After decades of false starts and teasing concepts, Cadillac is finally returning to the world of ‘ULTRAluxury vehicles with its all-new CELESTIQ. Picking up where the breathtaking 2003 Cadillac Sixteen left off, the Celestiq was reviewed as a concept earlier this year and now a full-scale production model will hit the road next year. However, this upcoming Cadillac flagship left many enthusiasts somewhat bitter, partly because of its design and partly because of its frankly astronomical $300,000 asking price.
Cadillac started out as a competitor to brands like Rolls-Royce. The American automaker was also an innovator throughout its history in the 1920s and 1930s, inventing the distributor and starter motor. Over time, however the image of the brand faded. It became obsolete, missed the mark with its front-wheel drive models and was a mere shadow of its former self. So by making one of the first ULTRA luxury electric cars, Cadillac aims to establish itself as a global leader in electric luxury mobility.
“Celestiq is the purest expression of Cadillac, acknowledging our incredible history and propelling us into a bolder and brighter future. It is a completely bespoke automotive artwork, built around the most advanced and innovative technology we have ever put into a car.” – Cadillac Global Vice President, Rory Harvey
The key to all of this is customization. To the extent that, according to Cadillac, no two copies will be the same. Everything from colors and upholstery to the shape of the 3D printed air conditioning vents can all be customized. Even the edge of the cup holders can be customized with any inscription or design you want.
Cadillac explains that when creating the CELESTIQ, designers took the brand’s sedans from the 1920s and 1930s and the 1957 Eldorado Brougham as references. According to Cadillac, the CELESTIQ represents “the pinnacle of that heritage combined with new technologies and production methodsThe result is a streamlined middle ground between a four-door coupe and a shooting brake with considerable presence.
CELESTIQ’s features and price
The CELESTIQ looks majestic at any time of the day
Let’s see what the new CELESTIQ packages contain. The production model of the Cadillac CELESTIQ will have a 111 kWh battery pack, powering a twin-motor four-wheel drive system. The total rated horsepower is 600 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque. This configuration allows it to speed up from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and travel about 300 miles on a single charge. So, those are the key numbers.
You get active roll control technology and an electric power steering system that automatically adjusts to the ideal steering ratio depending on the vehicle speed. Engineers also equipped the flagship with a five-link front and rear suspension with isolators finely tuned to minimize interior disturbance and provide great road feel and handling, delivering on Cadillac’s promise of precision.
The CELESTIQ dashboard features a 55.0-inch edge-to-edge LED screen. The roof also gives special effects, thanks to the Smart glass roof technology. This gives each passenger the ability to manage the glass area above their head as they see fit, leaving it transparent, darkening it, or turning it into a display that shows different content from other passengers. Electronics will also take center stage while driving, with the advanced Ultra Cruise system taking driver assistance levels to a new dimension.
an interior shot of the 2022 Cadillac Celestiq Concept
Speaking of screens, there’s an 11.0-inch front command center on the center console and an 8.0-inch rear passenger command center in the rear seats, joined by two 12.6-inch displays that make up the rear seat entertainment system. The interior also shows off 450 LEDsan AKG audio system with 38 speakers, heated and ventilated seats, heated armrests and a “neck cloth” system. Despite its status as a luxury, state-of-the-art car, unfortunately the Cadillac CELESTIQ only supports DC fast charging up to 200kW.
Each Cadillac CELEQTIQ is built by hand and production only starts upon receipt of an order. Making ultra-luxury electric cars in small batches when there isn’t yet strong demand makes it more difficult to meet the development and manufacturing costs, so this could partially explain the costs.
The design of the CELESTIQ
a 3/4 rear view of a gray 2022 Cadillac Celestiq Concept standing still
At first glance you can see what this CELESTIQ looks like an evolution of the fantastic Cadillac LYRIQ, which is ironically one of the most value-oriented all-electric luxury SUVs on sale today. That’s not surprising, since this is the new design language that Cadillac will adopt in the future. You know GM likes to cut costs by sharing elements between their vehicles, but it seems they went a bit far here. The design of the lamps, grille, roof slope and even the third window of the rear doors seem to be the same. The vertical headlights and thin LED strips that serve as turn signals also remain fairly similar.
A moving shot of an all-electric Cadillac Lyriq
At the rear we find a steeply sloping windshield that runs through a sloping roof. The latter features a smart glass divided into four distinct zones and uses suspended particle device technology to control the amount of light entering the cabin. The appearance is completed by an active rear spoiler that opens and closes doors electrically, and 23-inch forged aluminum wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport EV summer tires.
The dual brake lights are also the same, including the clear plastic treatment to make them look like holograms. Apart from the ride height, ddistinguishing the CELESTIQ from the LYRIQ is not easy. Something not so positive, considering that this car would mark Cadillac’s triumphant return to more exclusive luxury sedans, just like in the good old days.
The dilemma with the CELESTIQ
While the Cadillac CELESTIQ is a striking thing to look at, people on the internet think otherwise and tease the design, joking that it looks like a ‘innovative hearse,’ or a ‘over the top futuristic sci-fi vehicle.’ Add to that the biblical asking price of $300,000 and there are a lot of questions being asked about Caddy’s forthcoming all-electric flagship. Even after considering all the features of the electric vehicle, the price still sounds like a bit long. All the different add-ons make it look real Cadillac is trying to entice top tier customers to spend money using the technology implemented as baitor distraction.
Plus, Cadillac has always been known as one of the few iconic brands that would rarely have emptied your entire wallet…at least until now. But now the six-figure Cadillac CELESTIQ sounds like a money-making attempt that will fail. The estimated 300-mile driving range on the CELESTIQ also lags slightly behind the recently unveiled all-electric Rolls Royce Spectre’s 320 miles.
With this, the brand is now entering virtually unknown territory, especially for the segment of the public that has only experienced Cadillac as the choice for hip-hop artists who want to show off. In general, Cadillac is, in fact, considered a second-order luxury car manufacturerand that for the first time in decades it wants to take a step back to the reputation of yesteryear, this project seems to be a bit of a moonshot.
In short, the CELESTIQ is not a car that has left some people there with a lot of excitement, despite the ambitious concept behind it. I think we should leave the final say to the first purchasers of the CELESTIQ, who will have the chance to finally test it upon its release in December 2023.