Cars > Electric

Cadillac goes all out with the ultra-expensive Celestiq EV

Are you willing to shell out upward of $300,000 for a handcrafted luxury EV?

Meet the flagship EV from the American luxury brand. PHOTO FROM CADILLAC

Cadillac may see itself as a luxury brand, but most people won’t exactly mention the American company in the same breath as Rolls-Royce or Bentley. That might be about to change, as the latest model to come out of Detroit is nothing short of spectacular, and that includes its price tag. Meet the Celestiq.

Based on the General Motors Ultium electric platform, it launches as the brand’s extremely limited, handcrafted flagship. For the price, Cadillac mentions a sum of “north of $300,000” (P17.64 million), and that’s just the starting point. Each car is created on request and in dialogue with the buyer, which makes each Celestiq unique and correspondingly more expensive.

While the front is gorgeous, we can't say the same about that rear. PHOTO FROM CADILLAC

The GM platform, which forms the chassis of the Celestiq, has a modular structure and allows for different battery packs from 50kWh to 200kWh. The Celestiq’s battery has a capacity of 111kWh and promises a range of around 483km, while also featuring a 400V architecture and 200kW fast-charging technology.

This should allow the electric luxury liner to add 125km of range in just 10 minutes with the right type of fast charger. While the car is charging, the front and rear lights show the battery level, and the whole car also features up to 1,600 LEDs that enable it to give spectacular welcome and farewell lighting choreographies.

One electric motor each is housed on the front and rear axles, giving the Celestiq all-wheel drive. However, this is only active when required: If less power is needed, one of the motors takes a break. Cadillac has not yet fully confirmed the performance figures, but the company estimates power output at 600hp and a maximum of 868Nm. Both motors have their own gearbox, each with a slightly different ratio, and the whole machine should go from zero to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds.

The Celestiq looks after its passengers with adaptive air suspension, fourth-generation magnetic ride control, and active roll control. It even has four-wheel steering (up to 3.5°), and the huge 23-inch forged aluminum wheels are attached with the help of five-link front and rear suspension.

The Americans do know how to build a lovely cabin. PHOTO FROM CADILLAC

Visually, the production version comes pretty close to the concept car that came before it, and it’s fair to say that this machine is a proper stunner. The design of the bodymade of aluminum and carbon fiberis based on the front design of the Lyriq crossover SUV, but stands significantly wider, flatter and longer.

Eye-catchers are the huge D-pillars, which are drawn against the direction of travel, and the rear lights, which the designers have divided into two parts on the pillars and the side of the rear apron. The lower window line runs almost horizontally, and the side view presents a classic fastback silhouette that is characterized by the short front and long rear overhangs.

The rear spoiler only extends when the driving situation requires it, and there are no door handles, as the doors open electrically at the touch of a button. Inside, the new Cadillac flagship uses a lot of 3D printed parts, such as for the center of the steering wheel, the window regulators, the grab handles, and the surface of the center console.

Customers can stipulate their preferred materials and colors during the configuration process together with sales staffknown as “Concierge” for the Celestiqand the firm’s design team. Unlike others, the Americans are not yet giving up on classic leather made from animal skins, so this can also be ordered if a buyer fancies it.

Being hand-built is one of the reasons behind this car's outlandish price tag. PHOTO FROM CADILLAC

The Smart Glass Roof adjusts its light transmission to the weather conditions, but can also be adjusted manually and also features ambient lighting. The omission of a classic headliner is intended to maximize headroom for the passengers, while at the same time adding to the spaceship atmosphere inside this humongous lounge on wheels.

Cadillac integrated no fewer than five high-resolution screens into the spacious interior, and they are big. As in really big. The two positioned on the dashboard count as one as they are housed under a common pane of glass, and together measure an insane 55 inches (1.40m) diagonally. There are also two touchscreen command centers in the middle console, of which the front (11 inches) is slightly larger than that in the rear (eight inches).

The front area of the center tunnel also houses the crystal rotary push button that gives the commands for the Google-based infotainment system. For the two passengers in the back, there are additional screens that measure 12.6 inches each, and the AKG sound system works with 41 speakers and three amplifiers.

The Celestiq is not meant to be the fastest EV out there. Rather, its focus is on comfort. PHOTO FROM CADILLAC

Normal Cadillac buyers can spec a driver-assistance package called Super Cruise, but some can surely afford and enjoy Ultra Cruise. However, Cadillac has not yet revealed what level of autonomy this EV will achieve and what it can do without driver input.

Production of the Celestiq is scheduled to begin at the General Motors Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, by the end of next year. If you want one, the order books are now open.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.