Update: Entire story updated.
The Cadillac Celestiq is the pinnacle of electric luxury from GM’s stable. Seen as an effort to restore the former glory of the American brand, the highly futuristic electric sedan will attract customers from not only Mercedes-Maybach but also standalone exotic brands like Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Take a look at what we know of the new Cadillac flagship:
The Cadillac Celestiq is a flamboyant sedan with dramatic design elements, unique proportions, and large dimensions. It’s bound to turn heads with awe wherever it goes. While it looks like a fastback, Cadillac is calling it a sedan, and in the words of Chief Engineer Tony Roma – it’s the body style that “offers the very best luxury experience.” Like the Cadillac Lyriq, the Celestiq follows the ‘Art of Travel’ design language.
The elongated hood leads straight to the impressive but vast front fascia, which features a backlit Cadillac ‘Crest’ insignia and a full-width LED light bar with integrated turn indicators. The ‘Black Crystal Shield’ grille section with integrated LED signatures and the large housings for the vertically-arranged LED headlights both feature aluminum trim. The Celestiq detects its customer through its key fob from a distance of approximately 15 feet and greets them with intricately choreographed light animations.
The bold yet elegant silhouette of the Celestiq is further heightened by the gracefully sloping roofline, massive C-pillars, and 23-inch forged aluminum wheels wrapped with custom Michelin Pilot Sport EV tires sporting ‘Cadillac Precision’ pattern on the sidewall. There are no physical door handles disrupting the beautiful bodywork on the sides. The doors are operated electrically with a button.
At the rear, the Celestiq features an unusual curvy shape and a large Cadillac Crest. The split L-shaped taillights look interesting, with the upper half ‘pushing’ into the C-pillars that lend a distinct identity to the flagship vehicle. Also worth noting is the illuminated model inscription beside the upper half of the right-side tail light.
According to Exterior Design Manager Taki Karras, every panel or piece of trim on the outside of the Celestiq that looks like metal is real metal. Aluminum is present all around, from the large grille, vertical headlamps, and eTrunk at the front to the rocker panels on the sides, and the tail lamp and liftgate body openings at the rear. Premium materials used on the exterior include carbon fiber used in as well.
Interior & features
Inside, the Cadillac Celestiq raises the bar for opulence with a futuristic design, exquisite details, and innovative features. It’s a four-seater with a reductive interior that is clean and simple and yet looks extravagant with sophisticated technologies and new-age, sustainable materials.
Cadillac’s ‘Art of Travel’ design language extends to the interior of the Celestiq. Handcrafted materials and trim create a plush and bespoke cabin experience for its four occupants. The general design relies on minimalism and continuity between surfaces and their respective finishes, while the high-quality materials and an almost-unlimited scope for customization should please even the most discerning of the elites.
The interior lighting of the Celestiq comprises over 450 LEDs, with individual customers being able to order personalized lighting zones as per their requirements. Similar to the exterior, the interior also gets its own light choreography and has up to 18 different animations on offer. The wide variety of colors, finishes, and materials has been made possible courtesy of the brand’s in-house design team — hand-finished metal trim and hand-wrapped leather upholstery are just some of this car’s ultra-luxury additives.
Customers who are passionate about technology will find the Celestiq’s dashboard to be its most appealing feature. It integrates an end-to-end 55-inch HD LED display. It’s not exactly a single screen, though. Two displays, one on the driver side — with an 8K-like resolution — and one on the passenger side form this ultra-wide 55-inch digital real estate.
The driver-side screen serves as the instrument cluster, while the passenger-side screens act as the interface for multimedia features, and internet & smartphone connectivity options, apart from displaying more non-driving-related information. ‘Digital Blinds Active Privacy’ technology means that only the passenger can view these screens.
In total, the Celestiq has five screens in the cabin. The Rear Command Center features an 8-inch touchscreen panel to allow rear-seat occupants to control many of the car’s advanced HVAC, multimedia, seating, and glass roof functions. The system also allows for remote closing or opening of the doors. Then there are two 12.6-inch entertainment displays mounted on the front seatbacks, one for each rear passenger.
