Cadillac finally unveiled the production-ready Celestiq, a $300,000 concept car come to life. Cars like the Celestiq are why we’re car enthusiasts. They take interesting ideas and actually put them on the road. You may not love the Celestiq’s styling (I certainly don’t love every angle) but it’s hard to not love the fact that it exists as it is. However, it does come with some questions, such as whether it can truly take on Rolls-Royce and Bentley.
Let’s get straight to brass tax. The Cadillac Celestiq is going to cost around $300,000. That’s an extraordinary amount of money, especially for a Cadillac. As car enthusiasts, we have to question whether such a car is worth the money and whether Cadillac can provide a $300,000 experience, from top to bottom. Will the buying experience be as premium as with other cars in that price bracket or will customers go down to their local GM dealership and find one sitting next to a Yukon Denali and a Chevy Malibu?
Of course, the answer is that it doesn’t matter in reality. Rich people buy dumb expensive stuff all the time, regardless of actual value. So Cadillac will likely sell every Celestiq it makes. But it’s our job to look at it, objectively, and determine whether it seems on par with cars from Rolls, Bentley, Aston Martin, Ferrari, and even Mercedes-Maybach.
First, let’s talk its design. This is how you do a flagship luxury car. Pay attention BMW because Cadillac brought the world a concept car come to life and you brought us the XM, the answer to a question no one asked. There’s a difference. From some angles, the Celestiq is breathtakingly beautiful. From others, it’s kind of frumpy and weird. However, I love that something so unique exists and that Cadillac took chances in a good way. There’s a lot to look at and take in, question, and ponder. It grows on you. The XM just punches you in the face and tells you to deal with it.
From the outside, I’ll go as far a to say that, despite not loving it wholly, I think the Cadillac Celestiq is a $300,000 design. It’s quite interesting, even though it might not be in the same class as Rolls-Royce or Bentley. Inside, though, I am a bit apprehensive. Don’t get me wrong, it looks really cool inside. There’s enough ambient lighting inside to spot it from space, the materials all seem lovely, and it features a ton of tech but it’s not too in your face. I’m no design major but it also seems to have a retro-futuristic design, as if it was a 1930s interior car designer’s vision of the future. And I like that.
Can It Beat Rolls-Royce Or Bentley?
However, does it really scream Rolls or Bentley-beater? I’m not so sure. Mercedes S-Class-beater? Definitely in the conversation. But it’s going to take actually sitting inside of it, touching the materials and feeling the ambience, to determine whether it can truly take on the best in the world. I do like the “Hand Built Detroit” badge, though.
Under that very pretty skin is a 111 kWh battery pack that powers two electric motors to make 600 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque. Cadillac claims a 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds and a range of around 300 miles. That’s about on par with the Rolls-Royce Spectre, even better in some ways. However, and this includes cars like the Spectre, it’s quite amazing how far legacy automakers are behind Lucid and Tesla. The Lucid Air uses a similarly sized battery, makes almost double the power in its top-end Sapphire spec, and gets hundreds of miles more range. So, powertrain-wise, I think the Cadillac has a ways to go to earn that price tag.
That being said, a car like the Celestiq isn’t designed for brutal performance or handling. It’s designed to be incredible to look at and wonderful to be in. While it’s impossible to judge the latter, as we haven’t driven it yet, I think the Americans nailed the former. So can the Cadillac Celestiq really take on Rolls and Bentley? Just based on its design, I think it has a real chance. This is how you do flagship luxury designs, BMW. Take notes.