Cadillac Celestiq will start at $340,000, buyers configuring cars now

Remember Cadillac Celestiq curriculum chief engineer Tony Roma talking about learning how the intended customers lived and what those customers wanted? LinkedIn is definitely an online home for ultra-luxe shoppers, which is why brand CMO Melissa Grady Dias went there to announce the Celestiq’s MSRP: $340,000 before destination, options, and any other fees. That sum nudges the limit of last October’s prediction, when GM said the battery-electric fastback would start “in the low 300,000s.” Cadillac concierges are right now shepherding Celestiq buyers through the commissioning process. Future owners are invited to the atelier at Cadillac House at Vanderbilt, named to honor Suzanne Vanderbilt, a GM designer who fought her way up to head Chevrolet’s Interior Studio during a 22-year career from 1955 to 1977. The studio sits inside GM’s Warren Technical Center campus where the first Celestiq enters hand-built production before the end of the year. That step takes place in another dedicated building expected to be finished shortly and known as the Artisan Center.

The automaker has said it plans to assemble in the neighborhood of two cars per day, but maybe not every day — annual production will start at about 400 or 500 examples. We aren’t privy to reservation numbers. We do know GM said that 18 months of production is already accounted for, meaning at least 600 to 750 units are in the books based on outdated figures. 

As for the competitive set, the official MSRP places the Celestiq right at the price of an ICE-powered Rolls-Royce Ghost sedan, about $180,000 below the all-electric Rolls-Royce Spectre coupe and its $420,000 ante. Bentley has only said that its electric vehicle will cost more than 250,000 euros, roughly $274,000 U.S. at today’s rates. 

The Spectre comes with a 102-kWh battery good for an estimated 260-mile EPA range, the coupe’s two motors producing a combined 584 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Sent to all four wheels, that output returns a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds. The Celestiq hides a 111-kWh battery good for an estimated 300 miles of EPA range, its two motors making a combined 600 hp and 640 lb-ft. With standard all-wheel drive, the Celestiq is said to hit 60 mph in about 3.8 seconds. The Caddy will also bring all-wheel steering and GM’s first installation of Ultra Cruise. The spec sheet makes an obvious win for the American entry. This will ultimately be a fight about brand cachet, though. Just like no competing automaker has solved the problem of the Porsche 911, no outsider has made a dent in the quarter- to half-million luxury space ruled by Bentley and Rolls-Royce. We’ll probably have to wait for Cadillac to clear out the early adopter rolls before understanding how close the Celestiq will get to the royal court.

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