- The 2024 Cadillac Celestiq will cost more than $300,000
- It gets from 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds, Cadillac says, and drives 300 miles between charges
- The Celestiq is more a Rolls-Royce rival than a threat to BMW, but that’s a position Cadillac has been in before
The best Cadillacs were always preposterous.
In the 1930s, Cadillac made its bones with 16-cylinder cars when 12 was where everyone else got off the ride. As the 1950s ended, they built the Series 62 with fins almost as tall as its roofline. Shortly after Elvis Presley appeared in a pink Eldorado convertible, they added little stylized rockets to fins higher than his pompadour.
The best were always preposterous. Keep that in mind as you look at the rear overhang of the 2024 Cadillac Celestiq. Is it practical? Stupid question. Does it come in pink? Better.
Hand-built in a clean room like a spacecraft
Today marks the second time Cadillac has revealed its upcoming crown jewel after a long series of teases. That seems a bit over the top, but we forgive them. They’re working a theme. And at Cadillac, over-the-top means they’re getting their groove back.
The Celestiq is a battleship-sized electric car with a 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds and a price tag like three Escalades. Cadillac says the car will be hand built in limited numbers. Technicians at General Motors’
Warren Technical Center – a building listed as a National Historic Landmark for its glorious midcentury architecture – will assemble about 400 a year.
They’ll work in a “clean room” accessible only to “the artisans involved in the production.”
They’ll carry a price tag “north of $300,000,” Cadillac says, that will “increase based on level of personalization.” Damn. There’s probably a fee for pink.
Battleship proportions, sports car acceleration
The Celestiq rides on the Ultium platform underpinning most of GM’s new electric cars. A skateboard-like assembly of batteries, electric motors, suspension, and steering components, it can be scaled up or down to produce vehicles from subcompact to… well… this.
The Celestiq uses two electric motors, one per axle, for all-wheel drive and about 600 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque. Cadillac estimates a driving range of 300 miles, but the EPA hasn’t verified that claim.
Cadillac may have lost its way and spent decades trying to be a second BMW
but the company has always had one hole card – it’s brilliance with suspensions. Maybe it comes from several generations of building cars that weighed as much as buildings.
Caddy engineers have poured all their know-how into the Celestiq. It comes with a five-link independent suspension front and rear, combined with both air springs and magnetorheological shocks. Stabilizer bars at the front and rear help mitigate roll.
Add in four-wheel steering, and you have one of the most sophisticated suspension and steering systems we’ve ever seen. It’s probably all to make that preposterous booty – er, that rear overhang that initially drew your attention to this article – stay composed.
Stunning inside and out
The Celestiq’s exterior looks like a showpiece. Up front, it’s hard angles and abrupt interruptions. The front overhang is as tiny as the rear overhang is huge. It even wears the original 1930s Caddy hood ornament, the “flying goddess,” embossed in lighted crystal strakes behind the front wheels.
But the rear showstopper is the cabin. Four seats, all as adjustable as the driver’s position, take up all that space. They look like art deco museum pieces.
Front seat passengers adjust theirs through an 11-inch diagonal touchscreen called the Front Command Center. Rear-seat passengers get a Rear Command Center of their own – 8 inches this time.
Speaking of screens, the dashboard is one. Well, two, but it looks like one. A 55-inch single pane of glass makes up most of the dash, hiding two separate 8K displays. Both front seat riders can see the driver’s, but only the passenger can see their own to prevent distraction.
Cadillac says the Celestiq comes with “all of the necessary hardware” for its upcoming Ultra Cruise hands-free driving system. Ultra Cruise will be available at a later date via an over-the-air update.
For now, the car can guide itself into and out of parking spots with the driver “supervising” from outside.
Buying one involves a concierge
Interested? You’ll need to head to a Cadillac dealer to find a “concierge” who will guide you through the design process to customize your own.
If you think of Cadillac as the company that builds the CT4 sedan to compete in the entry-level luxury sedan class, it all seems a little excessive.
But Cadillac once styled itself “the standard of the world” and built 16-cylinder coupes, tail fins as high as America’s 1950s ambitions, and the glamorous convertible the King of rock ’n’ roll bought to celebrate his coronation.
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That company set out to build excessive things. That spirit, in 2024, means ridiculous proportions and four-wheel-steering to make them livable. It’s good to see it all come back.
This story originally ran on KBB.com.