General Motors teased a host of new electric vehicles at the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show, chief among them the forthcoming Cadillac Celestiq. The automaker described the Celestiq as “an ultra-luxury, fully electric ... show car.” And while we still don’t have a release date or really any relevant specs of note, GM did reveal some interesting features that are sure to whet your appetite.
GM first showed off the Celestiq to a handful of reporters at its “EV Day” event in early 2020, but it has yet to publicly release any images. The ultra-luxury sedan is meant to serve as a companion to the Cadillac Lyriq, which was unveiled last August. Both vehicles will be built on GM’s Ultium electric vehicle platform, which will power a wide range of vehicle types and sizes, including the GMC Hummer EV and the new BrightDrop delivery vehicles.
The Celestiq will feature all-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, and a full-glass roof. There’s nothing really unique about a panoramic glass roof, but Cadillac is taking it to the next level by making its roof modularly adjustable. The automaker describes it as “four quadrant suspended particle device smart glass,” which allows each occupant of the vehicle to set their own level of transparency. The tint of glass will match the ambient lighting in the interior cabin, said Crystal Windham, director of interior design at Cadillac, during the CES presentation.
If that doesn’t intrigue, maybe a massive pillar-to-pillar touchscreen will grab you. The Cadillac Lyriq got a lot of attention (both positive and negative) for its curved, 33-inch LED infotainment display. And now Cadillac appears poised to pole vault over that screen with an even bigger one in the Celestiq.
There is a bit of an infotainment screen arms race going on right now in the auto industry, with legacy automakers and startups alike all trying to outdo one another in size and functionality. Mercedes-Benz threw its gauntlet down last week with the reveal of its mind-bogglingly gigantic 56-inch Hyperscreen, coming to the EQS electric sedan later this year. Cadillac didn’t reveal the size of the Celestiq’s screen, but it promises to span the entire dash of the vehicle.
The picture quality promises to be next level. Cadillac has previously described the Lyriq’s display as having the “highest pixel density available in the automotive industry today and can display over one billion colors, 64 times more than any other vehicle in the automotive industry.” Prepare your eyes to be overwhelmed by pixels.
Of course, it remains to be seen how distracting to the driver all these screens will be. Without a robust driver monitoring system to ensure drivers stay focused on the road, these ultra-large screens can be a huge liability and safety risk. A recent study by AAA found that many digital infotainment systems turning up in newer cars may be distracting enough to increase the risk for accidents, especially for older drivers.
To be clear, the Cadillac Celestiq is likely to include Super Cruise, GM’s “hands free” advanced driver assist system that does include a driver monitoring feature. Let’s hope that it’s successful in keeping drivers’ eyes on the road and not on the screen.