Cadillac Lyriq electric SUV promises drama, 300+ mile range, and a long wait

Chris Davies - Aug 6, 2020, 6:30 pm CDT
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Cadillac Lyriq electric SUV promises drama, 300+ mile range, and a long wait

Cadillac has officially revealed its all-electric crossover, the Cadillac Lyriq, first of GM’s family to use the Ultium EV drivetrain. Described as a “show car” – and as such not quite the vehicle that will end up in Cadillac dealerships – the Lyriq promises more than 300 miles of range along with a futuristic vision of the cabin that features a huge display and augmented reality.

It’s been some time coming, certainly. Cadillac initially intended to debut the Lyriq earlier this year, but global pressures forced a postponement of the EV’s reveal.

What we see now is a sleek electric luxury crossover which emphasizes the flexibility in the Ultium platform. There’ll be rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive variants, Cadillac says, and up to 150 kW DC fast charging support. Even on a Level 2 charger, you’ll get up to 19 kW, the automaker promises.

The style is distinctively different from current Cadillac models, though clearly borrowed in places from recent concept cars. That’s no bad thing, with the “black crystal” front grille – that has integrated lighting – and slim, split taillamps at the rear, all of which use LEDs.

Performance isn’t being mentioned, at least not in exact figures. Instead Cadillac is talking up Lyriq’s low center of gravity – aided by the battery pack being slung underneath the cabin – and near 50/50 weight distrubtion. The result, the automaker promises, is “a vehicle that’s sporty, responsive, and allows for spirited driving,” though we’ll need to take a turn behind the wheel to know for sure.

The main drive motor is at the back, prioritizing the rear wheels. It means more torque being put down – always a bonus of EVs – without wheelspin. AWD, meanwhile, pairs that with a second, front motor, with power distributed between front and rear depending on traction requirements.

It’s the technology that Cadillac is counting on charming potential luxury EV drivers. Get close to the car, and it’ll “greet” you with a light sequence; more importantly, it’ll get the seat, mirror, and climate control settings ready for your preset preferences. Climb in, and a 33-inch LED display spans almost the whole dashboard. It supports over a billion colors, and Cadillac says it has the highest pixel density of any automotive display on the market at the moment.

All that space leaves plenty of room for information. There’ll be simple graphics for battery and range, with forecasts of energy consumption and suggestions as to where to charge. A new dual-plane augmented reality head-up display uses twin panels, one closer for speed, direction, and other information, while the second screen further out handles transparent navigation signals and other alerts.

Super Cruise is, of course, onboard, with Cadillac’s system offering hands-free driver assistance on divided highways. There’s also a supervised remote parking system, that will allow the Lyriq to move itself into and out of parallel or perpendicular parking spaces, even if the driver is outside of the EV.

What you hopefully won’t notice inside is road noise. There’s an active noise cancellation system which uses microphones and accelerometers to pinpoint the exact frequency range of tire cavity noise, and invert it to cancel it out. However a 19-speaker AKG Studio audio system then layers on top your own music, as a further distraction. It has backlit speaker grilles, too, for a little extra drama.

When can we actually buy a Lyriq, though? That, unfortunately, brings in the disappointment. Although Cadillac was eager to describe the car as its first Ultium vehicle, the reality is that production won’t actually begin until late in 2022. That seems a long way out, frankly, and saps some of the urgency Cadillac – and GM as a whole – has voiced lately around its “EV transition” moving forward.


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