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 a damn fine-looking automobile with a sky-high price tag to boot.
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 that is beyond the scope of uber-luxury brands like Bentley and even Rolls-Royce.
Cadillac is going after the 1 percent of the 1 percent
As with other hand-built vehicles, customers can opt for custom paint, leather, and wheel colors, but General Motors is taking personalization to a whole other level. Thanks to the myriad 3D-printed parts — 115 of them to be exact — the company can offer more options for personal flair. You want your signature on the steering wheel? No problem! How about a special crosshatch pattern on an interior bit? With 3D-printed metal trim, it’s easy to change up the computer files for a totally unique look.
One thing buyers likely won’t want to change is the power train. Each axle carries its own motor, and together, they produce an estimated 600 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque. Further, the company says it can sprint from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in 3.8 seconds. For a vehicle that is longer than an Escalade, that is quite a feat.
The 111kWh Ultium battery stores enough electrons for an estimated 300 miles of range, and the Celestiq can accept a charge of up to 200kW. Provided you can find a high-speed charger pumping 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 over 110,000 public charging stations in the United States and Canada.
You’ll be able to find those charging stations on the Google Maps navigation system built into the center section of the massive 55-inch diagonal high-definition display. 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 shadowed 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-seat passengers and two 12.6-inch rear-seat entertainment screens. I didn’t get the chance to play with any of the screens, but there are clearly a lot of them.
The interior of the display car is covered in blue leather with snuggly blue floor mats that feel like they were made from the softest lambswool in existence. Anything 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 for four distinct zones of light entering through the roof. When set to the darkest level, only 1 percent of outside light makes it to the interior. Although that can be dialed up to 20 percent of available sunlight, it won’t affect the interior temperature. The pattern on the glass itself is really cool, evoking a futuristic, Tron-like aesthetic that fits with the sophisticated luxury of the interior.
The 2-plus-2 seating configuration offers plenty of room 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 was not able to snag a look at it. A Cadillac representative told me it was large enough for a backpack, but I’ll have to get eyes on it to know for sure.
I didn’t get a chance to drive the Celestiq, but from the sound of it, this sedan should be akin to driving a cloud. I expected adaptive air suspension and all-wheel drive, but the Celestiq goes a bit further with Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 and Active Roll Control.
There is a frunk, but I was not able to snag 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 in a performance car. The latest version in the Celestiq should make potholes as smooth as butter.
The Active Roll Control uses the 48-volt electrical architecture and the vehicle’s front and rear sway bars to keep the sedan flat in the corners. Again, I haven’t driven the thing, but if all components perform as advertised, the Celestiq should ride like a dream.
All the usual advanced-driving assists will be featured on the Celestiq with the addition of Ultra Cruise, which is expected to make its 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 strikes a unique pose. The doors open and close with 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 strikes a unique pose
While the front end is distinctly Cadillac, the long dash-to-axle ratio and low-slung roof just 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 featured on 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 many years to come, don’t expect to see too many on the road. In addition to its $300,000-plus price tag, Cadillac estimates it will only be able to build two vehicles per day, or about 500 each year. If you’ve got the coin and the inclination, you can put down a deposit at www.cadillac.com
Photographs by Emme Hall for The Verge