After a year of teasing, General Motors unveiled the Cadillac Celestiq, a $300,000 ultra-luxury electric sedan that the automaker says is the most Cadillac-Cadillac Cadillac has ever had.
The Celestiq is Cadillac’s first major attempt to capture a slice of the high-end market currently dominated by Rolls-Royce and Bentley. As such, GM is piling on the superlatives with the description of this flagship Ultium-powered 55-inch digital-display sports EV — though it’s still just the show car version of a vehicle expected to be production-ready later this year. It’s “the purest expression of Cadillac,” “inspired by the brand’s 120-year heritage,” replete with “handcrafted” materials and GM’s most advanced technology.
But what about the car itself? The low, fastback shape is reminiscent of a Porsche Panamera or Mercedes-Benz EQS – but the comparisons pretty much stop there when you delve into the details of the design. The rear end of the Celestiq features four sets of square brake lights, two on each side, that extend to the wheel arches. It’s arguably the Celestiq’s most distinctive – and polarizing – design detail.
Interestingly, GM refers to the Celestiq as a “show car,” implying that it’s just a custom build intended for public display and not for sale. While that doesn’t mean there will be huge differences once the production version is revealed, it’s still interesting that GM sees fit to make that distinction.
But aside from his moment getting the spotlight for the first time, there’s not much new to reveal. Because it’s only a show car, GM remains mum on most relevant specs, including range, battery capacity, charge time and acceleration metrics.
Instead, the automaker is focusing on the Celestiq’s bespoke nature – each vehicle is handcrafted and Cadillac reportedly only plans to manufacture around 500 units a year – as well as the high-tech elements intended to set this Cadillac apart from all the others. We’ll likely get more 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 calls an active privacy technology that allows passengers to watch videos while being blocked for the driver. The interior is trimmed in red leather, presenting the Celestiq as an EV fit for royalty (or maybe just the rich).
The panoramic glass roof, a common feature of modern electric vehicles, 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, continuing this theme of customization, personalization and privacy.
The electric sedan, expected to make its debut in 2023, will be the first to include GM’s new Ultra Cruise advanced driver assistance system, which the automaker says will cover “95 percent” of driving scenarios across 2 million kilometers of roads in the United States. The system is also the first to use Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Ride platform, which will have the processing power of “several hundred” personal computers.
We’re also getting some more details on GM’s production plans for the Celestiq. The automaker plans to invest $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 to be built there since the center was inaugurated in May 1956.
GM first showed the Celestiq to a handful of reporters at its EV Day event in early 2020, but is only now releasing full images of the extravagant electric vehicle. The Celestiq is intended to serve as a companion to the Cadillac Lyriq, which only went into production earlier this year.