The Celestiq comes with several Google Built-In features such as Google Assistant, Google Maps, Google Play Store, and live traffic updates among others. Cadillac has equipped the Celestiq with connected camera technology. This feature will allow owners to keep an eye on the exterior and interior of their cars from remote locations via a smartphone app. The safety feature will also be able to detect theft and can even record an accident/crash.
Smart Glass Roof with SPD technology
The Celestiq has a fixed all-glass roof panel, officially claimed to be the largest of its kind in the entire auto industry, with Suspended Particle Device (SPD) technology. Customers can change the opacity of the four individual zones from less than 1% (dark tint) to up to 20% (standard tint). To ensure the cabin’s temperature remains within safe limits and to prevent excessive sunlight, the glass panel gets special infrared reflective and low-emissivity coatings.
SPD Smart Glass roof would be an attractive feature for enhanced comfort in countries with a hot climate, particularly in the Middle East, where Cadillac is leading GM’s electrification efforts. It is worth noting that the Middle East is the luxury brand’s largest market outside China and North America. The Cadillac Lyriq has already received the green signal for the region, and the Celestiq could be the next EV.
SPD Smart Glass roof allows individual passengers to control the opacity of their respective roof sections. This glass should help the car’s driving range, as Mercedes test data has shown that it can reduce the cabin’s temperature – as much as 18 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) – to keep it to an optimal level and reduce the load on the air-conditioner.
Apart from the acoustic windshield, all exterior glass surfaces of the Celestiq feature their own acoustic lamination. Even the Smart Glass Roof is made from a special noise-dampening glass that’s 7.5mm (0.3 in.) thick, while there’s also ‘Next Generation Active Road Noise Cancellation’ technology to maintain the tranquility of this Cadillac EV’s cabin.
38-speaker sound system
The Cadillac Celestiq comes with a 38-speaker AKG Studio Reference Audio System that has been custom-engineered to deliver a high-quality, distortion-free, and rich sound signature. The system employs 30 channels and 3D surround-sound technology, along with intelligent features such as Conversation Enhancement, Vehicle Noise Compensation, and Electric Vehicle Sound Enhancement. There are also 4 external speakers as part of Cadillac’s new ‘Vehicle Exterior Sound System’ that plays various propulsion sounds as a safety feature for pedestrians.
The Celestiq is the first car featuring a ‘Gentherm ClimateSense’ four-zone microclimate system, which consists of 33 separate microclimate devices, as standard. All four occupants enjoy the same level of individualization, be it for the heated, cooled, and ventilated seats, the heated armrests, or the neck scarf of the headrests.
The Celestiq boasts GM’s most advanced hands-free ADAS – Ultra Cruise. It is hardware required for Ultra Cruise functions, and it will get OTA updates in 2024 to be able to use the same.
GM has designed Ultra Cruise to handle 95% of all driving scenarios on all paved roads in the U.S. and Canada. At launch, Ultra Cruise will cover more than 2 million miles of roads in the U.S. and Canada, and at a later stage, the coverage will expand to more than 3.4 million miles. Apart from highways, Ultra Cruise will work in city streets, subdivision streets, and paved rural roads.
A ‘Remote Auto Parking’ system allows the Celestiq to perform parallel or perpendicular parking maneuvers without any direct inputs from the driver. The Celestiq can also be remotely controlled, with the additional ability to maneuver out of tight parking spaces.
The Cadillac Celestiq is based on the GM BEV3 Ultium platform, which also underpins the Lyriq. The development of this car started much before Ultium tech, and unsurprisingly, Cadillac intended the sedan to have an internal combustion engine!
The Celestiq’s underbody includes six large precision sand-cast aluminum components, each of which reduce part count by 30 to 40 components, compared to typical stamped construction. Increased space, simplicity, and improved structural rigidity are the benefits of mega castings, something you may have mostly heard when talking about the Tesla Model Y so far. Moreover, just like in the Tesla SUV-coupe, the battery pack of the Cadillac sedan forms part of its structure, improving the car’s strength, durability, and performance.
