Cadillac unveils tonight in California the Elmiraj Concept, a design exercise expressing the emotion of driving a 2-door grand coupe, but also explicitly indicating the direction of a future product from the General Motors luxury brand.

“Elmiraj provides a look inside the Cadillac Studio on how we envision performance and luxury for the next generation of luxury drivers,” Bob Ferguson, senior vice president-Global Cadillac, says in a statement ahead of the unveiling.

Press material obtained in advance of the concept’s debut at the annual Pebble Beach Concourse d ’Elegance also says while the Elmiraj signals the next step in Cadillac’s Art & Science design philosophy, it uses a chassis and other structural elements of a vehicle under development for future production.

A 4.5L turbocharged V-8 making an estimated 500 hp motivates the 4-seat, rear-wheel-drive car. The engine uses baseline technology from the 420-hp, 3.6L twin-turbo V-6 coming in the ’14 CTS Vsport edition.

The Elmiraj stretches some 205 ins. (521 cm), making it 3 ins. (8 cm) longer than the XTS large sedan currently in production, and tips the scales at a similar 4,000 lbs. (1,814 kg).

Those dimensions, which include a long dash-to-axle aspect to hint at its V-8 power, would suggest General Motors’ plans for a range-topping touring car at Cadillac remain on the table.

GM boasts of the presence and poise of the Elmiraj, which as a design statement picks up where the 4-door Ciel Concept unveiled at Pebble Beach two years ago left off.

“Elmiraj advances Cadillac’s provocative modern design and performance, contrasted with bespoke craftsmanship and luxury,” says Mark Adams, design director-Cadillac. “It explores performance driving, as well as how we’re approaching elevating the Cadillac range and new dimensions of Art & Science philosophy.”

The Elmiraj takes its name from El Mirage Lake, a dry lake bed in the California desert where a half-century of high-speed time trials for performance machines was held. It also subtly recalls the Cadillac Eldorado, a classic large coupe from which it draws design and performance inspiration.

“This concept is the second chapter, following the Ciel Concept, of our exploration of the personas of true luxury,” Clay Dean, executive director-Advanced Design at GM, says in a statement.

“This project originated around the simple persona of ‘the drive,’ or the visceral experience of driving a great luxury coupe. It’s an expression of the confidence and poise you feel driving a high-performance car, which we feel is an essential element of top-level luxury.”

Key elements of performance statement include a pair of functional vents in the long hood of the Elmiraj, which serve as hot-air outlets for the V-8 engine. Its 22x9-in. wheels are backed by large ceramic brakes with Cadillac mono-block calipers. The blue exterior finish wears the Vsport designation, the new line of performance-edition cars from the brand slotting under the V-Series line.

The exterior of the Elmiraj also carries a new interpretation of the classic Cadillac badge. The badge has been tinkered with on and off during Cadillac’s lifetime and could be an indication of another new execution coming soon.

The interior of the concept is bedecked with bespoke items such as backlit titanium trim, camel leather and handpicked, fallen Brazilian Rosewood.

Instrumentation includes a transparent analog tachometer and speedometer. Directly behind the gauges is a wide-screen, high-resolution display projecting driver information, as well as images from a front-mounted camera. A 10-in. (25-cm) touchscreen for navigation and connectivity can be concealed inside the instrument panel when not in use.

High-performance seats accommodate the occupants and rear-seat passengers enjoy valet doors for easier ingress and egress.

The Elmiraj concept was penned by Cadillac’s studios in North Hollywood, CA, under the direction of Frank Saucedo. It was hand-built by in-house craftsmen in Michigan.

jamend@wardsauto.com