The name is derived from American hot rod history, but the vehicle is pure 21st century coolness and refinement. Cadillac’s Elmiraj concept, unveiled in August during the annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance week, takes its nameplate from the El Mirage dry lake bed in California’s Mojave Desert that has been used for automotive land-speed runs since before World War II.
The Elmiraj concept is a four-seat “grand coupe” that provides stylistic and dimensional clues to models planned for General Motors’ new large rear-wheel-drive (RWD) architecture, code named Omega. Two supplier sources whose companies are working with GM vehicle engineering tell AEI that the first Omega-based Cadillac, a range-topping sedan known as LTS, is expected to launch in late 2015. It is designed to compete with the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and other F-segment luxury sedans and coupes—a segment long unoccupied by any Cadillac model.
A coupe version of the Omega-based Cadillac also is expected, the sources said. The Elmiraj concept carries various styling cues from the Ciel concept—a four-seat, four-door convertible—shown at Pebble Beach in 2011. The Ciel showed the way for Cadillac’s new design language away from the sharp-edged “Arts and Science” form to the softer, more radiused look introduced in the ATS and continued on the 2014 CTS.
The Elmiraj’s overall length is 205 in (5207 mm). Overall width and height are 76 in (1930 mm) and 55 in (1397 mm), respectively. The car’s curb weight is about 4000 lb (1814 kg). By comparison, Cadillac’s current large car, the E-segment XTS, is 202 in (5131 mm) long, 72.9 in (1852 mm) wide, and 54.9 in (1510 mm) tall. The XTS rides on a 111.7 in (2837 mm) wheelbase.
The Omega RWD platform will feature mixed-material construction that optimizes structural strength with minimal mass. At a CTS technology background event for media in early 2013, Executive Chief Engineer for performance luxury cars Dave Leone told AEI that GM’s Alpha architecture that underpins ATS and CTS “is serving as the cornerstone of our passenger-car architecture strategy, in terms of materials use, going forward.”
The Omega products will be built at GM’s Hamtramck, MI, assembly plant that currently builds the Chevrolet Volt and its 2014 Cadillac cousin, the ELR. They are also likely to be built in China. GM product planners are looking to expand the Omega-based product portfolio to increase the architecture's global scale and thus moderate cost, according to Mike Jackson, IHS Automotive Senior Manager, North American Vehicle Forecasts.
Elmiraj’s power comes from a 4.5-L twin-turbocharged V8 capable of producing an estimated 500 hp (373 kW) and 500 lb·ft (678 N·m). At the car’s unveiling, Cadillac representatives shared little details of the DOHC V8, only saying that its architecture and boosting system are based on those of the 3.6-L twin-turbo, 420-hp (313-kW) V6 featured in the 2014 CTS Vsport model.
“This project originated around the simple persona of ‘the drive,’ or the visceral experience of driving a great luxury coupe,” noted Clay Dean, Cadillac Executive Director of Advanced Design, in a statement. Dean said the concept’s inspiration came from the 1967 Cadillac Eldorado coupe.
The interior features a 2+2 seating configuration, with egress from the rear bucket seats eased by a “valet” feature: the front bucket seat slides 10 in (254 mm) forward while the rear seat slides 4 in (102 mm) forward to meet the passenger, then slides him or her back into position once seated. The rear bucket seats recline for additional comfort.
The car’s instrumentation features transparent analog tachometer and speedometer. Behind the analog gauges is a wide-screen, high-resolution display that projects driver information and the output of a front-mounted camera. A 10-in touch screen for navigation and connectivity can be concealed inside the IP when not in use.
Elmiraj was designed at GM’s North Hollywood advanced design studio under the direction of Frank Saucedo.