIOR

Cadillac probably realized that in order to take the 2014 Cadillac CTS VSport Premium to the next level, the cabin space needed a big leap forward, and they delivered in some kind of way! A roomier, driver-centric cockpit interior with integrated technology and hand-crafted appointments complements the exterior and supports the CTS sedan’s driving experience. Eight available interior environments are offered, each trimmed with authentic wood, carbon fiber or aluminum. Leather seating is available, including available full semi-aniline leather with hand-crafted, cut-and-sewn executions. The CTS sedan seamlessly blends comfort, convenience and safety technologies with the interior’s hand-crafted appointments and flowing design. Active safety features provide alerts and intervene when necessary to help avoid crashes.

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Cadillac reveals all-new 2015 Escalade in New York City

Cadillac revealed the 2015 Escalade last night with a stylish and festive party in New York City. I was on hand to check out the new luxury SUV as it was introduced by Bob Ferguson, senior vice president of Global Cadillac, along with Ed Welburn, vice president of design for GM. This fourth generation vehicle is immediately recognizable as as Escalade but the improvements are quickly apparent as well, particularly the new headlamps and taillamps. Cadillac is emphasizing the craftsmanship that goes into the luxury accents of the Escalade as they highlighted some of the people behind the vehicle with beautiful photography by Autumn de Wilde. Sitting in the Escalade one certainly notices the comfortable and luxurious interior that buyer will expect.

With the emphasis on luxury craftsmanship and technology, the 2015 Escalade is loaded with features that will draw in consumers in the luxury SUV segment:

- The new Escalade interior features cut-and-sewn and wrapped materials along with real wood trim options. The use of premium materials is immediately recognizable when you sit in the vehicle. The new seats are also very comfortable.

- The new LED lighting jumps out as the most distinctive part of the exterior design evolution with Cadillac’s vertical light signature. The headlamps consist of four vertically stacked crystal lenses and LEDs. Coupled with the large and chiseled front grille the Escalade retains its very distinctive look with these upgrades. The rear of the Escalade is now even more distinctive with tall, thin vertical LED taillamps that reach to the top of the vehicle and feature the brand’s wreath-and-crest insignia which illuminates in the dark.

- I’m a big fan of Cadillac’s CUE system for navigation, media and other internal controls and it will be standard in the Escalade. I like how CUE uses proximity sensors to activate common options and controls as your hand approaches the screen. The new CUE also offers an expanded “favorites” section that provides quick access to station presets, favorite phone contacts and navigation destinations all in one convenient spot.

- Cadillac claims the new interior will be “dramatically quieter” due to a stronger new body structure, new and enhanced acoustic material, and Bose Active Noise Cancellation technology.

- The Escalade is Offered with 2WD and 4WD drivetrains and features a new 6.2L V-8 engine rated at an SAE-certified 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque – a nearly 5-percent increase in horsepower and 10 percent more torque.

- Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension system is now a standard feature.

- The front seating area offers more than 1.5 inches more headroom and more than four inches of additional legroom compared to previous models while the 2nd and 3rd-row seats fold flat.

I’m looking forward to driving the new Escalade to fully experience the new features. The updated design and luxury features will definitely generate more attention for this iconic nameplate.

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Car Review: 2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6L Premium

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As the world at Cadillac continues to evolve, the expectations from buyers will also come to expect dynamic new products, which have to be the goal for any luxury car nameplate. The all-new Cadillac ATS 3.6L Premium was delivered to us at Bullz-Eye for a week of testing and admiration for what should be the new direction of Caddy and a shot across the bow at her competitors. Developed on an all-new, lightweight rear-drive architecture, the ATS reflects a new expression of Cadillac’s Art & Science execution philosophy, centered on a foundation of driving dynamics and mass efficiency. Germany ’s famed Nürburgring served as one of the key testing grounds, along with additional roads, race tracks and laboratories around the globe, where ATS engineers balanced performance with Cadillac’s trademark refinement.

EXTERIOR

The 2013 Cadillac ATS interprets Cadillac’s Art & Science design language in a new proportion, tailoring the signature styling and refinement cues for the most compact Cadillac while upholding and advancing the exemplary attention to detail and technological elements for which the brand is known. Although the 2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6L Premium skin doesn’t stand out all that much from the CTS, it’s clear that this new Cadillac was designed for performance over everything else. A long, 109.3-inch (2,775 mm) wheelbase and wide front/rear tracks are the cornerstones of the ATS’ firmly planted stance, which is enhanced by short overhangs and taut sheet metal that appears to wrap tightly around the tires. 17-inch wheels are standard and 18-inch wheels are available.

