- The Cadillac InnerSpace concept is fully autonomous, drop-dead gorgeous.
- But Cadillac has a history of making great-looking concepts.
- We take a look back at some of the best ones in recent memory.
Today, more than ever, automakers are scrambling to redefine what a car actually is. Many mainstream companies seem to have settled on the idea that a car is actually a personal space that shouldn’t be hindered by the fact that you have to, well, drive it. Cadillac’s most recent effort in this direction is the new InnerSpace Concept, a fully autonomous electric vehicle that Caddy says will allow passengers to focus on the journey, not driving.
Unlike most other pie-in-the-sky self-driving concepts, the InnerSpace has no pedals or steering wheel. Even if you wanted to, you can’t drive it at all. This is a personal transportation pod that completely automates all driving tasks. And while we as enthusiasts think cars ought to be driven, the InnerSpace’s, erm, inner space looks like a fantastic place to not drive. The car’s occupants are cocooned in swaths of lush leather, and the seats resemble lounge chairs more than car seats. There are pillows and blankets tucked under the dash to help you rest up as the car drives itself along. And then there’s the front screen that looks as though it completely blocks the view out of the front of the car.
The interior of the InnerSpace will be able to transform itself via augmented reality to allow passengers to either focus on the world around them or on themselves during their trips. A panoramic LED screen spans the entire length of the car’s dash (and rises up to meet the glass roof). It’s truly massive, and can display either entertainment or what Cadillac is calling “wellness recovery” themes for the drive. Cadillac also said that authorized third parties will be able to develop new software for the AR display.
There’s no telling what the InnerSpace will turn into or if we’ll be able to buy something like it, but there’s little doubt it joins a group of some gorgeous Cadillac concepts. So we decided, why not revisit a few of them? Here are some of Caddy’s best concepts from the last decade.
The Ciel made its debut in 2011 at that year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It was (and still is) a stunning four-door convertible concept with rear-hinged back doors(!). Power came courtesy of a 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 that, in combination with a hybrid system, had a reported output of 425 hp. The Ciel almost made it to production, but development was reportedly stopped in 2013. We think that’s a shame. Who wouldn’t want to see this slice of automotive art rolling down the street?
First shown at the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Elmiraj was, essentially, a hardtop version of the Ciel. It took the design language that its roofless counterpart started and set about modernizing it. In fact, some of the design elements from the Elmiraj can be seen in the now-discontinued CT6. The Elmiraj had a 4.5-liter twin-turbo V8 under the hood that made more than 500 horsepower. Cadillac aficionados will realize that sounds extremely similar to the Blackwing engine that saw use in the CT6-V between 2018 and 2020. The main difference is the Blackwing engine displaced 4.2 liters.
The Cadillac Escala concept made its debut, you guessed it, at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. First shown in 2016, the Escala is a luxurious four-door sedan that previewed the current Cadillac CT5. While the sedans look related, there’s little doubt the Escala is the more handsome of the two. Its long, low and sleek proportions don’t translate perfectly to the production CT5, but we’re glad to see one of Caddy’s concepts almost come to life.
Cadillac has a great back catalog of concept cars — we just want to see more of them make their way to production.