Pomona, California, United States
Cadillac has been an interesting story in the auto industry over the past several years. Its comeback bid may be well over a decade old, but it's only recently that the Wreath and Crest has transformed from the auto industry's retirement home into its hot new thing. Today's Cadillac is a powerful marque working to instill passionate design, sound driving dynamics and cutting-edge technology into each model it builds, with vehicles like the ATS and redesigned CTS leading the charge.
Now, its latest model has arrived. This fourth-generation Escalade is among the most important new Cadillacs since the division's renaissance kicked into high gear. It's the brand's de facto flagship, and the first vehicle many young people think of when hearing the name "Cadillac." In the past, the Escalade was the chosen vehicle of the rich, flashy and famous. It's suffered over the past few years, though, particularly as new and more luxurious competitors have come to the fore.
With this latest redesign, General Motors is aiming to retake the spotlight as purveyors of the market's premier luxury SUV. To find out if it's been successful, I ventured down to the South Carolina Lowcountry to test the all-new 2015 Escalade.
With their chrome grilles and oversized wheels, it's hard not to notice a Cadillac these days. But this one is even more blingtastic on account of the 23.75-karat gold-leaf bodywork.
The 1931 Cadillac Golfer's Drop Head Coupé is said to have belonged to the inimitable performer Liberace, who didn't just have it covered in gold - he also had the exterior door handles plated in silver and the inside handles in 24-karat gold as well. It's also got a white leather interior and headlights that - well ahead of their time (if you'll pardon us, Mr. Tucker) - pivot with the steering wheel. All that bling is powered by a 5.7-liter V8 mated to a three-speed automatic transmission that pales in comparison to the seven, eight and even nine-speed gearboxes appearing on luxury sedans today.
The project was undertaken over the course of three years in the 1970s by one Jack Smith from Kansas. Smith (if that was his real name) sold it at auction in 1975, and it was most recently displayed for 12 years at a museum in Germany which claimed it was Liberace's own. The car is now going up for sale by Barons' at the Sandown Park horse racing track in Surrey, England, on September 17, when bidding starts at 85,000 pounds - equivalent to over $130,000 at today's rates.
Following the introduction of the redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, we're expecting General Motors won't wait too much longer to show off the next-generation fullsize SUVs that share this platform - including the Cadillac Escalade. It's still not clear if the next Escalade will debut for the 2014 or 2015 model years, but Carscoops has what it claims to an exclusive first look of the new Cadillac, revealing a portion of the headlight, front fascia and wheel.
Judging from this small picture, it looks like the Escalade could incorporate styling cues that we've seen on new Cadillac models like the ELR and the 2014 CTS, but that article says that other design details could include tall, vertical taillights similar to the CTS Wagon, staggered-width wheels and a narrower daylight opening for the side windows. The last time we saw the fourth-generation 'Slade back in October in spy shots, the heavy camouflage prevented us from getting an idea of the luxury SUV's appearance, but this image and description gives us something to look forward to. Head on over to Carscoops for more potential information as well as a full rendering from back in January.