Cadillac’s Electric Push Includes the Opulent Velocity Concept
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Cadillac’s Electric Push Includes the Opulent Velocity Concept

By Jim Motavalli
Mon, Apr 1, 2024 7:00amGrey Clock 3 min

Though General Motors overall has shown some ambivalence about the pace of electric vehicle introductions—first canceling the entry-level Bolt, then reinstating it last year (though for an undisclosed date)—Cadillac is all in.

To prove it, the company is introducing a full range of new plug-in models in top-to-bottom market segments. Luxury is definitely covered. GM sold just over 75,000 electric vehicles last year, up 93% from 2022. The Cadillac electric line currently includes the Lyriq (a luxury-minded SUV that starts at US$57,195); Escalade IQ (a very fancy three-row that, later this year, will start at US$130,000); Celestiq (an ultra-luxurious limited-edition sedan, starting at US$350,000); and Optiq (an entry-level electric SUV for 2025, slotted below the Lyriq), starting around US$45,000. And let’s not forget the forthcoming 2026 Vistiq, a three-row SUV to complement the iQ. No price yet. And did you notice they all end in “IQ”?

Cadillac sold approximately 9,000 Lyriqs in 2023, with 3,800 of them moving in the last quarter. That made the Lyriq the best seller among electric compact luxury SUVs. Admittedly, a few qualifiers there: The Lyriq is also offered in China, and sales there climbed 60% in 2023.

Departing from the IQ convention is a new show car, the Opulent Velocity, which Cadillac has only shown in a teaser photograph and video. In the latter, a blurred image of the car races past. Speculation is that it will be a luxurious sedan like the flamboyantly styled Celestiq, but possibly more conventionally designed and with an emphasis on performance.

The Opulent Velocity concept car is in part a celebration of Cadillac’s V-Series, which presents performance versions of popular models. Recent offerings include the 2025 CT5-V and CT5-V Blackwing. These are brute-force supercharged V8 sedans. The US$96,000 Blackwing version produces 668 horsepower and 659 pound-feet of torque, coupled to a (rare these days) six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic.

The 2025 Optiq will be the entry-level electric Cadillac SUV
Cadillac

Phil Dauchy, global head of brand strategy and international marketing at Cadillac, points out that the company’s performance series is now 20 years old.

“The V-Series cars perform at the top of their segments,” Dauchy says, adding that the V-Series nomenclature will remain as the brand goes electric. But the EVs with lots of power are already there. “If you buy a Lyriq Sport all-wheel drive right now you get a car with more than 500 horsepower,” he says.

The electric lineup now is heavy on SUVs, but Dauchy says that Cadillac’s current CT4 and CT5 sedan models are performing very well in the marketplace. “There is a significant piece of the luxury market that is sedans, including in China,” he says. “Cadillac remains dedicated to its sedan lineup.”

The 2026 Vistiq is slotted between the Lyriq and Escalade IQ.
Cadillac

Dauchy declined to say how many people have bought those pricey Celestiqs. “It’s not about the sales numbers, though we have an internal sales goal,” he says. “We intend to produce fewer than we can sell. We want a vehicle that is hard to get. We also want a unique buying experience, with prospective buyers coming out to the Cadillac House in Warren, Michigan and choosing colours and fabrics and working with a concierge.” This bespoke approach has worked well for other luxury brands, from Rolls-Royce to Maserati.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Obendorfer says the concept will not be featured at the New York International Auto Show , which runs through April 7. “We look forward to sharing more details on Opulent Velocity later this year,” Obendorfer says.

Specialised venues—such as the recent Amelia Island and Audrain concours events—are a better fit for showing exclusive cars like Opulent Velocity, Dauchy says.

All of Cadillac’s new models will be electric going forward. Internal-combustion cars will remain in the lineup until the end of the decade. But the pursuit of performance remains. EVs today are the world’s fastest cars off the line, even if they don’t always excel at top speeds. The Celestiq, though its emphasis is on luxury, reaches 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, and its two electric motors produce 600 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque.



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Sparkling wine flows as Australian winemaker takes out top international award

The Tasmanian-based winemaker was among a number of Australian producers to be honoured at the event in London this week

By Robyn Willis
Thu, Jul 11, 2024 2 min

An Australian winemaker has taken out the top prize for sparkling wine at the International Wine Challenge, the first time a local winemaker has done so. It marks just the second time in the competition’s 40-year history that the award has gone to a winemaker outside France’s Champagne region.

Tasmanian-based House of Arras’ chief winemaker, Ed Carr, was presented with the award for Sparkling Winemaker of the Year at a special ceremony in London earlier this week.

“I’m incredibly honoured to be named this year’s Sparkling Winemaker of the Year. It’s a challenge to describe the feeling, but I’m proud to be recognised amongst my peers for such a significant international award,” Mr Carr said.

The IWC is considered one of the world’s most rigorous and impartial wine competitions. This year, France topped the medal tally with 72 gold, 394 silver and 455 bronze medals – extending their haul by 84 more wins than last year.  

The 40-year-old competition is considered one of the most influential events in the winemaking calendar.

Australian winemakers took out second place, with 54 gold, 250 silver and 154 bronze medals. Australia also won 19 trophies, 10 of which went to South Australia.

House of Arras also received the Australian Sparkling Trophy for its 2014 House of Arras Blanc de Blancs, as well as two gold and six silver medals.

Tasmania’s cool climate and soil make it ideal for producing world-class sparkling wine says Ed Carr (pictured).

Mr Carr said Tasmania’s cool climate and terroir were equal to the world’s best sparkling wine regions. The wins follow a strong showing this year at Australia’s National Wine Show and the Decanter World Wine Awards, where House of Arras also collected awards.

“2024 has been an outstanding year on the awards front, and I’m honoured to add this recent recognition from the International Wine Challenge to the mantle,” he said. 

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