Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Cadillac finally shows us the production-spec Celestiq, GMC reveals their first Sierra EV, Porsche brings back a fan favorite – the Carrera T, plus your news.
After what seemed like dozens of concepts and teasers, the Cadillac Celestiq is finally a reality. This all-electric “ultra luxury” sedan will serve as the flagship for the brand as they go full speed ahead towards a fully electrified fleet. The Celestiq will be produced in very limited numbers, each being personally commissioned and hand built. They say no two Celestiqs will be alike. With stats like that and its wild looks inside and out, calling it a flagship almost seems like it’s not doing it justice. This might as well be a halo car.
The Celestiq is built around the Ultium platform as all new GM EVs will be. With that comes a 111-kWh battery pack and a two-motor, AWD setup which offers a GM-estimated 600 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque. They say it should handle a 0-60 mph sprint in 3.8 seconds and go up to 300 miles per charge if driven like a sane person. Other mechanical features include Adaptive Air Suspension paired with the latest Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, rear steering, some fancy roll bars, an active rear spoiler, five-link front and rear suspension, and massive 23″ forged aluminum wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport EV tires developed specifically for the car.
But the specs aren’t what will draw most people in – it’s that styling. And it’s made possible in part by the Ultium platform but also its unique construction processes called Mega Casting and Flex Fabrication. The underbody is comprised of just six large precision sand-cast aluminum components – this reduces part count by 30-40 components for each casting and allows for a more efficient use of space and greater rigidity. Meanwhile the Flex Fabrication process utilizes metal sheets that can be folded and manipulated into the unique shapes required for the CELESTIQ design. This process accounts for over 300 pieces throughout the body structure, chassis, interior, and electrical components.
Another 115 parts are 3D printed, including the metal steering wheel center, seat belt adjustable guide loop, all window switches, grab handles, console decor, and other structural pieces under the vehicle’s surface. Additionally, all metal surface seen on the vehicle is real metal and they’ve been hand finished on pieces that are fine milled, anodized, and polished. You’d be hard pressed to find plastic in this thing.
Inside there’s the usual tech overload with a gigantic 55″ HD screen that spans across the entire dashboard. This is then controlled by a crystal multi-functional controller which acts as the literal crown jewel of the front center console. An expansive suite of connected cameras provides theft detection, crash recording, and other features that can be managed and accessed through the owner’s phone. The infotainment system is backed up by built-in Google services, including Google Assistant, Maps, and Play. Sound is blasted into the cabin through a 38-speaker AKG Studio Reference Audio System which supports a massive sound stage, 3D Surround, Vehicle Noise Compensation, Conversation Enhancement, and Phone Zones.
And last but not least there’s the fixed smart glass roof, which they say is the largest in the industry. This uses Suspended Particle Device technology to allow variable transmission in one of four zones independently – one for each passenger area. Tint levels can range from less than 1% to the standard 20% found in most sunroofs. The glass is also treated with infrared reflective and low-emissivity coatings that help retain heat and prevent sunlight from raising the cabin’s temperature.
All in all, the Celestiq truly is a halo car of a flagship that’s worthy of the “ultra luxury” moniker. And it truly will be personalized to each customer’s preferences. The ordering process involves consultation by a concierge who leads clients through every aspect of the customization journey from start to finish. The Celestiq is expected to enter production in December 2023 with an expected MSRP of at least $300,000 before the personalization goes into account.
GMC Sierra EV
The follow up to the Chevy Silverado EV that everyone saw coming is the GMC version, which was unveiled just yesterday. The GMC Sierra EV, presented in Denali spec, will be GMC’s first mass market EV (let’s be real, that Hummer doesn’t count). It’s expected to launch early 2024 with AT4 and Elevation trims launching for the 2025 model year.
The Sierra EV, like the Silverado EV and Hummers, is built from the ground up on the Ultium platform. And it’s no surprise that the specs are identical to its bowtie-wearing sibling. Front and rear electric drive units channel up to 754 horsepower and 785 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels and allow a driving range of up to 400 miles per charge. It offers a towing capacity of 9,500 pounds and up to 1,300 pounds of payload.
As is par the course for GMC, the main differences between a Silverado and a Sierra come down to styling and luxury. The bones may be the same as well as the basic structure, but it looks just as different as normal GMCs do and there’s no mistaking it for anything else. Meanwhile, the cabin is appointed with “authentic premium materials” including open-pore wood, aluminum, etched stainless steel, and more. It also has its own sleek, modern interior design and a panoramic fixed glass roof.
The Sierra EV shown here is the Denali Edition 1, which will be the first to see its customers in early 2024. MSRP on that one is $107,000. Normal Sierra EVs will start around $50,000.
Porsche 911 Carrera T
A fan favorite from the 991-generation Porsche 911 is making a comeback. The 911 Carrera T is a performance-minded 911 without the unnecessary luxuries and tech features. It’s a car for 911 buyers who prioritize performance over anything – except maybe their budget. In the 911’s immense lineup, the Carrera T slots in between the base Carrera and the Carrera S. There’s almost exactly a $10,000 difference between the Carrera and the Carrera T and a roughly $7,000 difference between the Carrera T and the Carrera S (comparing base prices only).
The Carrera T adopts the twin-turbo flat-six engine from the 911 Carrera, which generates 379 horsepower and 331 lb.-ft. of torque. But the T gets the mechanical limited-slip differential with Porsche Torque Vectoring from the Carrera S (these are not available on the Carrera). It’s also equipped with Sport Chrono and PASM Sport Suspension as standard – the latter of which is not available on the Carrera and is optional on the Carrera S. Rear Axle Steering is an option on the T as well, unlike the base model. The seven-speed manual is standard but the magical eight-speed PDK is a no-cost option. 0-60 mph ranges from 3.8 seconds to 4.3 seconds depending on the transmission and its top speed is 181 mph.
The Carrera T also adopts the Titanium Grey Carrera S wheels measuring 20″ front and 21″ rear. It’s also equipped with a standard GT Sport steering wheel, Sport Exhaust System, and four-way Sport Seats Plus. A rear seat delete is standard but it’s a no cost option to bring that back in case you have someone in your family who can actually fit back there. That plays into its 100-pound weight advantage over the Carrera (3,254 pounds total) as does the reduced sound deadening, thinner glass, and its more compact battery.
So the Carrera T once again serves to be the best value for drivers who want a compelling experience and don’t need the extra power or want the extra features from a higher spec car. Compared to the 911 Carrera S, the Carrera T only really loses out on 64 power, a few tenths of a second to 60 mph, and some high end options like the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes. But when you configure a Carrera S with the same performance options that the Carrera T gets as standard, the price difference is roughly $15,000. It truly seems like a bargain at $116,600 plus another $1,450 for delivery.
What’s your automotive news?
That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.