Bold, vertical lighting elements, including new LED front signature lighting detail and illuminating door handles and active grille shutters, lend technologically advanced style and function to the ATS. The luxury feel of the exterior is clearly enhanced with the lighting from all angles of the ATS, including the sleek door handles. The grille shutters close at certain highway speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag and enhance fuel economy. High-intensity discharge headlamps with Adaptive Forward Lighting made our driving experience that much better. Exterior colors include: Radiant Silver Metallic, Black Raven, Black Diamond Tricoat, Crystal Red Tintcoat, White Diamond Tricoat, Thunder Gray ChromaFlair, Opulent Blue Metallic, Glacier Blue Metallic, Silver Coast Metallic and Summer Gold Metallic. Our test model looked incredible in Black Diamond Tricoat that somehow looked as clean after a week as it did on day one.

INTERIOR

After taking in the striking good looks of the 2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6L Premium’s body, Cadillac really needed a top-notch cabin to keep the first impression strong, and they delivered with a morello red combined with a jet black hand-crafted cut and sewn interior seating that was off-the-charts good. A driver focused interior with integrated technology and crafted materials complements the exterior elements and supports the ATS’ driving experience. Everything from the placement of the pedals to the position of the shifter is designed for effortless and intuitive performance driving. Available performance seats have power-adjustable bolsters to optimize lateral support during high-load cornering. Contributing to the interior’s intuitive feel is an instrument panel that wraps into the doors and a center stack in the mid-instrument panel that flows into the center console.

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Cadillac introduces the Elmiraj Concept

I was on hand last Thursday evening as Cadillac unveiled the new Elmiraj Concept at Tehàma Golf Club in beautiful hills of Carmel, California. The setting was perfect for the introduction of this coupe concept car which gives us an exciting preview of Cadillac’s future. As you can see from the photos I took in the slideshow above, the Elmiraj is a beautiful vehicle that boldly moves Cadillac forward while also drawing inspiration from the iconic large coupes from its past.

The design of the vehicle grabs your attention from every angle, and the Elmiraj looks unlike anything you’ll find on the road today. The long wheelbase and the long dash-to-axle front profile give it a distinctive Cadillac look. I was very happy to see the large, vertical headlights that we first saw in the Ciel concept along with the vertical taillights as well. The Elmiraj also introduced a new Cadillac badge in the front grille with the iconic wreath removed.

Cadillac describes the Elmiraj as a “modern update to the classic format of a two-door grand coupe.” In a prepared statement, Clay Dean, executive director of advanced design, explained, “We were influenced in particular by the 1967 Eldorado, both its actual design and the fact that in its time that car was a very stark contrast and a new direction.” Cadillac included one of these classic Eldorados in its display for the Elmiraj at the Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach.

1967 Eldorado

“Elmiraj advances Cadillac’s provocative modern design and performance, contrasted with bespoke craftsmanship and luxury,” said Mark Adams, Cadillac design director. “It explores performance driving, as well as how we’re approaching elevating the Cadillac range and new dimensions of Art & Science philosophy.”

Cadillac has been making an impression on consumers as sales are up 30% this year. We’re not surprised as we’ve been very impressed with Cadillac lately, as you’ll see in our upcoming review of the 2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6L Premium. Cadillac’s designers deserve credit along with the commitment to rear-wheel drive performance luxury vehicles.

With Elmiraj we’re seeing the brand continue that commitment. Elmiraj sports a 4.5-liter twin turbocharged V8 delivering an estimated 500 horsepower. We’ll see what exactly ends up in a production version of this vehicle, but Cadillac is making a statement by equipping the Elmiraj with a powerful engine like this. Elmiraj also sports 22-x-9-in. aluminum wheels along with large ceramic brakes with Cadillac monoblock calipers.

It’s refreshing to see an iconic brand like Cadillac draw inspiration from its past with a completely modern take. A grand coupe inspired by the Elmiraj would be a fantastic addition to Cadillac’s lineup.

  

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