Most automakers are not called Bentley or Rolls-Royce. As such, they don't build six-figure flagship sedans. It's not common for any car manufacturer to break into ultra-luxury cars to compete; their names don't have the same cache. After celebrating its 120th anniversary, Cadillac has other ideas. The 2024 Cadillac Celestiq is an all-electric, 600-horsepower sedan with 23-inch wheels, 300 miles of range, and a price tag north of $300,000. After decades of stillborn flagship concepts, this one is actually going into production.
At a glance, it looks like Cadillac got all of the numbers right. Its 111-kilowatt-hour battery delivers solid range. Likewise, its 600 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque delivered by two motors will enable sprints to 60 in just 3.8 seconds. Size-wise, it's a complete land yacht. The Celestiq is roughly 18 feet long and over six and a half feet wide. A car like this one has to be more than the numbers, though. It has to impress in terms of luxury appointments.
On that front, it isn't exactly lacking. Each of the four seats is heated, cooled, and offers a massage function. Vents below the headrest also blow warm or cool air on all passengers' necks. The armrests are also heated, and each passenger gets their own climate control zone. In all, Cadillac says the system features 33 unique microclimate devices for comfort.
The luxury continues with the car's sound system, which has 38 interior speakers. The Mercedes S-Class Maybach offers 31, for reference. Likewise, Cadillac only manages to cram 36 into the cavernous interior of high-trim Escalades. Several different modes are offered to enhance the sound inside, and the multitude of speakers—there are also three on the exterior—allows for active noise cancellation as well.
Interior silence is further enabled not only by the car's two-motor electric drivetrain, but by the laminated glass for every transparent surface, besides the roof panel. The roof panel gets a bit more attention than simple lamination. It is the largest piece of automotive glass in the world and is more than a quarter-inch thick and features active dimming and ambient lighting. Each passenger can individually tailor the level of tint in their zone from less than 1% all the way up to 20%, the latter figure being the industry standard for sunroof transparency. The LEDs that edge-light the roof panel are also just one part of the car's illumination system. There are over 1,600 individual LEDs in the Celestiq.
Since "rides like a Cadillac" is a household phrase, this car's suspension should be untouchable. At least on paper, the signs look good. The car has multi-link air suspension front and rear like many other luxury cars, sure, but it's combined with GM's fourth-generation magnetic ride control. This system somehow makes a hard-sprung Z06 Corvette comfortable on the sinusoidal state highways around Pittsburgh. If it can do that, I can't imagine what it's capable of it an ultra-long wheelbase, luxury barge with air springs, active roll control, and rear-wheel steering.
All of these features will be easier to enjoy without your hands on the wheel. That's because the Celestiq will offer Cadillac's next-generation hands-free driving system, Ultra Cruise. The automaker notes it will grow more capable over time—indicating it's not fully built yet—however, we can expect it to offer similar functionality to Super Cruise on release. That means hands-free driving on more than 400,000 miles of highways. GM promised it will eventually offer a door-to-door hands-free driving experience with the system, too. In other words, it can navigate from one address to another independent of driver input. The Celestiq allegedly comes equipped with all of the hardware to make this happen, although you wouldn't know by looking at it. All of the sensors appear integrated well into the exterior design.
In the same breath, you can see it resembles nothing else on the road. The car shares its styling cues with the Lyriq crossover, although the company insists the Celestiq was the originator of the design language. It attempts to recall and translate the elements of past Cadillacs into the future. I've heard it described as "cyberpunk," which feels accurate. It has a very long fastback roofline and a well-defined hood. Having seen the prototype car in person, the most striking thing about it is not its shape, though. It is its size. The Celestiq is a huge car inside and out.
The flat floor definitely helps this sensation, as does the large flat rear cargo area. The interior also bristles with technology. The most striking part is the pillar-to-pillar 55-inch display. It's two separate screens with a well-defined bezel between them. The one on the right can only be seen by the passenger, while the larger of the two is for the driver. There is also a low-mounted center touchscreen in the front and back to control various functions like HVAC. Despite many of the controls being placed onto touch-sensitive displays, there is a physical infotainment controller on the center console as well as what looks like a physical volume knob.
Small details are where this car has to shine, though, and as a cherry on top, the Celestiq has them in spades. The brand recalled its "Goddess" figure from its history, and it's seen all around the car, inside and out. Likewise, a focus on additive manufacturing has allowed the company to reject parts-binning outright for seemingly every visible component. The steering wheel trim is one large piece 3D-printed in metal. Even the window switches are custom 3D-printed units. In all, there are 115 3D-printed parts in the Celestiq, some of which are even safety-critical. Some of the fasteners used on the show car in nearly invisible places even said "Standard of the World," although it's unclear if this detail made it to production. None of this mentions the infinite variety of upholstery colors, materials, and finishes available for the car's elite customer base.
In short, Cadillac is willing to go the distance in order to make the ordering process as streamlined and comfortable as possible. Each customer will be assigned a concierge to handle their interactions between themselves and the company. Customers will also work together with the automaker's designers to make sure their vehicle is tailored perfectly to them. If a dealer is interested in offering Celestiqs for sale, Cadillac has said this will take a "significant" investment on their end. Whether or not a customer even wants to go to a dealership is completely up to them, though. Brand representatives have indicated to me the automaker will be more than happy to have buyers visit their all-new $81 million production facility to design their vehicle in person.
All of this screams potential, but then again, Cadillac has been full of potential for years. Will the Celestiq really be able to go toe-to-toe with the best Europe can muster? Well, the Rolls-Royce Spectre, the brand's first EV, will be unveiled tomorrow. We can compare them then. In order to get in-person impressions, though, we'll just have to wait until the company kicks off production in December 2023.
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