The Cadillac Celestic has a lot going for it. For one, the new flagship seems to offer the luxury brand the first proper chance at reinvention in decades. And, after a concept swept us off our feet last month, camouflaged pre-production models have now been spotted gliding around GM’s Michigan proving grounds.
With its uber-long, low-swept silhouette and the silence of its all-electric powertrain, the Celestiq reminds one of the vehicles populating the Blade Runner universe (minus the air travel). And we’re thrilled to note that the final version appears extremely close to the show car—there are perks to a vehicle playing in the stratospheric league. And yes, the 23-inch wheels of the concept are still here.
The differences between the concept and the production model
Of course, there are a few differences between the two stages of the vehicle. For starters, the rear-view cameras have been replaced by conventional mirrors, as required by American legislation.
The large, high-polish surfaces of the concept greeted the eye uninterrupted, while the production car needs to pack sensors (e.g., the nose-mounted LIDAR) for the Ultracruise Level 2 autonomous cruising system whose operation includes urban areas and highways alike, albeit with the driver still required to keep the hands on the wheel.
And there are two more aspects that could change en route to production. The first could involve the introduction of flush door handles—the concept had no such hardware for a totally clean look. As for the latter, the super-sized cargo opening of the show car may give way to a more compact panel that would expose less of that interior area.
For one, the smart glass roof of the concept, which allows each passenger to adjust their transparency level, is here to stay as one of the most impressive features of the cabin.
The Celestiq reminds one of the coachbuilding era, with a price to match
GM has made it clear that the Celestiq, its second EV after the more conventional Lyriq SUV, will be mostly hand-built, with just 500 units coming to the world each year. And, given its Ultimum EV platform and battery pack, this could mean north of 1,000 hp and 400 miles of range.
And, at least so far, there’s been no challenge, official or not, to the rumored $300,000 price tag of the Celestiq. After all, with this set to be a more lavish and limited offer than the Lucid Air (up to $250,000) and even expected to challenge the future all-electric offerings from Rolls-Royce and Bentley, such a price would appear natural.
The battery-powered Lyriq compact crossover is expected to enter the market ahead of the Celestiq. Still, the latter will take around 12 months (from now) to put into production, which is expected to make it a 2024 model, even though a 2025MY release isn’t totally out of the question at this point.
Meanwhile, you can compare to the Celestiq concept and the prototype in the two videos below (spy clip courtesy of CarSpyMedia/KGP Photography)