Is Cadillac the standard of the world once again?
Cadillac has finally pulled the wraps off the stunning 2024 Cadillac Celestiq. You have to admit, it's something to behold: striking, elegant, and imposing - as a Caddy should be. It's remarkable to see how the company has stayed true to the concept. It's said to be the height of Cadillac's "Art of Travel" design philosophy (also seen on the Lyriq), with the luxury motorcar designed to present ultra-luxury electromobility.
"Celestiq is the purest expression of Cadillac's legacy of design excellence. It revives the spirit of handcrafted coaches in a vehicle that is both an artistic tour de force and a peerless sensory experience," said design director, Erin Crossley.
If GM's premium brand wants to compete in the big leagues, attention to detail is essential. The exterior, for example, features real metal. The grille is aluminum, and even the bodyside is finished in brushed aluminum. Various bits of trim have been treated with brushed metal adornments.
But before we get into even more detail, let's take a look at what propels this American leviathan.
As you would expect, the Celestiq utilizes the Ultium electric vehicle architecture. The 111-kWh battery pack and dual electric motors should provide impressive performance, with a GM-estimated 600 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque. This, says Cadillac, should send the grand sedan hurtling to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds or so. The driving range is estimated to be 300 miles, although this figure is subject to change.
Charging shouldn't prove difficult, as the Celestiq is equipped with a 200 kW DC fast charging system. If you're in desperate need of range, the Cadillac can glean up to 78 miles of range in just 10 minutes - provided you're plugged into a public DC fast charger.
But enough of those banal facts and figures, this is a Cadillac - what's the ride like? Well, if the brand is to be believed, it should prove sumptuous. Air Suspension and Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 should cosset occupants with a pillowy-smooth ride. That's not where it ends, though. The five-link front and rear suspension has been tailored to reduce disturbances but allow for superb handling and response.
Even the tires have been designed to aid comfort. The Summer-only Michelin Pilot Sport EV rubber has been designed for reduced tire roar, making the silent cabin even quieter. This will be offered with the available 23-inch forged aluminum wheels. Other nifty features include Active Roll Control. This system relies on stabilizer bars that "mitigate the rolling force exerted on the vehicle during turns and other maneuvers."
This is all necessary if Cadillac wants to take on brands like Rolls-Royce and Bentley, but it's no good without an opulent interior. The brand has gone to great lengths to beat the best and has matched the aforementioned brands in terms of personalization. The cabin boasts hand-finished metalwork, hand-wrapped leather, and a seemingly endless amount of personalization options.
"With Celestiq, we've been able to push classic American luxury into a new modern space. Executed with exceptional craftsmanship, there is a staggering variety of colors, trims, and genuine materials that ensure no two vehicles will ever be alike," said interior design manager, Tristan Murphy.
So, what can customers expect from the halo Cadillac? Lots of toys, for one.
Let's start with the technology on offer. The 38-speaker AKG Studio Reference Audio System has been expertly tuned by audio engineers to provide the best possible sound, enhanced by three separate amplifiers. 3D Surround and Vehicle Noise compensation are just two of many features of the system which has been designed to deliver a "crisp, nuanced, and undistorted listening experience."
The infotainment system is just as astounding. A 55-inch diagonal HD display spans the width of the cabin and contains two separate screens. The driver's side has vehicle information, while the passenger-side display lets occupants make use of the various functions and features. This is just one of five screens in the Celestiq, with another 11-inch display mounted diagonally on the dashboard.
The rear passengers haven't been forgotten either, with 12.6-inch displays mounted on the front seatbacks. For good measure, an eight-inch touchscreen for the rear command center is fitted for those in the back to fiddle with. Adding to the overall luxury experience is the crystal controller for the front center console. This exquisite detail is fashioned out of metal and glass and features the Cadillac Goddess emblem.
Aside from these impressive gadgets, comfort-enhancing technology abounds. The fixed smart glass roof uses Suspended Particle Device technology that allows the respective occupants to control the amount of light coming into the vehicle. Tint levels vary from less than 1% to 20%. The glass is infrared reflective and prevents sunlight from increasing the vehicle's temperature.
The Celestiq also introduces Gentherm ClimateSense four-zone climate control to the automotive industry. The standard feature enables passengers to tailor their seat heating and cooling, along with the airflow. There's also a neck scarf and heated armrests. Other handy features include remote automatic parking and a host of active safety systems.
But the big news has to be the advent of Ultra Cruise. The advanced driver-assist technology will give the Celestiq near-autonomous abilities. Previously, the system was said to cover 95% of driving scenarios, but GM says further details will be shared at a later date.
The Celestiq is shaping up to be quite the world-beater, but it is the phenomenal manufacturing and customization on offer that sets this apart from the BMW and Audi brigade - this is a genuine Bentley rival.
"Celestiq provides an unparalleled freedom of expression for the client to create their dream vehicle with a multitude of possibilities to customize and personalize their interior and exterior through an immersive experience guided by the Concierge and Cadillac Design Team," explained Laetitia Lopez, lead colors, materials, and finishes designer.
The buying experience mirrors that of Ferrari and Rolls-Royce, with clients involved in every decision. Materials, finishes, and colors are carefully discussed and selected with the design team, and, if they can't offer a paint job that's to your liking, there's an opportunity for a new shade to be developed.
With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that the Celestiq will be made in extremely small numbers at the General Motors Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. The clean room-style manufacturing facility will produce no more than six examples at a time, ensuring each unit receives plenty of care and attention.
Production will commence in December 2023, and buyers can expect to pay a starting price north of $300,000. This will only increase as individual options are fitted. It's pricey, but the Celestiq looks to be worth every penny - hopefully, buyers can get over the "downmarket" Cadillac badge.