Cadillac teases Art Deco interior for ultra-luxury Celestiq

No one has ever adequately explained what makes some cars memorable and most background noises.

Cars that blend into the landscape are fine, often doing a decade of reliable service and staying within someone’s budget. They’re powerful tools, and that’s all we ask of many.

But we posit that some have a uniformity of vision combined with distinctive, intentional design details that set them apart.

We’ve been talking about the next Cadillac Celestiq more than expected lately, as it’s a contender for this rare class.

Cadillac has released some new teaser photos of the Celestiq. Again, these are detailed shots, with too little in frame to give us a real feel for the car. And again, it’s impossible to know from a concept car’s marketing materials whether the final production vehicle will have the same emotional impact as the photographers captured.

But damn it, reader. This car is intriguing.

About the Celestial

Cadillac is going all-electric. But so does everyone. If GM’s luxury division wants to make a splash, it needs something more than another press release about a luxury electric SUV that looks pretty much like the others and has a Tesla-like spec sheet.

The Celestiq is Cadillac’s attempt to create that splash. It’s something Cadillac did all the time decades ago, but hasn’t done in years – built a luxury flagship meant to create a sense of exclusivity.

The Celestiq is electric, borrowing powertrain elements from the GM Ultium platform that powers the Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EV. That’s about all anyone outside of Cadillac knows, mechanically. But its likely six-figure price tag and intent to rival top-end models from Mercedes and BMW likely means all-wheel-drive and horsepower like the top-end Lyriq’s 500 or more.

It appears to be a long, low sedan with a liftback-style rear.

Previous teasers show him wearing classy design elements. The bolts are stamped with the old motto “standard of the world”. The fenders bear a 1930s Cadillac symbol – a long-haired, winged figure called the Flying Goddess.

Art Deco cabin

The designers seem to have brought that flair for history inside. These new teasers show off an interior inspired by Cadillac’s golden age of art deco.

The seats are perforated red leather, inlaid with ribbon chevrons. Decorative metal accents under the head restraints recall the aesthetics of interwar architecture. However, they can be hell on the backs of taller riders.

The speaker grilles embedded in the doors are of a similar material – it looks like brushed nickel – over red leather reminiscent of a wing chair that smells of tobacco.

READ RELATED STORIES: Future EV models that could make you a convert

But that 1920s design aesthetic comes with modern elements – the seat adjustment knobs arranged in a tiny replica of the seat suggest that these thrones adjust in many ways.

The center console uses the piano black that Cadillac designers have loved for 20 years, but uses it better than recent Caddies. Etched with silver lines, it looks sleeker and less designed to catch fingerprints (ever tried to keep a 2010s Cadillac clean?)

Still a lot of questions

Cadillac plans to hand-build 400 or fewer Celestiqs each year. GM is converting part of its main research center – a building famous for its architecture – into a workshop for the task. The parts will be 3D printed as in 2031 and assembled by hand as in 1931.

That’s all we know about the Celestiq for now. This is clearly an important undertaking for Cadillac. It draws heavily from a brand history dating back to when art deco was new.

But the price, performance and profile remain mysteries. And you have to admit that all these details could go wrong in a car that makes no visual sense.

But let’s hope they don’t. If all of these details blend into the sleek sedan they should show off, this could be a rare car that offers the best of American design. It could be memorable.

Betty K. Park