The Celestiq has 5-link front & rear adaptive air suspension with Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, Active Roll Control, and Active Rear Spoiler also for high responsiveness and comfort. Active Rear Steering, which can turn the rear wheels by up to 3.5 degrees, improves its high-speed stability and low-speed maneuverability
The Celestiq is a twin-motor AWD car as standard. Its zero-emission powertrain develops a GM-est. 600 horsepower and 640 lb.-ft. of torque. The gear ratios are different from all other EVs based on Ultium platforms – 11.59:1 (front) and 11.63:1 (rear). The GM-est. 0-60 mph acceleration time of the ultimate Cadillac is 3.8 seconds. One-pedal driving is possible in the full-size electric sedan.
Range & charging
The two motors get their energy from a standard 111 kWh battery pack that consists of cells mounted horizontally, enabling the car’s long, low, and lean proportions. The peak charging power is just 200 kW, embarrassingly low considering the car’s class, price, and launch timeline.
Charging for 10 minutes using a DC fast-charger adds a Cadillac-est. 78 miles of range. On a full charge, the 111 kWh battery pack delivers a GM-est. range of 300 miles in the Celestiq. Ultium Charge 360 will allow Celestiq customers to access more than 110,000 public chargers in the U.S. and Canada.
Cadillac Celestiq production will happen at the GM Global Technical Center in Warren (Michigan), USA, from December 2023. The flagship Cadillac sedan will be the first production vehicle made at this facility. GM will invest more than USD 81 million into this campus to prepare it for the production of the Celestiq. This capital will go into purchasing and installing the equipment required for hand-building the car, and campus renovation has already begun.
On October 27, 2022, GM said that it will assemble only up to 6 units of the Celestiq simultaneously. On December 9, 2022, Tony Roma, the car’s Chief Engineer, told Autoline Network (via YouTube) that the company plans to make just around two units per day. At that rate, GM will build not more than ~730 Celestiqs annually.
The Celestiq has 115 3D-printed parts, including the steering wheel, seat belt adjustable guide loop, window switches, console decor, grab handles, and structural elements under the car’s surface.
Price & release date
Prices of the Cadillac Celestiq will start at over USD 300,000, which sounds absolutely crazy! That’s more than double what the most expensive Cadillac costs today (Escalade-V – USD 149,695). Customers need to join a waitlist to buy it. We expect deliveries to begin in January 2024.
Roma revealed that GM has received far more orders than it can fulfill within the first 12-18 months. Moreover, he said that the company will likely have a selection process in place when it comes to allotting cars to customers, citing low production volume as one of the factors.
The stupendously high price and limited production would make the Celestiq a niche model and tech demonstrator. It’s a chance to showcase what the brand is capable of and impress EV adopters, not spinning volumes.
According to a report from GMAuthority.com, GM is testing the Mercedes EQS as it sees the German model as a benchmark for its upcoming electric sedan. The report suggests that the company likely considers even the Lucid Air a solid potential Cadillac Celestiq rival.
Also See: Rolls-Royce Spectre vs. Cadillac Celestiq: Plush electric luxobarge matchup
While there are ultra-luxury nameplates in the market, the Cadillac Celestiq is America’s response to a niche that’s meant only for a select few wealthy individuals. Being a halo model, the Celestiq should turn out to be an extremely interesting case study for General Motors as well as other brands on how very expensive electric cars are perceived by the car-buying public. That said, we are quite certain that Cadillac will continue to garner interest for the Celestiq for a long time.
Cadillac Celestiq FAQs
What is the Cadillac Celestiq release date?
The Celestiq’s deliveries will likely start in January 2024.
What is the Cadillac Celestiq price projection?
The Celestiq will be priced at over USD 300,000.
What are the rivals to the Cadillac Celestiq?
No direct rivals, but at its price, the Taycan Turbo S, Lucid Air, and the Mercedes EQS with all the options ticked, come close!
Featured image: GM