The 2024 Cadillac Celestiq will attempt to take the American luxury brand into the future and reclaim its past ‘Standard of the World’ glory.
The ultra-luxury electric flagship will enter production in December 2023, and will have a price tag “north of” US$300,000 (A$476,115).
For context, Cadillac’s most expensive model at present is the Escalade-V, which starts at US$149,695 (A$237,616). The Celestiq’s price puts it between V8 and W12 versions of the Bentley Flying Spur Mulliner in the US.
Cadillac hasn’t occupied this stratosphere since the hand-built Eldorado Brougham flagship of 1957-58, which cost more than a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud.
As befitting such an expensive flagship, no two Celestiq models will be alike. Each model will be personally commissioned, with clients working with a concierge to craft their model.
Each model will be produced at the General Motors Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan in a high-security “clean room”-type environment called the Artisan Center. No more than six vehicles will be assembled at any time.
It’ll be the first vehicle built at the Technical Center, with GM investing US$81 million (A$128.96 million) in the facility to support production.
The company says the Celestiq will receive the most ambitious quality program in the its 120-year history.
It’s underpinned by GM’s Ultium Platform, with a dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain and an 111kWh battery pack.
It produces 447kW of power and 868Nm of torque, with a claimed 0-60mph (0-96km/h) time of 3.8 seconds.
It has a claimed range of 483km, and supports 200kW DC fast charging. Cadillac claims it’ll take just 10 minutes to add 125km of range.
It’s the only Ultium-based vehicle with 11.59:1 front and 11.63:1 rear gear ratios, which Cadillac says were specially calibrated to optimise range and performance. As expected of a luxury EV, there’s also regenerative braking and a one-pedal driving feature.
It rides on adaptive air suspension with a five-link set-up front and rear, and features Magnetic Ride Control 4.0.
This is the latest version, also seen on the CT5-V Blackwing, of the magnetorheological damping technology the brand debuted on the 2002.5 Seville STS.
Other hardware includes Active Rear Steering, offering up to 3.5 degrees of out-of-phase rear steering, plus Active Roll Control and an active rear spoiler.
It also rides on large 23-inch wheels in ‘countless’ different colours, wrapped in specially labelled Michelin tyres.
Cadillac says the Celestiq will offer “the ultimate in ride refinement without sacrifices”, with “isolated precision” allowing the driver to “experience a luxury driving experience but still feel connected to the road”.
It also features six large precision sand-cast aluminium components on the underbody, with each casting reducing part count by 30 to 40 components, while inside and out there’s extensive use of 3D-printed pieces.
It will feature GM’s new Ultra Cruise Level 2+ autonomous driving technology, plus a remote parking feature that allows you to park your vehicle from outside of it.
A 48V electrical system supports the vehicle’s various convenience features and creature comforts.
Inside, a 55-inch screen runs from pillar to pillar, containing two separate screens under a single panel of glass.
A crystal multi-function controller can be used to navigate on the primary screen, and the infotainment features Google Built-In with Google Assistant and Google Maps.
The driver-side display has a claimed pixel density comparable to an 8K screen, while the passenger screen – which can play media and access the internet – is dimmed from the driver’s view using Digital Blinds Active Privacy technology.
Additional screens in the cabin include an 11-inch front console-mounted ‘Command Center’, an 8.0-inch screen on the rear console, plus 12.6-inch screens on each front seatback.
There’s a fixed glass roof with no sunshade, however it features suspended particle device technology with four adjustable zones, multi-colour ambient lighting and ‘lighting choreography’.
Hand-finished metalwork and hand-wrapped leather adorns the interior, while acoustic laminated glass keeps sound out.
Standard equipment includes four-zone climate control, plus heating, cooling and ventilation for all four seats plus heated armrests and a “neck scarf” feature.
There are 41 speakers all up, including a 38-speaker AKG Studio Reference Audio System for the interior plus three exterior speakers that provide “curated propulsion sounds”. There’s also active road noise cancellation for the cabin.
The exterior styling draws upon the new design themes debuted in the Lyriq crossover, but taken to the extreme due to the Celestiq’s outsized proportions.
There’s a long dash-to-axle ratio, while every metal surface on exterior is real metal, including the brushed aluminium body side trim and the cast aluminium grille.
The fender ‘Goddess’ has a unique crystal element with ‘premium’ LED lighting elements therein, while carbon fibre is also used on the exterior.
There are no physical door handles. Instead, the doors are power-operated and open and close with the push of a button.
The headlights and tail lights also offer charging status indicators, as seen on the GMC Hummer EV.
A choreographed light sequence, fanning out from the front Cadillac crest, occurs when you’re around 5m away from the Celestiq with the key fob.
As an ultra-luxury, upper-large flagship fastback, the Celestiq has essentially no competition.
Rolls-Royce’s first electric vehicle, the Spectre, will be a coupe and is due in 2023, while Bentley will introduce its first electric vehicle in 2026.
Like Bentley, Cadillac will only sell EVs after 2030.