We learned earlier this year that Cadillac’s next flagship car would be called Celestiq, and it will also introduce a smaller car called the Lyriq. Both will be electric. Both will be among GMs biggest swings as it starts rolling out new electric cars. Cadillac’s exterior design director recently told Automobile that the design would be “a little bit polarizing.”
The whole interview is worth reading, if just for the interesting details about how Cadillac’s designers are still operating while sheltered at home. Brian Smith, the design director, talks about the importance of clay while working out a new car’s design, in addition to 3D models on a computer. But what we’re really here to hear about is how the Celestiq might actually look, and how much different it might actually look compared to the Lyriq, which is pictured above.
Smith says, among other things, that it will be a separate design language than what the company currently uses on the CT4, CT5, XT6, and Escalade. This is to make a Statement on just how important battery-electric cars will be to Cadillac, moving forward.
Cadillac electric cars could be ahead of whatever Mercedes-Benz does with the S-Class and what BMW does with the 7 Series ...
BS: We’re aiming for the moon with that car, and it will be unlike anything else in its class of vehicle or segment.
How did you come up with the hatchback-style rear glass treatment?
BS: When we look at every vehicle, they have to have a bold silhouette, and I think [the Celestiq] defines that. As an avid car collector, I’m always drawn to a unique silhouette. Cars like a Porsche 911 or a Mini Cooper, they’re instantly recognizable, and they become sort of iconic. That was a goal for this car. It is unusual. It is a little bit polarizing. But it’s going to be beautiful, stunning.
Smith also said that the Celestiq actually started out as an internal combustion-engined car:
You stole the show with the Celestiq. How did it come about that the next Cadillac flagship is pure electric?
BS: An internal-combustion vehicle was underway that would’ve caught the tail end [of the pre-electric era]. That’s when the company took a turn and said, “Hey, wait a minute, are we doing the right thing here?” [We did] a set of scale models, one of which was a standout with a really wild silhouette. It very quickly became a vision not only for that vehicle itself in the lineup, but for the rest of Cadillac. You see it in the Lyriq, which bears a strong resemblance in its lighting elements and some of the graphic executions of the front end, but the [other] car came first. It was designed first and it influenced the Lyriq. As a flagship, high-technology, high-priced, hand-built vehicle, it’s going to influence the electric lineup, for sure.
One other detail: Smith says that the Celestiq will have the “ultimate” range, which I suppose might even be the buried lead here, since it implies that the car will have a range presumably north of 400 miles, and maybe well north. Smith also says that the car remains on track despite the pandemic; it was previously announced it would go on sale in 2022.
And while all of this sounds good, what I can’t get over is the price, rumored to be over $200,000. The Porsche Taycan’s base price is around half of that, as is the performance version of the Tesla Model X. How much of a chance does Celestiq have?