2015 Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe Shine Light on Luxury-Car Trend


  • 2015 Cadillac Escalade Picture

    2015 Cadillac Escalade Picture

    The 2015 Cadillac Escalade's exterior lighting is inspired by Manhattan skyscrapers. | February 11, 2014

3 Photos

Just the Facts:
  • An electrifying trend is popping up among luxury automakers, including Cadillac, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, as they try to outdo each other with snazzy headlights.
  • The 2015 Cadillac Escalade features LED lighting inspired by Manhattan skyscrapers and fine-cut crystal.
  • The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe can be ordered with optional headlights featuring 47 Swarovski crystals, while the 2015 BMW i8 will be the first production vehicle equipped with new laser-light headlights.

DETROIT An electrifying trend is popping up among luxury automakers, including Cadillac, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, as they try to outdo each other with snazzy headlights.

The 2015 Cadillac Escalade features LED lighting inspired by Manhattan skyscrapers and fine-cut crystal, GM said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Iconic buildings, like the Hearst Tower in New York City, were a big inspiration due to the interplay of glass and metal," said Martin Davis, Cadillac exterior lighting design manager, in a statement.

Luxury automakers are busy tallying LED lights and Swarovski crystals to see if they can outdo each other.

GM said a total of 142 LEDs make up the front and rear lights of the 2015 Escalade. The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe can be ordered with optional headlights featuring 47 Swarovski crystals. Pricing has not been announced on that feature yet.

On Monday, BMW upped the ante even further by announcing that the 2015 BMW i8 will be the first production vehicle equipped with new laser-light headlights.

However, federal safety regulators have not yet given the green light to BMW's new headlights. Edmunds asked BMW's U.S. arm if the laser-light system has been approved for use here.

"As of now it isn't," wrote Dave Buchko, a BMW spokesman in an e-mailed reply. "We are still hoping to get some movement on this before the market launch here."

The i8 goes on sale here in the second quarter of 2014.

"While the basic version of the BMW i8 is equipped with high-intensity, energy-efficient full LED headlamps, the optional laser boost feature additionally ensures a high-beam range of up to 600 meters (.037 miles)," said BMW in a statement. "This means that the already high illumination range of the modern LED high beam is doubled."

Edmunds says: Lighting can provide an unmistakable signature for a luxury car and really set it apart from the pack.

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