After a year of teases, General Motors revealed the Cadillac Celestiq, a $300,000 ultra-luxury electric sedan that the automaker says is the most Cadillac Cadillac that ever Cadillac’d.
The Celestiq is Cadillac’s first major effort to capture some of the high-end market currently dominated by the likes of Rolls-Royce and Bentley. As such, GM is heaping on the superlatives with the description of this Ultium-powered, 55-inch digital display sporting flagship EV — despite still only being the show car version of what is expected to be a production-ready vehicle out later this year. It’s “the purest expression of Cadillac” that was “inspired by the brand’s 120-year heritage,” chockablock with “handcrafted” materials and all of GM’s most sophisticated technology.
But what about the car itself? The low-slung fastback shape calls to mind Porsche Panamera or Mercedes-Benz EQS — but the comparisons pretty much stop there when you start drilling down into the details of the design. The rear end of the Celestiq features four sets of angular brake lights, two on each side, that stretch all the way to the wheel wells. It’s sure to be the Celestiq’s most distinguishing — and polarizing — design detail.
Interestingly, GM refers to the Celestiq as a “show car,” implying that it’s just a custom job intended for public display and not for sale. While that doesn’t mean there will be major differences once the production version is revealed, it is still interesting that GM sees fit to make that distinction.
But aside from getting its moment in the spotlight for the first time, there’s not much else new being revealed. Since it’s just a show car, GM is staying mum on most of the relevant specs, including range, battery capacity, charge time, and acceleration metrics.
Instead, the automaker is focusing on the Celestiq’s bespoke nature — each vehicle will be handmade and, reportedly, Cadillac is only planning on making around 500 units a year — as well as the high-tech elements that are meant to distinguish this Cadillac from all of the others. Presumedly, we’ll get more nitty-gritty details once the production version is revealed later this year.
That includes the 55-inch, pillar-to-pillar digital display with “electronic digital blinds,” which GM describes as an active privacy technology that allows passengers to watch videos while blocking it from the view of the driver. The interior is trimmed in red leather, presenting the Celestiq as an EV fit for royalty (or perhaps just the über wealthy).
The panoramic glass roof, a common feature in modern EVs, is modularly adjustable thanks to GM’s “Suspended Particle Device” technology. This allows each occupant of the vehicle to set their own level of transparency, carrying over this theme of customization, personalization, and privacy.
The electric sedan, which is expected to make its debut in 2023, will be the first to include GM’s new Ultra Cruise advanced driver-assist system, which the automaker claims will cover “95 percent” of driving scenarios on 2 million miles of roads in the US. The system is also the first to use Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Ride Platform, which will have the processing power equivalent to “several hundred” personal computers.
We’re also getting some more details about GM’s production plans for the Celestiq. The automaker plans on investing $81 million to support its assembly at GM’s Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, the campus originally designed by famed Finnish architect Eero Saarinen. The Celestiq will be the first production vehicle built there since the center’s inauguration in May 1956.
GM first showed off the Celestiq to a handful of reporters at its EV Day event in early 2020, but it is only now releasing full images of the extravagant EV. The Celestiq is meant to serve as a companion to the Cadillac Lyriq, which just entered into production earlier this year.
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