The Cadillac Celestiq Concept Has a Ridiculously Opulent Dash-to-Axle

In car design, the distance between the front axle and the A-pillar signifies luxury — the longer the better.

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Image for article titled The Cadillac Celestiq Concept Has a Ridiculously Opulent Dash-to-Axle
Photo: Cadillac (Fair Use)

Cadillac is in the midst of totally reinventing itself. The CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing are the last new internal-combustion vehicles Cadillac will make; all future products from Cadillac will be electric. First to arrive will be the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq, a luxury EV crossover. Next up will be the Cadillac Celestiq, an opulent electric sedan meant to go head-to-head with the Tesla Model S and Mercedes EQS. Judging by new teaser images Cadillac released today, the Celestiq will beat all competitors in one crucial metric: a truly huge dash-to-axle distance.

You’ll be forgiven if you don’t immediately know what I’m talking about. Dash-to-axle is a measurement pertaining to a vehicle’s design and styling; it has little to do with how a car drives or performs. Simply put, the bigger the distance between a car’s front axle and the base of the windshield, the more luxurious, opulent, and premium the car looks.

Like most facets of vehicular styling, this rule comes from the early days of the automobile. By the 1920s, car design had coalesced (for the most part) around a standard layout: Engine up front, driving the rear wheels. Naturally, the bigger the engine, the more space it needed, and as luxury carmakers went from six to eight to 12 or even 16 cylinders, the front of the car got longer and longer.

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This video from Autoline does a fantastic job of explaining the history of dash-to-axle, and how it came to signify luxurious expensiveness in cars.

So back to the Cadillac Celestiq. Clearly, there’s no gasoline engine lurking under the lengthy hood. As Cadillac’s first all-electric luxury sedan, the Celestiq will be built around GM’s Ultium EV architecture, powered by floor-mounted batteries and, most likely, two electric motors, one for each axle. So the Celestiq’s long schnoz will probably be home to a capacious frunk.

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That won’t be the only throwback styling cue on Caddy’s upcoming EV. Among the other teaser images Cadillac showed today was this glimpse of an eggcrate taillight:

Image for article titled The Cadillac Celestiq Concept Has a Ridiculously Opulent Dash-to-Axle
Photo: Cadillac (Fair Use)
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The angling of this taillight, and the horizontal-line texture, are clearly meant to evoke the rear lamps on the iconic eighth-generation Eldorado, built from 1967 to 1970.

Image for article titled The Cadillac Celestiq Concept Has a Ridiculously Opulent Dash-to-Axle
Image: Cadillac
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The Celestiq seen here, of course, is simply a concept car, which we’ll see in full at a future car show. The production Celestiq is slated to arrive in 2025.