We’ve known for some time that the top rung of General Motors is all in on electrification, a decision that has elated some and caused others to flee. Set to serve as the brand’s flagship is the Celestiq, a slinky fastback with an expected price tag north of a quarter million dollars.
What’s your take on the specter of a $300,000 Cadillac?
It would be possible to ruminate for hours on the direction in which decision-makers are taking the storied brand. With electrification serving as something of a reset button for the entire industry, is Cadillac’s smartest play one in which it seeks to reclaim its ‘Standard of the World’ label? A large-and-in-charge four-place fastback costing $300,000 could do much to erase sins of the past – provided it has a mouth to match its trousers. Those answers will come later. For now, we’ll have to be content with these teaser photos.
According to Cadillac, each Celestiq (technically CELESTIQ but we refuse to play the ALL CAPS marketing game) will be hand-built from globally-sourced parts at GM’s Global Tech Center in Michigan. Prior to assembly, there will apparently be an opportunity for “creative collaboration” between customers and the brand, a notion which sounds markedly like Audi Exclusive or the services available from Mercedes-Maybach.
If Cadillac is planning on charging 300 large for a Celestiq, they’ll need to play even above that rarified air, since that sum sits squarely in Rolls and Bentley territory.
“Every Celestiq will be instantly identifiable as one of a kind, giving each client a personal connection to Cadillac’s newest flagship,” said Erin Crossley, a design director at Cadillac. While that is certainly a bowlful of PR word salad, it is these types of experiences that are expected by customers plunking down this type of money.
While this is still being billed as a show car and not necessarily a production concept, we will nevertheless permit ourselves to make a few observations about the machine in these images. Those tail lamps take much from the Lyriq, suggesting this design is going to appear in some form on all Cadillacs for the next however many design cycles. The shot of the Celestiq’s rear seat shows a Rolls (and Maybach, et al) style center console with plenty of tech toys, plus German-esque seat controls on the door and snazzy light signatures behind its trim panel. The shot from its cargo area shows seats with integrated high backs and a dashboard that stretches across the car like that found in the Mercedes-AMG EQS. Is this $300,000? Again, we’ll have to see the real thing.
Also, while we rarely read too much into the simulated images placed on the screens in these types of photos, if the Celestiq can actually juice its battery from 80 percent to full in just ten minutes then it is packing one hell of a charging system. That last twenty percent is the slowest to accumulate, generally taking as much time as the first four-fifths of the recharge combined.
Longtime readers will recall Jack Baruth drove a 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Talisman down to Houston and correctly opined in his review that its original price was less about the product itself and more about one’s place on the social ladder. This is an accurate and nuanced assessment of how Cadillac operated in its day. The car he drove stickered in the mid-1970s for about thirteen grand, a sum he estimated to be roughly five times the asking price of a basic compact car at that time, and the Talisman could apparently be opted up to $17,000. When accounting for inflation, that’s poking its nose into six-figure territory – quite a ways from $300k but Jack’s point is still valid.
How about it? Are we seeing a return of that Standard of the World swagger? Or is this a think-of-a-price-and-then-double-it marketing exercise?