Design themes, particularly those as radical as Cadillac’s initial razor-edged Art & Science (A&S) motif, typically enjoy a half-life of just a few years. Rooted in the 1999 Evoq concept and influencing production models from the 2003 CTS sedan onward, A&S has survived for more than a decade, albeit with varying degrees of care and feeding from GM’s luxury brand.
The Elmiraj’s mission is not to accurately forecast any production model but rather to set the stage for future interpretations of Cadillac’s A&S design philosophy. The place that inspired the name—El Mirage—is a Mojave Desert dry lakebed where straight-line speed demons, Hollywood film crews, and weekend adventurers have gamboled for half a century.
Needing something dramatic to secure the top of its model range, Cadillac draped its new A&S suit over a coupe of near-epic proportions. The 205-inch overall length tops that of the stately Bentley Continental GT by more than a foot. That doesn’t mean Elmiraj or any production Cadillac that follows its lead will be a slouch. Driving enjoyment, sparkling performance, and an entertaining power-to-weight ratio all are integral to this fresh theme, notes the maker. To further emphasize that point, Cadillac tapped the engine it practically invented a century ago for propulsion service. The Elmiraj’s 4.5-liter V-8 is blessed with twin turbochargers and a nice, round 500-hp rating.
Underpinnings borrowed from an unspecified future production program closely resemble the architecture used in today’s ATS and CTS sedans. That means rear-wheel drive and strict attention to lightweight engineering disciplines.
Granting form and function equal play, Elmiraj’s long hood is vented to exhaust turbo heat. Heroic 22x9-inch aluminum wheels frame carbon-ceramic brake rotors and serious-looking opposed-piston brake calipers. Vsport identification badges hint that a more potent V-series Elmiraj could further advance this new A&S performance initiative. Front and rear lighting equipment continues with the vertical orientation Cadillac has preferred for ages.
The Elmiraj’s vast length and linear sculpture are reminiscent of the most stunning Cadillac coupe in recorded history, the 1967 Fleetwood Eldorado penned by Wayne Kady (theme model) and Chuck Jordan (final production execution). That’s no coincidence. According to GM’s executive director of advanced design Clay Dean, “We were influenced by the 1967 Eldorado’s design and the fact that, in its time, it represented a stark contrast and a new direction.” One of the new directions the brand took with Elmiraj was with the Cadillac crest, which is a wreathless concept that is just the latest of evolutions of a design that’s transformed dozens of times in the past half century.
Thanks to: Car and Driver