We've gotten used to seeing less than conventional designs come out of Cadillac over the past few years, but the new Urban Luxury Concept (ULC) is taking things a bit too far. The concept behind this show piece is advanced urban commuting and the ULC executes this perfectly with a small package that is high on luxury – even including a Rolls-Royce-esque umbrella in the doors. The powertrain is also perfectly designed, using a turbocharged 1.0L 3-cylinder engine mated to a mild hybrid setup to deliver 56-mpg city and 65-mpg highway.
Outside, the overall shape (intended to mimic city cars from Asian and Europe) is certainly less than attractive, although the interior is really the important show-piece of this car. And here the designers and engineers worked together to create an environment filled with seamless technology.
For starters, the driver can access two touch-pads just behind the steering wheel in order to scroll though display screens. As for the front seat passenger, they get an iPad-like screen to operate vehicle functions and can even surf the net, select a destination and then drag that info over to the driver's side of the info display, where the driver can then choose to accept the new navigation instructions.
The car's Interior Design Manager Gael Buzyn explained to us the touch-sensitive nature of the interior controls, with small movements able to bring you from one folder to the next, while more brisk movements will allow you to zip though numerous folders at a time. The touch-sensitive nature also works for the four individual climate control screens. By sliding one finger its possible to adjust the temperature, while using two fingers will adjust both temperature and fan speed.
Much of the interior is ultra-modern and isn't likely to be seen in any Cadillac, but the impressive dash screen, watch-styled speedometer and even the blue stitching could arrive in the not-to-distant future.
"While small in size, this concept is an exploration of what Cadillac could be in the future, as the brand continues to focus on redefining industry standards for advanced vehicle design and integrated technology," said Don Butler, vice president for Cadillac marketing.
That being said, Cadillac is certainly testing the waters to see about bringing the brand into the sub-compact segment – especially as it plans to launch the Verano compact luxury car in the coming year. There's definitely room in this space for Cadillac and a move like this could certainly help the brand overseas, although it's hard to see anyone falling in love with the ULC's design.
More: LA 2010: Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept (ULC) Explores the Premium SubCompact Segment [Video]