Cadillac Elmiraj concept coupe

Cadillac reveals the Elmiraj concept in Carmel, Calif. The Elmiraj four-seat, rear-wheel-drive coupe offers a look into a future Cadillac product. (Cadillac News Photo / August 15, 2013)

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Cadillac tipped its hand on future plans Thursday night in Carmel, Calif., revealing a dramatic full-size coupe concept called the Elmiraj.

While General Motors has no plans to put the concept into production, it's a strong indication of where its luxury brand is headed.

“Elmiraj provides a look inside the Cadillac Studio on how we envision performance and luxury for the next generation of luxury drivers,” said Bob Ferguson, senior vice president of Cadillac.

PHOTOS: Cadillac debuts Elmiraj Concept Coupe

Cadillac sales for 2013 have been strong, with the company's all-new ATS compact sports sedan selling well, and even the aging Escalade full-size SUV remains popular with buyers.

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Yet conspicuously absent in its lineup is a full-size rear-wheel-drive sedan to compete with the likes of the Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8, or BMW 7-Series.

Bringing such a car to market is a massively expensive proposition for any company, yet a model like this is seen as crucial for Cadillac as it continues its decadelong turnaround into a globally competitive luxury brand.

Currently, Cadillac's lineup of cars ends with the front-wheel-drive XTS, which isn't competitive with the aforementioned Europeans.

One crucial element of bringing such a car to market is its engine. A V-8 is considered necessary to compete, something Cadillac doesn't currently have in its cars. With this in mind, the Elmiraj concept is powered by 4.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 making an estimated 500 horsepower.

This engine is loosely based on a twin-turbocharged production V-6 engine that will be available soon in Cadillac's all-new CTS sedan.

Aesthetically, the Elmiraj picks up where the Ciel left off. That concept four-seat convertible -- which debuted at Pebble Beach in 2011 -- was more dramatic, whereas this new coupe appears closer to a car destined for production.

The Elmiraj also drew inspiration from the 1967 Cadillac Eldorado, said Clay Dean, executive director of advanced design -- not only in terms of that car's styling, but also in how it signaled a design departure for the brand at that time.

Cadillac even drew the impromptu attention of Clint Eastwood, who ventured over from his neighboring estate to check out the press debut of the Elmiraj. The veteran actor and director was seen chatting with various Cadillac executives on hand and pacing around the Elmiraj concept. No word on whether he put down a deposit.

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