These are the features Caddy will use to battle Bentley.
There isn't another car segment better suited to electrification than the ultra-luxury barge segment.
For decades, manufacturers like Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and Mercedes-Benz have been trying to remove engine noise from the cabin. These manufacturers also tuned their powertrains to provide loads of low-down torque and smooth, uninterrupted progress without spilling the rear passengers' champagne. Electricity solves both these problems.
As you may have read in our reveal article, the all-new 2024 Cadillac Celestiq is a hand-built upmarket EV priced to go up against upcoming Rolls-Royce and Bentley electric vehicles. Rolls-Royce has also joined the chat with the all-new Spectre, while Bentley's EV efforts have been pushed back a bit.
Unfortunately, one does not simply take the fight to the Brits armed with an odd body, 600 horsepower, and 640 lb-ft of torque. Winning this battle will require groundbreaking luxury features, of which the Caddy has many.
Here's a list of the five most remarkable features of the all-new Cadillac Celestiq.
The verdict is still out on the exterior design. It is pretty handsome from dead-on and the front three-quarter view, but once you hit the side profile, things go a bit pear-shaped. Literally. Perhaps it's just the elongated taillights that spoil what might have been a striking wagon?
In the ultra-luxury segment, attention to detail matters. The cars we mere mortals buy typically have several faux shiny metal surfaces pasted to the exterior, but everything outside the Celestiq is real metal. It has an aluminum grille, brushed aluminum bodyside, and aluminum trunk lining. The rocker, taillamp, headlamp trim, and liftgate body openings are all finished in brushed metal. The so-called Goddess in the fender is milled from cast aluminum, machine-polished, brushed and tinted.
Cadillac also uses 3D-printed metal on the inside because this method allows for more intricate details. The steering wheel decor, for example, would be impossible to create using pragmatic casting methods.
The Celestiq doesn't have exterior door handles. According to Caddy, it makes the design cleaner and more aerodynamic.
As per usual in the upper echelons of the automotive market, the Celestiq comes standard with power opening and closing doors. Closing a car door isn't that hard, but few things in life make one feel more special than pushing a button to close a door. It's theatrical and sets the tone for the rest of the journey.
But the Celestiq starts with the theatrics as you approach the car. Once the owner is within 15 feet of the vehicle, it illuminates the front Cadillac Crest. Light then cascades from the middle of the black crystal shield grille to the headlights. Caddy says this creates the impression that the car is booting up for the journey.
It's hardly necessary, but then again, neither is a $300k car. At this level, it's all about the feel-good factor, which this car provides in spades.
Luxury is often confused with technology. This Caddy is packed with technology, but it blends perfectly with the required luxury elements.
True luxury is about light, silence, and space. Light creates the illusion of space, making an already roomy cabin feel serene and comforting. And silence is simply adding enough sound deadening, so you don't have to listen to the peasants moaning about poor-people things.
Cadillac uses technology to enhance all of these attributes. The interior has 450 LED lights and 18 different lighting animations. In addition to the above, it also has a Fixed Smart Glass Roof, which allows the driver and passengers to select tint levels for the various zones. The tint level ranges from 1%, which is almost entirely dark, to 20%, which is the average tint of a sunroof.
Obviously, a few hundred pounds of sound dampening is standard, but the Celestiq also has Next Generation Active Road Noise Cancellation, which works like noise-canceling headphones. Combined with the EV power unit, this might be the quietest car one can buy.
Space is readily available, thanks to a massive wheelbase and a flat floor. The customer can take it a step further by opting for a near-endless list of interior colors made from the finest materials.
According to Caddy, no two Celestiqs will be alike. That's Bentley Mulliner levels of exclusivity.
If you don't like screens in a car, stay away from the Celestiq. It has five high-definition displays. The front passengers have access to an 11-inch diagonal touchscreen interface, while the rear passengers get an eight-inch interface. The rear-seat infotainment consists of two 12.6-inch diagonal displays mounted on the front seatbacks.
The highlight is the 55-inch display that runs from A-pillar to A-pillar. It's made up of two separate screens under a single pane of glass. On the driver's side, it only displays driver and car-related information. On the passenger side, it provides access to media, the internet, and smartphone connectivity.
The passenger's display is dimmed from the driver's side thanks to Digital Blinds Active Privacy technology. You don't need to worry about your driver getting distracted while watching epic fail videos on YouTube.
The Celestiq is built on GM's Ultium Platform, meaning Caddy could have easily given it 1,000 horsepower.
We're glad it didn't because it would have spoiled the luxury. Many years ago, Rolls-Royce quoted its cars' power output as "adequate." That's a fitting description for the 640 lb-ft of torque, which gets the Celestiq to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. We doubt most owners will use this latent performance; racing between the lights is uncouth and not something a gentleman or lady should have any part of.
For proof, look no further than the masters of luxury, Rolls-Royce. As mentioned earlier, the Spectre made its debut less than 24 hours after the Celestiq. It has even less power and takes 4.4 seconds to get to 60 mph.
If you want to race Millenials in souped-up Hondas, get a Tesla Model S Plaid or a Lucid Air Sapphire. In the ultra-luxury segment, 1,200 horsepower is entirely unnecessary.