Cadillac shares new details of hand-built Celestiq, including a starting price tag ‘north of $300K’

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GM’s luxury brand Cadillac has shared a multitude of new details surrounding the upcoming Celestiq sedan it has been teasing for over a year and a half now. Cadillac is describing the Celestiq as its most technologically advanced and most luxurious vehicle ever, and it just may be its most expensive as well. Here’s the latest.

When it eventually begins deliveries in 2024, the Cadillac Celestiq will be the second BEV to arrive under the Cadillac marque behind the Lyriq, which is just starting to reach early customers. Cadillac first shared news of this ultra-lux electric sedan back in early 2021, alongside an image showcasing a unique “smart glass” roof. From the get-go, Cadillac has been touting its second BEV model as a flagship vehicle clad with hand-crafted materials.

Cadillac didn’t really mention the Celestiq much after that. At least not until this past June when it unveiled new images of the EV, describing its design as “avant-garde,” built to challenge the ultra-luxury segment. Days later, we learned the Celestiq would not just feature handmade components, but will be an entirely hand-built EV – featuring over 100 3D-printed elements.

The American automaker said the EV itself is designed for low-volume production typical with hand-built, ultra-luxurious vehicles. We are still unsure what level of output “low volume” entails for Cadillac, but based on the technology in its design and its hand-built production, we had surmised that it was going to cost quite a bit more than the average EV.

When we saw the full images of the Celestiq in July, there were rumors it would cost around $300,000, but we could not verify that. Following today’s news, we can confirm that $300K is merely the starting price, and it can increase from there based on the customer’s “level of personalization,” according to Cadillac.

Cadillac Celestiq could be a work of art… for the ultra wealthy

As more and more automakers are utilizing advancements in EV platform and battery technology to help deliver lower-priced EVs, GM’s premium brand is going in the opposite direction and building an EV that could serve as an archetype for advanced technology and ultra-luxury.

Unfortunately, most people won’t be able to afford it, so we will provide as many details and images as we can, as we learn more about this upcoming EV. That way, we can all vicariously experience all it has to offer. Based upon the 5,000+ word press release from Cadillac today, there’s a lot to talk about surrounding the Celestiq, but here are some of the top-line features.

First off, each Celestiq will be personally commissioned, allowing customers the opportunity to work directly with a dealer of their choosing and Cadillac designers to create their own, one-of-a-kind version. This is a similar design approach to the Carmen from Hispano Suiza, in which no two EVs are alike. Per Cadillac’s global vice president Rory Harvey:

Celestiq is like no Cadillac before it and the client experience is equally exceptional. Each vehicle is a unique expression of its owner, leveraging leading-edge technologies that make the driving experience personal and rewarding. With an extremely low volume of hand-built vehicles to be offered globally each year and an exclusive declaration process, Celestiq will truly be a custom-commissioned one-of-one. Each client will experience a personalized journey to make their vehicle exactly the way they desire.

Alright, let’s dig into the actual design and performance. The Celestiq will arrive on GM’s Ultium platform powered by an 111 kWh battery pack and a dual-motor AWD propulsion system. GM estimates the EV will offer 600 horsepower and 640 lb.-ft. of torque, plus an estimated range of 300 miles (483 km) on a full charge.

Cadillac shared that although the Celestiq is not the first (or last) EV on the Ultium platform, it will still be a unique implementation due to its 11.59:1 front and 11.63:1 rear gear ratios, which have been specifically calibrated to optimize range and performance. The Celestiq is predicted to accelerate 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds.

In addition to the platform, Cadillac states the Celestiq comes equipped with the automaker’s most advanced suspension and performance systems ever, including features like magnetic ride control and an active rear spoiler to improve aerodynamics at varying speeds.

GM’s Ultium platform enables the luxury sedan to charge at rate up to 200 kW and garner an estimated 78 miles of range in 10 minutes on a DC fast charger. There is still so much to unfold here, especially in terms of the Celestiq’s “avant-garde” design.

