Cadillac Imaj accelerates Art and Science Vision
The stunning European-designed and built Cadillac Imaj hi-tech concept car is an all-wheel-drive ultra-luxury sedan with exhilarating performance and unprecedented technological applications.
It is a direct descendant of Evoq, the concept two-seater roadster which inspired Cadillac’s announcement at Pebble Beach (California) in August, that a Cadillac luxury roadster will go into production for model year 2003. Evoq was the first embodiment of Cadillac’s vision of art and science. In one leap, Cadillac Imaj has extended Cadillac’s philosophy to its logical next step by adding luxury sedan to fun roadster in the same futuristic yet ultimately practical package.
And more: Cadillac Imaj has the flexibility, features, and power to transform it from being a chauffeur’s car during the week into a driver’s car at weekends and at vacation time. It has transformed the traditional ultra-luxury formula of a vehicle heavy, long and consumptive to something agile, useful and approachable. So Imaj is at once beautiful, powerful and practical. With its crisp lines and sharp angles, it takes its lead from Evoq in giving further tangible form to Cadillac’s vision to be a uniquely American, global automotive leader in design and ingenious technology. Externally Imaj’s faceted, sheer forms exude a diamond-like quality, underscored by knife-edge coachwork, from its louvered roof panels to its integrated front and rear aero panels.
Underneath the hood is an updated version of the supercharged Northstar V8 engine first seen on Evoq. With a liquid-to-air intercooler and continuously variable valve timing, the upgraded Northstar smoothly and effortlessly delivers a huge 425 horsepower, fed to all four wheels through an all-new five-speed automatic transmission. Aluminium space frame construction provides low mass and a rigid chassis. The Goodyear EMT run-flat tires, 20-inch magnesium wheels, Delco ABS and traction control and Brembo brakes are actively managed by an advanced, next-generation StabiliTrak chassis control system. Obstacle alert sensors and rear vision cameras, which replace the mirrors, ease close-quarters parking. And of course Cadillac Imaj features Cadillac’s acclaimed Night Vision system, which works both in front and the rear, to enhance the field of vision behind the car.
Inside its 5.1-meter length, Imaj expands the concept of luxury to encompass the artful integration of advanced technology. The busy executive can climb in the plush rear seat of Imaj, with accommodation beyond even a first-class airline environment, and immediately get to work. This includes the benefits of a hands-free cell phone, using the internet and retrieving and sending e-mail. For sheer driving pleasure, adjustable pedals, seating, steering and head-up display combine with steering wheel mounted controls and shift-by-wire gear selection to create the quintessential driver-in-control environment. Adaptive cruise control manages following distances at highway speeds. Vehicle access is controlled by e-lock, a fingertip-based security system. The cabin is further secured by smart air bags and side-impact air bags. Every seat is fully adjustable, with in-seat heating and ventilation. Rear seats recline and offer footrests. Each has its own environment controls, and e-mail access along with an individual LCD screen with DVD capabilities, navigation and entertainment, developed by IBM and Delphi. The Bose audio system incorporates headrest speakers. GM’s OnStar is fitted, along with four individual cellular phones. All information is routed through the Communiport central server, first seen on Evoq. Imaj was designed and built by GM’s Concept Design studio in Birmingham, England, led by concept vehicle design director Simon Cox, with support from the North American Cadillac design studio in Warren, Mich., led by Cadillac design manager Tom Kearns. To reinforce its move towards combining a European design perspective with Cadillac’s uniquely American brand character, in addition to partnering with IBM, Delphi and Bose, Cadillac has teamed with world-renowned Italian jeweler Bvlgari. Bvlgari has provided beautiful modular aluminum luggage, an exclusive fine clock and distinctive instrumentation. Bvlgari is known worldwide for powerful and contemporary designs. Offering such high-end items is not new to Cadillac. The 1957 Eldorado Brougham included a personal vanity kit and a small spray bottle of Arpege perfume. The opulent Eldorado Brougham, with its ultra-high degree of luxury and its many exclusive technological advancements, is the spiritual progenitor of Imaj. “Much like the fashion industry’s ‘signature label’ products, Imaj would be very exclusive and limited,” said Wayne Cherry, GM vice president and director of its Design and Portfolio centers. “It’s designed to be a high-end flagship for both Cadillac and General Motors, pushing the limits of performance, comfort and communications technology.”