Smaller vehicles have always been a necessity in Europe prompting the development of high end small cars; a shift in North American priorities from size and horsepower to carbon footprint and fuel economy have created a space for these cars. The Audi A3 and Lexus HS are already on our shores while BMW and Mercedes have city cars in the works. Cadillac has thrown their hat in the ring with the premier of the Urban Luxury Concept at the L.A. Auto Show.
At 151 inches long it's slightly shorter than an Aveo5 hatchback, but it still packs in all the flash of their larger models. The car's tall narrow exterior carries the brand's "Art and Design" styling which makes this tall hatchback look less like an econocar and more like a set piece from "Tron." Two large Koenigsegg-like doors rotate outward and forward to give access to both the front and rear seats. While this design has been cited by both companies as a way to make entering and leaving the car easier in crowded streets, it is easy to have the front end wedge itself against a curb. Inside a combination of touch screens and projectors replace traditional interfaces to save space, but the plush interior remains.
Like every other concept car these days, this car is a hybrid. Details on the electric motor are sketchy, but gasoline power comes from a turbocharged 1.0l three cylinder engine. GM estimates the car's fuel economy at 56 mpg city and 65 mpg highway.
Will the Urban Luxury Concept be put into production? While the doors probably aren't feasible for production, it's likely that Cadillac will produce a similar car to compete both here and abroad. The engine has already been announced for use in GM's other small cars, so it would be no surprise to see it coupled to a hybrid system to bring it upmarket for Cadillac's customer base. The car would also be necessary for the brand to be competitive in European and Asian markets; this gives the ULC a strong business case.