Cadillac is finally getting around to developing a true flagship, a modern Standard of the World, so to speak. Called the Celestiq, it was revealed on Friday as a big, fastback hatch based on General Motors' Ultium electric-vehicle platform.
The version shown is officially a “show car,” but the production version, expected on sale in 2024 as a 2025 model, should be largely identical to what you see here. Cadillac's 2023 Lyriq was also previewed by a near-identical show car.
The Celestiq isn't simply a replacement for the former CT6 flagship sedan. It's designed to go up against cars from Rolls-Royce and Bentley, and will likely be priced accordingly. Rumors point to a starting price of around $300,000.
Cadillac Celestiq concept
Cadillac Celestiq concept
Don't look for old-world luxury like you'll find in other cars priced in this territory. The Celestiq's modern design will be combined with the latest technology, including a four-panel glass roof that will enable the driver and passengers to individually set the level of transparency, plus a 55-inch dash-wide digital display with active elements that can darken part of the screen (referred to as digital blinds) to help prevent driver distraction.
Cadillac has also confirmed the addition of GM's upcoming Ultra Cruise autonomous driver-assist feature, which the automaker has said will handle 95% of U.S. roads, meaning many journeys won't require any actual driving by a human. Like the current Super Cruise system, Ultra Cruise will still require the driver to monitor things at all times and take action when necessary. Otherwise, it will shut down. This means it will still rank at Level 2 on the SAE scale of self-driving capability. To rank above Level 2, self-driving systems need to function in eyes-off mode.
Impressive details will be another calling card for the Celestiq which will be more like a coach-built car than a regular production model. In developing the Celestiq, the design team looked at bespoke options on early Cadillac models like the V-16 powered coaches of the prewar era, as well as the Eldorado Brougham of the 1950s.
Cadillac is investing $81 million in GM's sprawling Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, to support production of the Celestiq. The site is where GM designs and develops its vehicles, and was recently expanded with a battery R&D center.
The bulk of the Celestiq's investment in the site will be used to add equipment for low-volume production, such as 3D printers. Cadillac said the Celestiq will have more 3D-printed parts (structural and aesthetic) than any GM product to date. Cadillac has said that the Celistiq will be churned out at a rate of just 1.2 cars per day, meaning annual production will be less than 500 units per year.
As for the mechanicals, all we know is that it will feature both all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering. We also know GM's Ultium platform supports a range of more than 400 miles and power outputs of up to 1,000 hp.
Cadillac plans to announce details on the production Celestiq later this year.