by Karl Furlong
Cadillac's first-ever all-electric vehicle needed to make a statement and the Lyriq, with its avant-garde styling and array of innovative technologies, achieves just that. Based on a new modular electric vehicle platform and sporting the Ultium battery system that minimizes the use of rare-earth materials, the Lyriq is a dedicated EV from the ground up.
In show car form, the luxury crossover looks like nothing else on the road and the same goes for the cabin, which is dominated by a 33-inch-diagonal advanced LED screen ahead of the driver. Both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive performance iterations will be on offer to help the electric Caddy fend off competitors from Tesla and Jaguar. Cadillac wants the Lyriq to position the brand as a leader in electrification and the futuristic crossover looks up to the task.
Although recognizable as a member of the Cadillac family, the Lyriq has an identity of its own. The vertical LED DRLs in front are a feature shared with the likes of the latest Escalade, but in profile and particularly with its low, fastback-like roofline, it strikes a dramatic and confident stance. The black crystal front grille is enormous, as are those glitzy wheels, but the lines are otherwise clean. At the back, a top lighting 'strip' wraps around the body and the back window is acutely angled. The clever use of illumination within the grille and even for the door handles adds to the striking looks. As a show car, we hope that most of the Lyriq's visual panache makes it to the production model.
Climb aboard and the Lyriq greets you with an interior that is just as dazzling as the outside. The sweeping 33-inch-diagonal advanced LED display houses everything the driver needs to know about, from infotainment to camera views. It's said to be capable of displaying over one billion colors, 64 times more than any other vehicle.
Cadillac's new active noise cancellation technology keeps the luxurious interior quiet, but a 19-speaker AKG Studio sound system provides crisp sound reproduction when you're in the mood. Another tech highlight is an augmented reality-enhanced head-up display that provides improved navigation signals. An enhanced version of the Super Cruise hands-free driver-assist system will also be available.
A four-seater configuration and loads of rear passenger space means that each occupant is afforded the ultimate in luxury and comfort. Meanwhile, the electric platform ensures optimal packaging, meaning the cargo hold is practical and capacious, without cutting into passenger volume.
The Lyriq will be available in both rear- and all-wheel-drive guises. The former has a rear-mounted electric motor, while the AWD performance variant adds another motor in front. Cadillac hasn't yet disclosed performance figures. With a new Ultium 100 kWh battery, the setup reduces the need for excessive wiring and improves packaging. With DC fast charging, a maximum charging rate of over 150 kW will be achievable, with Level 2 charging supported up to 19 kW.
The battery's placement contributes to superior ride and handling characteristics and helps the Lyriq achieve a near 50/50 weight distribution.
As for range, the Lyriq should be able to travel over 300 miles on a single charge. That's good, although the Tesla Model X can go 351 miles on a full charge so remains a leader in this respect.
Pricing has yet to be revealed and there is still a two-year wait for the Lyriq, with Cadillac saying the luxury electric crossover will only go into production in late 2022.
The Lyriq will go up against the growing Audi e-tron family, the Jaguar I-Pace, and the Tesla Model X, all of which start in the $70,000-$80,000 range. We'll have to wait and see if these competitors are improved by the time that the Lyriq finally arrives.