Cadillac Vizón

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Vizón, Cadillac's latest and most provocative concept vehicle - making its European debut at the Geneva International Motor Show - is an all-wheel-drive luxury activity vehicle. It is the logical next embodiment for the new Cadillac house style previously seen in the Evoq roadster and the Imaj luxury sports sedan. Both earlier concepts had their first European outing at Geneva, Evoq in 1999 and Imaj last year.

The spotlight now on Vizón reasserts Cadillac's intention to appear on the global stage in an increasing number of market segments. The clean design of the car-based all-wheel-drive Vizón explores new ground in a growing luxury activity vehicle market as the newest expression of Cadillac's vision of art and science. Vizón is intended for successful, active-lifestyle people who want a vehicle with unexpected styling, flexible functional space and all-weather control. It is versatile enough for a mountain weekend at a smart ski resort, an opera trip, or a night on the town.

The exterior is simplified and clean, yet retains the sharp-edged form vocabulary of Evoq and Imaj, with traditional Cadillac cues such as the large, egg-crate grille and vertical taillights and headlights. The interior offers full amenities for four occupants, unique luggage storage, and sophisticated levels of technology and equipment. As with Imaj and the forthcoming production version of the luxury roadster inspired by Evoq, Cadillac has enlisted luxury jeweler Bvlgari to add its unique, refined touches to Vizón's instrument panel. "Vizón represents art and science taken to new, unexpected levels," says Wayne Cherry, vice president, GM design and portfolio centers. "It is an alternative to conventional sport-utilities and wagons, offering their best features in one vehicle."

Vizón achieves its goal of obtaining luxury in a clean, minimalist approach thanks in part to its high stance and flush computer-generated surfaces interrupted only by simple wheel flares that lend a dramatic stance. The egg-crate look extends to the vertical side vents, the "gills" just fore of the front doors. The vents are closed when the car is at rest; activate the ignition and the vents open automatically, to draw out heat and help cool the engine.

A large two-piece sunroof provides open-air driving, and an integrated roof rack makes it easy to haul bicycles or anything else that dictates a rooftop ride. Small video cameras replace side mirrors. They are hidden when the vehicle is not in use and fold out when the key is turned, to project rear images to the driver. A large center-high-mounted-stoplight (CHMSL) runs full-width and laps up over the top surface of the rear glass, glowing when the brakes are applied, but otherwise remaining body-colored. There are polished aluminum seven-spoke wheels, with Goodyear EMT run-flat tires.

Interior: focus on style, comfort and technology

Vizón's interior, with a rich tonality and a relaxing warmth, features leather seating with integrated heating and cooling. The leather seats themselves are "floating" on trusses-there are no seat frames, which creates comfort for the passenger and more room underneath the seats for cargo storage or rear passenger footroom. The instrument panel is hidden away when the car is at rest, but with ignition on, a sliding cover opens to reveal a reconfigurable three-panel display, which allows the driver to choose how data about the car-mph/kph, rpm, fuel, temperature, etc. is presented. The interior uses materials such as polished and brushed metals, smooth grained leather, wood inserts and milled aluminum crafted to feel smooth and pleasing to the touch. Lighting is inspired by contemporary home lighting - clean and minimal but still warm and inviting.

For passenger entertainment and convenience, there are built-in video screens on the seatbacks and a DVD player, and a premium Bose® sound system. Vizón also offers GM's OnStar 2.6 Virtual Advisor, which includes hands-free Personal Calling. Vizón also includes the Night Vision system, that uses infrared cameras to project images far down the road onto a windshield head-up display. Night Vision extends three-to-five times the range of low-beam headlights and double the range of high-beam headlights, and helps drivers see beyond headlight glare from oncoming vehicles. Ultrasonic Rear Parking aids rear parking maneuvers, using audio and visual cues to convey information on the closeness of objects behind the vehicle.

Another Vizón technological advance is the use of EZ Key, which identifies the owner through a key fob chip. When the system senses the chip (and therefore the driver) within range, it unlocks the car and sets the seating and mirrors to the driver's position. Fingerprint recognition on the steering wheel starts the vehicle. The side vents open, the instrument panel appears, the side cameras unfold, and a laptop computer emerges from its storage spot in the center console.

The powered rear liftgate opens to reveal a spacious cargo area. The rear load floor is power-operated, sliding outward for easy loading or raising straight up to create a second load shelf that remains above the floor. The entire rear cargo area is appointed with brushed aluminum tie-downs and hooks with integrated lights to aid loading. Underneath the liftgate, a utility storage door drops down and forward, like overhead bin doors on some aircraft.

The use of quality materials extends to underneath the hood. The engine surfaces and understructure are dressed in satin charcoal black and machined aluminum with anodized accents, with machined valve covers in anodized charcoal finish. Steel-bodied Vizón rides on an all-new, highly sophisticated, high-performance global architecture that can be adapted for either four-wheel or rear-wheel drive. Under the hood is a Cadillac staple: Northstar power. The 4.6-liter Northstar V8 generates 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft (420 Nm) of torque, and power is fed to all four wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission.

The powertrain and drive system is expertly managed by the next evolution of StabiliTrak, the most advanced integrated stability control system in the world. Sensors in the vehicle measure steering angle and other inputs from the driver, to determine what he or she wants the car to do. If the car is not responding appropriately, a computer selectively applies the individual brakes to help keep the car on the intended course. The new StabiliTrak system also features active steering effort compensation, which temporarily raises steering effort in low-traction or emergency-maneuver situations, to improve stability and lateral traction if significant side slip is detected.

Self-assured and well-mannered on the road

Vizón features Delphi's MRTM Technology, a semi-active suspension control system that optimizes vehicle ride and handling by providing continuously variable real-time damping control based on road and driver inputs. The vehicle also features an adaptive cruise control system that monitors traffic ahead and automatically adjusts the car's speed to maintain a safe following distance. When the obstruction clears, Vizón resumes its set cruising speed. Its many safety attributes include front and side air bags, ABS, Night Vision, rear-view video system, rear park assist, side object detection, tire pressure monitoring and run-flats, and the all-wheel-drive system.

In short, Vizón unites the nimble ride and handling of a sports sedan with the sure-footed power and spacious practicality of an all-wheel-drive performance wagon and the safety and increased ride height of a sport-utility vehicle.

Cadillac Vizón

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