Three months ago, Cadillac unveiled a “show car” version of the Celestiq, the brand’s ultra-luxury battery-powered sedan. Today I got to spend some time with the production model, and yowza, it’s a damn good looking car with an exorbitant price tag to boot.
Sure, paying north of $300,000 for a car is out of reach for most of us, but Cadillac is aiming for the 1% of the 1% here with the 2024 Celestiq, offering customization beyond the reach of ultra brands. -luxury like Bentley and even Rolls-Royce.
Cadillac is aiming for the 1% of the 1%
As with other handcrafted vehicles, customers can opt for custom paint, leather, and rim colors, but General Motors takes customization to a whole new level. Thanks to the myriad of 3D printed parts – 115 of them to be exact – the company can offer more options for personal flair. Want your signature on the steering wheel? No problem! How about a special hatch pattern on an inside bit? With 3D printed metal trim, it’s easy to modify computer files for a totally unique look.
One thing buyers probably won’t want to change is the powertrain. Each axle carries its own motor, and together they produce around 600 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque. Additionally, the company claims it can sprint from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in 3.8 seconds. For a vehicle longer than an Escalade, that’s quite an achievement.
The 111 kWh Ultium battery stores enough electrons for an estimated range of 300 miles, and the Celestiq can accept a charge of up to 200 kW. Provided you can find a high-speed charger that pumps out that much juice, you’ll get 78 miles of range in just 10 minutes. Owners will have access to Ultium Charge 360, a collaboration of more than 110,000 public charging stations in the United States and Canada.
You will be able to find these charging stations on the Google Maps navigation system integrated into the central section of the huge 55-inch diagonal high-definition screen. Ahead of the driver is a cluster of customizable digital gauges, while passengers get their own slice of the digital pie.
Streaming content for the passenger is possible, but the screen is hidden from the driver to minimize distractions. There’s also an 11-inch Front Command Center touchscreen as well as an eight-inch screen for rear passengers and two 12.6-inch rear entertainment screens. I haven’t had a chance to play with any of the screens, but there are clearly plenty of them.
The show car’s interior is upholstered in blue leather with plush blue floor mats that feel like they’re made from the softest lambswool. Everything in the car that looks like metal is metal. It may be 3D printed, but it’s been brushed and polished by hand, with a plush tactile feel.
The glass roof panel allows four distinct areas of light to enter through the roof. When set to the darkest level, only 1% of exterior light reaches the interior. Although this may consist of up to 20% of available sunlight, it will not affect indoor temperature. The pattern on the glass itself is really cool, reminiscent of a futuristic, tronaesthetic that matches the sophisticated luxury of the interior.
The 2 plus 2 seating configuration offers plenty of space in both rows, while the fastback profile allows for a fair amount of storage in the rear hatch area. There is a frunk, but I couldn’t take a look. A Cadillac rep told me it’s big enough for a backpack, but I’ll have to watch it to be sure.
I haven’t had a chance to drive the Celestiq, but from the sound of it, this sedan should feel like driving a cloud. I was expecting adaptive air suspension and all-wheel drive, but the Celestiq takes things a step further with Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 and Active Roll Control.
There’s a frunk, but I couldn’t take a look at it
Magnetic Ride Control is a piece of engineering magic that allows the suspension to react to road imperfections in milliseconds for an ultra-smooth ride. I’ve experienced it in other Cadillac products, and it’s one of the best upgrades you can make to a performance car. The latest version of the Celestiq should make potholes as smooth as butter.
Active Roll Control uses the vehicle’s 48-volt electrical architecture and front and rear stabilizer bars to keep the sedan flat in turns. Again, I haven’t driven the thing, but if all components work as advertised, the Celestiq should ride like a dream.
All the usual advanced driver aids will be featured on the Celestiq with the addition of Ultra Cruise, set to debut in 2023. This system uses mapped roads and integrated lidar to accelerate, brake and steer on almost 2 million kilometers of roads in Canada and the United States. Over-the-air updates will keep technology current.
From the outside, the Celestiq strikes a unique pose. Doors open and close at the touch of a button and, like the Lyriq, drivers are treated to a choreographed light dance as they approach the vehicle.
From the outside, the Celestiq strikes a unique pose
While the front end is distinctly Cadillac, the long dash-to-axle ratio and low roof only exaggerate the car’s stretched wheelbase. The sleek fastback profile gives it an edgy look not seen from Cadillac in years past. Angled taillights extend to the wheel arches, a design cue featured on the Lyriq electric SUV. Those wheel arches are filled with huge 23-inch rollers wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport EV summer tires only.
The first Cadillac Celestiq will be built in December 2023 at the company’s Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. Although Cadillac plans to keep the Celestiq in its portfolio for many years to come, don’t expect to see too many of them down the road. In addition to its price tag of more than $300,000, Cadillac estimates it will only be able to build two vehicles a day, or about 500 each year. If you have the coin and the tilt you can put down a deposit at www.cadillac.com
Photographs by Emme Hall for The Verge