“Does Cadillac need a halo car?”
That’s the question AutoGuide posed to Bob Ferguson, the brand’s Vice President of global operations, in a quiet room behind the automaker’s stand at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this week.
While not verifying as much, his answer boils down to a yes. And that halo car is the Elmiraj, a stunning and powerful coupe that will give Cadillac yet another true rival to European luxury brands.
What he actually said was slightly (but only slightly) less certain, answering the question with another question.
“Would you consider the Elmiraj a halo car,” he said?
It’s no R8, but there’s a distinct sense that Cadillac isn’t interested in that sort of performance-first attitude that helped change perceptions of Audi.
Instead it appears Cadillac wants to keep an important focus on luxury and not be drawn into the trap of building another XLR, a car that was not very good (in part) because it had to play second-fiddle to the Corvette.
So is that the reason mid-engined exotics don’t seem to be in the Cadillac product lineup? Perhaps it is, though not according to Ferguson. “I don’t feel constrained by the Corvette,” he says.
Instead the Elmiraj is the future of Cadillac. “We are constantly looking at ways we can build the Cadillac brand and the concept car Elmiraj is an example of that,” he said.
“I don’t think we should make concepts just for concepts. That seems wasteful to me,” Ferguson continued. “We should make concept cars with the idea of what’s really going to translate into the marketplace.”
The car, he expects, will poll well with focus groups and has already caught the attention of the media. And Cadillac knows it. It’s been out for months already and yet it resides in a prominent position at the brand’s booth at every major auto show.
“I have a lot of enthusiasm for the Elmiraj,” he continues. “I’d love for us to have a high-end vehicle like that in the Cadillac lineup.” And he isn’t alone. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm for it among the GM executives,” he reveals.
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And no doubt Cadillac will. And when it does arrive look for big power levels like those boasted about in the concept car’s press release. While details of a twin-turbo 4.5-liter V8 making around 500 hp sound too good to be true, such an engine is reportedly based off the current twin-turbo V6 in the CTS Vsport. Already on sale, that car makes 420 hp.
Ferguson gushes over that engine, yet he admits that while “it supplies plenty of power for most consumers,” there’s a strong argument to be made for even more.
“Performance gives us credibility with a younger audience,” he says. And besides, “I’d like to have a V8…” he continues, before a lengthy pause, “if we went to market with something like the Elmiraj.”
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