I just saw the Cadillac Celestiq in person at a party at Monterey Car Week. This is a $340,000 electric sedan/hatchback that the entire internet pretty much wrote off as an overpriced Maybach wannabe. Who does Cadillac think it is charging that much for a car? The brand hasn’t been “The Standard of the World” in many decades. And while that last statement may be true, after seeing the Celestiq in person, I kinda get it. And I actually like it for Cadillac.
Last night I attended a party called “Motorlux.” I did not belong there, because, despite having “gone Hollywood” to some degree, I’m still a bit of a wrenching Midwesterner at my core. Still, it was a great time; Jason and I hit a dancefloor, hung out with Beau and ate some oysters, looked at amazing cars—it was fantastic. There were also planes and helicopters:
It was also my first chance to see the Cadillac Celestiq, a Bentley-grade electric luxury car from a brand that, frankly, has been a bit lost over the last few decades. It moved its headquarters to New York so it could be “hip” and “cool,” then moved it right back to Detroit; it’s been unsuccessfully trying to compete with BMW M-cars for years; and really, the only car on its roster that has any brand equity is the Escalade.
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Sixty years ago, Cadillac built its name on elegance, swagger, and comfort; these are what Cadillac always did best, and yet the brand hasn’t leaned into these attributes enough outside of the Escalade. And I think that’s a mistake. Realistically, Cadillac will never be The Standard of the World when it comes to handling/track performance, but it can be The Standard of the World in terms of comfort and flat-out swag. And I believe the Celestiq is the way to get there. Because it looks incredible in person:
The sheer size of this machine is staggering; it starts with the humongous hood, which flows into black, steeply-raked A-pillars that end at a flat-top black roof.
That roof extends to about the rear axle, where it grows a rear hatchback that drops incredibly gradually before eventually reaching a rear fascia that seems in an entirely different time zone than the front. Seriously, the C-pillar on this thing may be one of the largest one in automotive history:
Because of how long that sloping back is, the rear seats have to be positioned fairly far forward to allow for decent headroom. The result is that there really doesn’t appear to be a ton of legroom, which is a bit silly for a luxury sedan like this — a sedan whose primary focus isn’t on driving excitement but on comfort, especially for second-row passengers — but I really don’t think that matters that much. The legroom compromise is worth it for that look. Also, an advantage of the setup is an absurd amount of rear cargo space:
The interior looks incredible. Screens abound; there’s gorgeous accent lighting in the doors, roof, and damn near everywhere; the seats feature an awesome inlay pattern and speakers in the headrests. Take one look at the Celestiq’s cabin and it’s basically impossible not to be impressed:
I’m here at Pebble Beach waiting to watch classic cars go around a racetrack at the Monterey Historics event, so I have to cut this little blog short, but consider this a bit of a retraction. I didn’t understand the Celestiq before, but now that I’ve seen it, I get it and I dig it. Even if I’ll never be able to afford it.
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