2024 Cadillac Celestiq: an electric ‘Standard of the World’

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you know that Cadillac’s slogan once upon a time was “Standard of the World.” And you probably also know that the brand has struggled living up to that famous title, despite many attempts at it. The brand is going after it once again, perhaps more earnestly than ever with the 2024 Cadillac Celestiq. The simple fact is that if you were to build a Cadillac for the 21st century that would truly rival the world’s greatest luxury brands with cutting-edge technology and an eye on styling of the past, present and future, you’d probably end up with something not far off from Celestiq.

The proportions of the Celestiq will grab you every single time. It’s roughly 18 feet long, slightly longer than the regular Cadillac Escalade. But the roof is lower than that of the CT5. It has a remarkably long nose, particularly for an EV. And then the midsection is, well, also really long. And that trails off into a long tail that seems almost cantilevered off the rear wheels.

2024 Cadillac Celestiq

The shape is a bit familiar, since the Lyriq already launched with very similar lines. According to Cadillac, though, the Celestiq was penned first, and it initially was planned to launch first. But higher-ups determined that they needed a more mass-market EV sooner, and they were able to push up the Lyriq. Despite the familiarity, it’s still gorgeous. The body is smooth and clean, which is countered by nifty detailing in the aluminum grille panel, the futuristic fin-style taillights with Cadillac badge etchings and real aluminum exterior trim. The rear is most striking with the sweptback roof and long overhang combine to give it a beautiful boat tail. The whole thing also sits on enormous 23-inch forged wheels, the same size as those on the almost identical-looking concept.

Underneath that body, much of which is made from carbon fiber and composite panels, is some nifty technology, particularly in regards to manufacturing. The chassis is based on Ultium electric car tech, but the Celestiq’s version is very much its own, not shared with other GM products. The lower sections are made of six giant aluminum castings, the molds of which were created with 3D-printed components. There are also components, particularly for brackets and some other smaller, under-the-skin parts, built with something GM calls “Flex Fab.” The company has a machine at a facility up in Pontiac, Mich., that can take flat sheetmetal and bend it, fold it, cut it and pierce it to create a part, without having to create special stampings or other machinery. There are 3D-printed aluminum parts in the interior such as the decorations on the steering wheel and even the seatbelt guide loop.

That interior is another real showstopper. It’s quite minimalist in design, and maximalist with screens. A pair of screens measuring 55 inches across both make up the instrument, infotainment and passenger entertainment displays. They have a pixel density on par with an 8K TV. And the passenger side features a screen blocker that activates to block the image from the driver when the car is in motion and the passenger is watching something on it. In the center stack, there’s an 11-inch touchscreen for handling some infotainment features, and there’s a crystal control knob below that for additional functions. In the back, passengers each get a 12.6-inch entertainment screen, and an 8-inch control touchscreen sits between them.

The technology goes beyond just screens. All four seats get the same level of adjustments, and comfort features including heating, cooling and ventilation. They all even get air vents just behind the neck for warming or cooling and heated armrests. And, naturally, with that level of adjustment, there’s individual climate settings for each position. The roof features “Suspended Particle Device” technology so that the tint level can be raised or lowered. It can range from 1%, which is virtually opaque, to 20%, which is comparable to most sunroof tints. It also has ambient lighting and decorative patterns based on the Cadillac crest. The interior also features a 38-speaker AKG sound system. There are even three more speakers on the outside broadcasting a unique safety noise tailored to the Celestiq.

2024 Cadillac Celestiq

Similar to the outside, the inside is covered in high-end materials with leather on almost every surface. If it looks like metal, it’s metal. If it looks like carbon fiber, it’s carbon fiber. But it doesn’t have to be, say, carbon fiber. Celestiq buyers will get a purchase experience like that from Rolls-Royce or Bentley, where they will have the ability to choose virtually any color or material they want, anywhere in the car, as long as they’re willing to pay for it. Cadillac is happy to do special color matching or even incorporate personal items into the interior. 

An ultra-luxury car deserves high-end mechanical parts, too. The Celestiq will be equipped with a pair of motors sending 600 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. Cadillac estimates the Celestiq will be able to hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. Electricity is supplied via a 111-kWh battery pack. That pack is an Ultium unit, but the cells in the packs have been laid flat instead of vertical. This was done to help get the low-profile body. It supports DC fast charging and has a solid peak of 200-kW, but that’s still lower than what’s possible in Hyundai and Kia products with the E-GMP underpinnings.

Arguably as exciting as any of the powertrain goodies are the suspension and steering components. The Celestiq has five-link independent suspension front and rear backed by air springs and magnetorheological shocks. It’s further enhanced by Cadillac’s first implementation of active anti-roll bars. And to manage the car’s prodigious length, it has four-wheel steering (no, it doesn’t have Crab Walk). On the topic of steering, the Celestiq gets the same electric power steering used on the Cadillac Blackwings, just tuned for Celestiq. Considering how much we love those cars and basically every magnetic suspension to roll out of GM, we have a feeling the Celestiq will be a pretty magical drive.

2024 Cadillac Celestiq

There is technology for people who don’t necessarily enjoy driving as much, too. The Celestiq features a robust suite of sensors that are supposed to be sufficient for GM’s promised Ultra Cruise. Ultra Cruise is said to be a start-to-finish, hands-free, supervised driving function. It will not be ready at launch. Cadillac says it will eventually come via over-the-air updates. We expect it will be able to do everything that Super Cruise does now, so hands-off supervised highway driving, and Cadillac said it will gradually add additional capability as it becomes available. The details on this rollout were very slim, so we’re thinking that full Ultra Cruise functionality is not coming anytime soon. But, hey, Super Cruise is still impressive. And while it’s not quite self-driving, Cadillac did also mention that the car will be able to self-park with the driver out of the car. That could be particularly helpful considering how huge the car is.

Prospective buyers will need to be prepared to pay plenty. Cadillac confirmed the base price will start above $300,000. And of course, the more the car is customized, the more expensive it will be. Production of the car begins in December next year. Each car will be built at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Mich. They will feature significant hand-assembly, and the company won’t be rushing production. Cadillac representatives said that, once production is fully under way, they’ll be able to complete about two cars per day. And like almost everything else, customers will be able to customize the delivery experience to be wherever they want.

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