Cadillac's next flagship was originally set to have an internal combustion engine. Pity that fell through.
Back in March, Cadillac announced some very exciting news on its way to becoming the lead brand behind GM's electric vehicle push: the brand's next flagship, the Celestiq, will be an opulent battery-electric sedan hand-built at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant. That's a rather dramatic pivot for a brand that has, at least in recent decades, been largely restricted to doing what it could with whatever it found in the old GM parts bin.
But while the basic idea of a prestigious, hand-built flagship has been in the works for some time, it turns out that the model wasn't originally set to be an EV at all.
In an interview with Automobile Magazine, Brian Smith, Cadillac's exterior design director, revealed that "an internal-combustion vehicle was underway" that would have occupied the top spot in the brand's sedan range. But the car "would've caught the tail end" of Cadillac's internal combustion era, he says, so "the company took a turn and said, 'Hey, wait a minute, are we doing the right thing here?'"
Smith didn't divulge what petrol engine was set to make its way to Cadillac's canceled gas-powered flagship, although the twin-turbo DOHC Blackwing V8 from the Cadillac CT6 Platinum and CT6-V would have made for an excellent candidate.
Instead, the Cadillac Celestiq flagship we're set to get will rely on one or more electric motors for propulsion, fed by GM's next-generation "Ultium" battery technology, which is aiming for a game-changing cost-per-unit-energy and optimized design flexibility. But the internal combustion flagship we'll never see will live on, in a sense, through the design of the Celestiq, the Lyriq electric crossover, and the Cadillac EVs that come after.
The car "was a standout with a really wild silhouette," Smith says. "It very quickly became a vision not only for that vehicle itself in the lineup, but for the rest of Cadillac... As a flagship, high-technology, high-priced, hand-built vehicle, it's going to influence the electric lineup, for sure."
Smith concluded his comments on the Celestiq by saying: "We're aiming for the moon with that car, and it will be unlike anything else in its class of vehicle or segment." We can hardly wait.