Cadillac Unveils Electric Vehicle to Compete with Bentley and Rolls-Royce

The Celestiq is an all-new all-electric sedan that will include a limited number of models to be released in 2023 with a base price around $300,000

car on the road

Cadillac just unveiled its Celestiq concept, and the all-new all-electric sedan is a stunner. Low, wide, and as long as an Escalade, the four-door has immense presence, aided in part by its unique front and back lighting signatures and especially by its bubble-backed glass hatch. This distinctiveness is very intentional, setting this new six-figure flagship apart from other vehicles in the pinnacle sedan category—like the Rolls-Royce Ghost or Bentley Flying Spur. “There’s a lot of premium incumbent brands in that space, and they tend to be traditional in their execution of a tall, upright sedan,” says Michael Simcoe, General Motors’s vice president of global design. “And, of course, we will be measured against those. But playing in that space doesn’t make sense. Simply put, why would you go and do the same thing as someone else?”

The Celestiq’s iconoclasm continues to impress inside, with brogued and quilted leather lining the seats, swathes of satin-polished aluminum trimming the handles and switchgear, real wood veneer—some of it perforated and backlit—showing off its textured grain in the seat backs and door panels, and a layering of nearly every vertical surface in LCD screens. A giant display stretches from pillar to pillar up front, another is between the front seats, and there is one for each passenger in back, in addition to one between the two rear thrones. Up top, a glass roof sandwiches electrodes that allow it to dim or lighten rheostatically. In an industry first, the roof can change its opacity in four sectors, one above each of the seats.

car on the roadThe four-door has immense presence, aided in part its bubble-backed glass hatch

Because it’s a fully electric vehicle—unbeholden to the traditional placement of engine, transmission, exhaust, and gas tank—the designers had significant freedom to create fresh language for the car’s form. “Going into the E.V. platform was an opportunity to kind of reimagine how that manifests itself in the brand,” says Erin Crossley, the design director for the Celestiq. “And I think a lot of how we approach that was almost like a clean sheet of paper. Kind of leaning into the technology and the things that it enables.

back of car on roadThis new six-figure flagship plans to compete with the Rolls-Royce Ghost and the Bentley Flying Spur.

Despite this liberation, a very conscious decision was made to ground the Celestiq within tradition in one important sense. “Though the profile of the vehicle is quite low and sedan-like, and it’s a nontraditional proportion for a premium vehicle, it does carry a long dash-to-axle ratio,” Simcoe says, referring to the distance between the center of the front wheels and the edge of the dashboard, which confers the long hood that has connoted power since the early days of the automobile. “This fosters an emotional connection to traditional premium vehicles, although with an E.V., that’s more of a choice than a necessity.”

Image may contain Transportation Vehicle Automobile Car Machine Tire and WheelThe interiors will feature quilted leather lining the seats, swathes of satin-polished aluminum trimming the handles and switchgear, and real wood veneer.

There’s no engine up there. But as Simcoe notes, “There’s still much stuff to package up there.” This includes, notably, a host of advanced driving assistance technologies required of Cadillac’s sophisticated Ultra Cruise system, the only such system that allows truly hands-free driving on hundreds of thousands of miles of mapped highways.

inside of a carEach passenger in back has their own giant display to enjoy.

Though Cadillac’s recently released Lyriq electric SUV was revealed first, the Celestiq was designed first, and it is meant to act as the overall template for the brand’s forthcoming battery-powered future—the brand will offer only electric vehicles by 2030. It also hints at a projected elevation of the Cadillac brand overall. “It’s creating a North Star,” Simcoe says. “And by doing that, both externally and internally, we’re giving a message about the brand and how we want to execute it. And not just execute the Celestiq but every other Cadillac.”

He continues. “They say there’s a little bit of a Corvette in every Chevrolet, that’s so with Cadillac. Now there will be Celestiq in character or thought in every Cadillac we execute.”

The production version of the Cadillac Celestiq will appear later this year. A limited number of Celestiqs will be hand-built at the General Motors Technical Center, which is outside of Detroit, starting in 2023, and the base price will reportedly be around $300,000.

Via Architectural Digest 

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