To compete with European electric luxury vehicles, General Motors (GM) is working to reestablish Cadillac as the domestic luxury brand it once was. The company already dropped the Lyriq SUV, and more are entering the market. Customers will design their own Celestiq, a hatchback Cadillac believes will rival Rolls-Royce.
How will it rival a brand like Rolls? The same way Rolls attracts its buyers: bespoke, custom production. The Celestiq promises to be tech-savvy inside and out. It will come with a 55-inch digital dashboard, a smart glass sunroof that tints when touched, a customizable cabin, hands-free driver assistance, and advanced safety features. Potential buyers can pick their color, cabin features, and other aspects of the car. Better yet, it’s designed online.
The Celestiq will be hand-built by a small team at GM’s Global Technical Center in Warren, MI, which will be reflected in the price. For parts, services, and, let’s face it, labor costs, the base price is $340,000. The levels of customization offer every Celestiq its own brilliance.
Photo Courtesy Cadillac
GM plans to install their Ultra Cruise technology in the car. The autonomous driving software has a 360-degree sensor that provides seamless views from all angles. Other safety features include hands-free driving, automated braking, lane departure, and adaptive cruise control.
Though road tests haven’t been conducted at the time of writing, Cadillac says the car can reach 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. Around 600 horsepower puts it on the same speed levels as the Porsche Taycan. However, it’s supposed to be like a Bentley: for cruising.
GM’s Ultium battery packs give the Celestiq an estimated 300 miles of range, and 10 minutes of charging returns around 78 miles to the battery pack. Public information about the official range isn’t available yet.
On the inside, drivers are treated to a 38-AKG Studio Reference stereo system with 3D surround sound. The digital dashboard shows all the functionalities of the car.
The ambient interior lighting system and customizable leather allow buyers to match their mood. The infotainment system is on par with competing European models.
The team behind the Celestiq consists entirely of women. Designers Magalie Debellis, Erin Crossley, Laetitia Lopez, Alexandra Dymowska, and Candice Willett are the brains behind the sleek exterior and fashionable interior. They believe the car’s looks and comfort will be the driving force for sales.
“We just so happen to have a kind of maverick personality that fits the spirit of where we want the brand,” Debellis told Bloomberg in a profile about the Celestiq design team.
GM hopes this car can appeal to both men and women equally.
When stacked against the competition with similar specs — the Rolls-Royce Spectre — the Celestiq is just as reliable, quick, and a little less expensive.
The Spectre costs around $420,000, has a 4.2-second 0-to-60 time, 577 hp, and 260 miles of range with 72 mpge. For a slightly slower car with less range, it’s $80,000 more than the Celestiq.
However, a Rolls-Royce is a Rolls-Royce. The brand carries weight, which many car columnists believe is holding back Cadillac. That, and the price of the hatchback.
Photo Courtesy Cadillac
“If you haven’t already connected the dots, this Caddy isn’t attainable for blue-collar folks, no matter how fat their yearly bonus check is. And that’s the point,” Eric Stafford at “Car and Driver” writes. “Cadillac commissioned this ambitious car to reconnect with its heritage, reboot its image, and be the flagship of the brand’s plans to go entirely electric by 2030.”
“As with most ultra-luxury cars, the 2024 Cadillac Celestiq, which enters production in December 2023, really has to be seen in person to be appreciated,” he continues. “Unfortunately, its exclusive nature will likely make it a rare sight. Of course, that’s what Cadillac wanted when it set out to design the Celestiq.”
The Celestiq has turned heads with its impeccable design and customization, but whether this returns Cadillac as the standard American luxury vehicle remains to be seen.