Cadillac is preparing its most expensive car to date, and it’s electric

Cadillac will leverage electric technology to reach a level of the automotive industry it’s never competed in before. The General Motors-owned company is preparing a battery-powered flagship sedan priced well into the six digits.

Select media outlets got a preview of the model, which will wear the Celestiq nameplate, as part of a broader look into how the firm will adopt electrification during the early 2020s. Photography wasn’t allowed, the models highlighted during the event will remain under wraps for several years, but Autoblog described it as a long, four-door model with a fastback-like roofline and illuminated emblems on both ends. This approach to styling makes sense; designers are increasingly creating more rakish sedans to keep buyers interested as the body style’s popularity drops.

An electric powertrain takes less space than a comparable six- or eight-cylinder engine, and stylists took advantage of that by pushing the Celestiq’s wheels out as far as possible. In turn, this gives the occupants more space to stretch out by extending the wheelbase. Its interior wasn’t shown, but Motor Authority learned it will arrive with a spacious four-seater cabin. I expect it will offer a pair of business class-like chairs for the passengers riding in the back.

If it sounds like I’m describing the 2016 Escala concept (shown below), it’s because the model provided stylists with inspiration as they brainstormed what a high-tech Cadillac flagship for the 2020s should look like. The design study is four years old, which makes it ancient in car terms, so key styling cues on both ends have been updated.

The sheet metal will hide the BEV3 platform General Motors is developing specifically to underpin electric cars. Power will come from the Ultium battery technology that will also be found in electric cars made by Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC, including the hotly anticipated born-again Hummer. Full technical specifications remain under wraps, but we know the platform can house a huge, 200-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, and support front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive applications. The Celestiq could reach 60 mph from a stop in three seconds flat.

Wall Street Journal reporter Mike Colias wrote on Twitter that Cadillac will release the Celestiq halfway through 2022, meaning it might not arrive in showrooms until the 2023 model year. The firm will manufacture a few hundred examples of the sedan annually, and each one will carry a six-digit base price that “won’t have a one in front it.” In other words, it will cost over $200,000, a figure that will peg it far above Tesla and in direct competition with some of the world’s most luxurious cars from big names like Bentley and Rolls-Royce. Cadillac has always been luxurious, poshness is its claim to fame, but it has never competed this high up on the price scale.

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