Cadillac will learn whether there are enough buyers willing to spend Rolls-Royce money on its Celestiq when the big electric hatchback goes on sale in 2024.
After teasing fans with a concept car in the summer, Cadillac on Tuesday unveiled the production version of the flagship EV and confirmed pricing will start north of $300,000.
That's a lot more expensive than anything Cadillac has offered in the past, but the Celestiq is unlike any previous vehicle to wear the crest badge. Ignoring the leading-edge technology fitted to the car, the Celestiq will be hand-built to a degree, allowing for a high level of personalization. To aid them, buyers will have a concierge on call, as well as access to a Cadillac designer and other services. As a result, no two Celestiqs are expected to be the same.
The hand-built nature of the car means production, due to start in December 2023, will be limited to just 1.2 cars per day, meaning annual volume will be well below 500 units. To handle production, Cadillac has invested $81 million in parent company General Motors' sprawling Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. The bulk of the funds have gone toward equipment for low-volume production, such as 3D printers, Cadillac said.
“Celestiq is like no Cadillac before it and the client experience is equally exceptional,” Rory Harvey, Cadillac's global vice president, said in a statement. “Each vehicle is a unique expression of its owner, leveraging leading-edge technologies that make the driving experience personal and rewarding.”
Underpinning the Celestiq is GM's Ultium platform and battery set, configured here with a 111-kwh battery and dual-motor, all-wheel-drive powertrain estimated to deliver 600 hp and 640 lb-ft of torque, or enough for 0-60 mph acceleration in 3.8 seconds. The Celestiq also features unique gear ratios among Ultium-based vehicles. The ratios have been calibrated to deliver an optimal balance between performance and range, Cadillac said in a release, with the latter estimated to be 300 miles on a charge.
2024 Cadillac Celestiq
GM's Ultium Charge 360 app will enable owners to find and pay for electricity when on the road, and thanks to a built-in 200-kw fast-charging system, around 78 miles of range can be added in 10 minutes of charging when using a DC fast charger. An adjustable regenerative braking system is also featured, and enables one-pedal driving.
For comfort, there's an air suspension with magnetic dampers, as well as active anti-roll bars. All-wheel steering is also included. The wheels are a 23-inch set with Michelin Pilot Sport EV tires specifically designed for the vehicle. They're meant to deliver low rolling resistance but are classified as summer tires only. The Celestiq also sports an active rear spoiler.
Compared to the earlier concept, the production Celestiq differs via its set of conventional side mirrors instead of slimmer rear-facing cameras. Although the technology is being evaluated for the U.S., it is not yet legal here yet. There's also the charging port on the driver side front fender, which the concept didn't have, and a more simplfied design for the intakes in the front fascia.
There aren't any door handles. Instead, riders will press a button to open or close the doors. Cadillac said carbon fiber and metal trim pieces also feature on the exterior.
2024 Cadillac Celestiq
Moving inside, don't look for old-world luxury like other cars priced in this territory. The Celestiq's clean, modern interior design is combined with the latest technology, including a four-panel glass roof that enables 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.
There's also a portrait-style screen in the center console, immediately in front of a rotary dial controller. That center console stretches to the rear of the vehicle, splitting a pair of individual seats in the second row, making the Celestiq a four-seater. Rear seat passengers also get their own individual screens, plus a shared screen for adjusting comfort settings. Most of the surfaces are lined in hand-stitched leather, and buyers will have a range of additional material finishes to choose from. The top audio system is a 38-speaker AKG Studio Reference Audio System. An additional three speakers on the outside of the car create propulsion sounds while driving.
Cadillac has also confirmed support for GM's upcoming Ultra Cruise autonomous driver-assist feature, which GM has said will handle 95% of U.S. roads. 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. Ultra Cruise will be made available as an over-the-air update in 2024. The Celestiq will also feature an automatic parking system capable of parking in a spot or exiting one with the driver supervising from outside the vehicle.