A natural partner for Wallpaper* in celebrating creative talent for the Ones to Watch project, Cadillac has a long history of courageous, mould-breaking innovation and knows all about the desire to make life better through good design. Take a tour around the new Cadillac XT5, and you embark on an aesthetically heightened journey of emotion, science, art, ingenuity and luxury. Exterior lines are bold, imperious and head-turningly handsome, with cut-and-sewn, wrapped panels that are the automotive equivalent of bespoke tailoring. Inside, the Cadillac CUE system provides a suite of information and entertainment offerings, like Phone Integration compatibility with Apple® CarPlayTM and Android AutoTM. The sound system is equipped with hi-fi-standard Bose speakers, and it also has rear-view cameras, wireless induction charging, Automatic Parking Assist and a head-up windscreen display. The V6 engine conveniently fires up remotely.
This is luxury and technology as expressed through a fluently confident, culturally informed design language, the car as an irrepressible and uninhibited spirit, a marque looking to the future.
Ever since its extraordinary US road trip began 114 years ago, Cadillac has been a leading purveyor of sophisticated design and technology, a maker known for audacious firsts.
In 1912, Cadillac was the first automobile manufacturer to break away from hand-cranked starting, incorporating an integrated electrical system that enabled ignition and lighting. Cadillac’s cars were the first to install safe, shatter-resistant glass in 1926. The visceral pleasures of the driving experience took another quantum leap in 1929 when Cadillac introduced its ‘clashless’ Synchro-Mesh manual transmission, negating the need for clunky and onerous double declutching while behind the wheel. In 1914 Cadillac began the mass production of V8-powered automobiles for its 1915 models, setting the standard for the rest of American automotive industry.
Cadillac has always been ahead of the curve with its styling and design, introducing closed body models as standard in 1910 and elegant, designer-styled bodywork in the 1920s. The 1927 LaSalle was the first production car envisaged by a ‘professional designer’, Cadillac’s Harley Earl, rather than in-house draftsmen and engineers. Years later, Earl, an industrial design legend who pioneered freeform sketching techniques and hand-sculpted, clay models, would go on to introduce the idea of the ‘concept car’ to a watching world.
Almost 100 years on, Cadillac still dares to be different. Countering the pervading culture of generic mass-production, the XT5’s interior puts an emphasis on handcrafted elements – artisan-tooled hide upholstery, wood grains and metals with a particular patina and personality. While each is engineered to the highest standards of manufacturing, no two vehicles are exactly alike.
This is a car that says it’s OK to be different from everybody else, Andrew Smith, executive director of Global Cadillac Design, will tell you. ‘A design predicated on modern craftsmanship and the artistic integration of technology.’