Other unique design features

We can write another 1,000 words about all the design elements Cadillac shared this evening, but it’s probably just easier to read the full press release, or better yet, check out all the highlighted features we’ve compiled for you.

  • Fixed smart glass roof
    • Features Suspended Particle Device Technology – an industry-first feature. Multi-color ambient lighting and choreography create an interplay between the exterior and the amount of light allowed into the cabin through four separate zones.
    • Tint levels for the zones range from less than 1% for the darkest level of opacity, to 20%, which is the standard tint level of a traditional sunroof.
  • Materials:
    • Carbon fiber is present in several areas of the exterior. The visible metallic surfaces are authentic metal, including the aluminum grille, header, rocker, taillamp and headlamp trim, brushed aluminum bodyside trim, aluminum eTrunk lining, and brushed metal lift gate openings.
  • Exterior lighting:
    • Every single point of light in the Celestiq’s animation is its own source rather than banks of lights like in other vehicles. There will be over 1,600 individual LEDs per EV (depending on the sales market). The Cadillac-first Digital Micro-mirror Device headlamps feature 1.3 million pixels per side.
  • Lighting choreography: 
    • The vehicle welcomes its owner when they are 15 feet away by illuminating the front Cadillac Crest. Light then moves from the middle of the black crystal shield grill to the headlamps, creating an impression the vehicle is powering up.
  • Immersive interior lighting:
    • Featuring more than 450 distinct LEDs, drivers can personalize their color selections for each interior zone or let the vehicle curate the lighting combinations to harmonize throughout. The Celestiq includes 18 different lighting animations.
  • Hand-finished metalwork and hand-wrapped leather
    • Many of the metal elements throughout Cadillac Celestiq require detail and finish work such as fine milling, anodization, and a final polishing by hand. The leather is hand-wrapped by artisans.
  • Unique color:
    • The customer is involved in every color decision pertaining to materials and finishes, and will have the opportunity to develop new colors or paint to match with the Cadillac design team. This also enables an infinite range of exterior and interior colors, materials, and finishes to design a truly bespoke vehicle.
  • Infotainment:
    • The centerpiece of the Cadillac Celestiq interior is a pillar-to-pillar, 55-inch diagonal HD display. It contains two separate screens under a single pane of glass. The driver’s side has pixel density comparable to an 8K screen, while the passenger side allows occupants to play media, use the internet, or connect their smartphones.
    • Rear passengers have their own 12.6-inch diagonal displays in front of them, mounted on the front seat backs.
  • Sound experience:
    • Celestiq offers 41-speakers, including three exterior speakers. A 38-speaker AKG Studio Reference Audio System in the cabin is custom tuned by professional audio engineers and utilizes three separate amplifiers to power 30 channels for complete audio immersion. The system features 3D surround, vehicle noise compensation, conversation enhancement, and phone zones.
    • The EV will also introduce a Cadillac-first Vehicle Exterior Sound System, which provides Cadillac curated propulsion sounds while driving.
  • Ultra Cruise:
    • Celestiq will arrive with the latest hands-free advanced driver assistance technologies with Ultra Cruise. It will be equipped with all of the necessary Ultra Cruise hardware to enable incremental growth in the future via over-the-air updates in 2024.

The Celestiqs will be constructed at GM’s Global Technical Center, in Warren, Michigan – the first vehicle to be built at that site since it opened 66 years ago and the automaker has invested $81 million to make it happen.

Once again, the Cadillac Celestiq will start at an MSRP over $300,000 and is currently available by waitlist only.

Production is expected to begin in December of 2023, and although Cadillac would not share the total vehicle output it has planned, its team did tell us that it expects to be producing only two EVs per day when assembly gets going. Low volume indeed.

It is sure to be an experience when we can see one of these unique EVs up close. Perhaps we can make our way to Warren, Michigan, and share some footage of them being hand-built. Until then, here’s a little teaser video of the Celestiq provided by Cadillac.


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