Three months ago, Cadillac revealed a “show car” version of the Celestiq, the brand’s ultra-luxury battery-powered sedan. Today I got to spend time with the production model, and yowza, this is one damn fine car with a sky-high price tag.
Sure, paying north of $300,000 for a car is out of reach for most of us, but Cadillac is going after the 1 percent of the 1 percent here with the 2024 Celestiq, offering customization beyond the reach of uber-luxury brands like Bentley and even with Rolls-Royce.
Cadillac goes after the 1 percent of the 1 percent
As with other hand-built vehicles, customers can choose custom paint, leather and wheel colors, but General Motors takes personalization to a whole other level. Thanks to the countless 3D printed parts – 115 of them to be exact – the company can offer more options for personal style. Do you want your signature on the steering wheel? No problem! How about a special hatching pattern on an inside bit? With 3D printed metal fittings, it is easy to change the data files for a completely unique look.
One thing buyers probably won’t want to change is the powertrain. Each axle has its own motor, and together they produce an estimated 600 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque. Furthermore, the company says 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 a feat.
The 111 kWh Ultium battery stores enough electrons for an estimated 300 miles of range, and the Celestiq can accept a charge of up to 200 kW. Assuming you 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 partnership of over 110,000 public charging stations in the US and Canada.
You’ll be able to find these charging stations on the Google Maps navigation system embedded in the center section of the massive 55-inch diagonal HD screen. In front of the driver is a customizable digital gauge cluster, while passengers get their own piece of the digital pie.
Streaming content for the passenger is possible, but the screen is shaded from the driver to minimize distraction. There is also an 11-inch Front Command Center touchscreen as well as an eight-inch screen for the rear passengers and two 12.6-inch rear seat entertainment screens. I didn’t get a chance to play with any of the monitors, but apparently there are a lot of them.
The interior of the show car is covered in blue leather with snug blue floor mats that feel like they are made from the softest lambswool available. 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 sumptuous tactile feel.
The glass roof panel allows four distinct light zones to enter through the roof. When set to the darkest level, only 1 percent of the light gets outside the interior. Although it can be dialed up to 20 percent of the available sunlight, it will not affect the internal temperature. The pattern on the glass itself is very cool, evoking a futuristic, Throne-like aesthetics that match the sophisticated luxury of the interior.
The 2-plus-2 seating configuration offers plenty of space in both rows, while the fastback profile provides plenty of storage space in the tailgate area. It’s a miss, but I couldn’t look at it. A Cadillac rep told me it was big enough for a backpack, but I’d have to look at it to be sure.
I didn’t get a chance to drive the Celestiq, but from the sounds of it, this sedan should be akin to driving a cloud. I expected adaptive air suspension and four-wheel drive, but the Celestiq goes a little further with Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 and Active Roll Control.
It’s a miss, but I couldn’t look at it
Magnetic Ride Control is a piece of engineering magic that allows the suspension to react to road imperfections within milliseconds for an ultra-smooth ride. I’ve experienced it in other Cadillac products and it’s one of the best upgrades you can do in a performance car. The latest version in Celestiq should make potholes as smooth as butter.
Active Roll Control uses the 48-volt electrical architecture and the vehicle’s front and rear sway bars to keep the sedan flat in corners. Again, I haven’t driven the thing, but if all components work as advertised, the Celestiq should run like a dream.
All of the usual advanced driving assistants will be featured on the Celestiq with the addition of Ultra Cruise, which is expected to debut in 2023. This system uses mapped roads and an integrated lidar to accelerate, brake and steer on nearly 2 million miles of roads in Canada and the United States . Over-the-air updates will keep the technology fresh.
From the outside, the Celestiq has a unique pose. The doors open and close at the push 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 has a unique pose
While the front end is distinctly Cadillac, the long dash-to-axle ratio and low-slung roof only exaggerate the car’s extended wheelbase. The sleek fastback profile gives it an avant-garde look not seen from Cadillac in years past. Angular taillights extend all the way to the wheel wells, a design element of the Lyriq electric SUV. Those wheel wells are filled with massive 23-inch rollers wrapped in summer-only Michelin Pilot Sport EV tires.
The first Cadillac Celestiq will be built in December 2023 at the company’s Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. While Cadillac plans to keep the Celestiq in its portfolio for years to come, don’t expect to see too many on the road. In addition to the $300,000-plus price tag, Cadillac estimates it will only be able to build two cars per day, or about 500 each year. If you have the coin and the inclination, you can make a deposit at www.cadillac.com
Photographs by Emme Hall for The Verge