The luxury brand's first EV has arrived.
The world knows by now that Cadillac's parent company, General Motors, is aiming to become an electric vehicle-only automaker by 2035. That's only 14 years away, and a lot needs to happen between now and then.
The all-new 2023 Cadillac Lyriq is an excellent start. Cadillac describes the Lyriq's debut as a "pioneering moment" for the luxury brand, partially evidenced by the fact it was revealed more than a year before customer deliveries begin. It's understandable to feel Cadillac's excitement because the Lyriq presents a very attractive overall package with plenty of advanced features, the latest evolution of the "Art & Science" exterior design language, and an interior with a massive LED display screen.
Equally important, the Lyriq is an ideal daily driver with more than enough range to get owners through the week and then some. Cadillac knows it needs to hit a home run here because not only is the competition fierce, but its very future depends on the Lyriq's reception.
The Lyriq is a "clean-sheet" design though it's distinctly a Cadillac. The bold front grille stands out because of the black crystal with a striking lighting pattern running along the sides and bottom essentially surrounding the brand's emblem. LED daytime running lights, instead of being integrated into the headlight assembly, consist of two large strips, one on each side of the front end. Above them are the ultra-narrow LEDs.
The rear end has an equally striking look with split taillights that begin on the C-pillars and extend and angle downwards into the rear glass. The light design is divided into two with a set of additional long lights above the rear bumper, again at each side.
A set of 20-inch split six-spoke alloy wheels comes standard and 22-inchers are optional. Only two exterior colors are on offer: Satin Steel Metallic or Stellar Black Metallic. The former, pictured here, looks fantastic with the black roof and lower body panel combination. Overall, the production-spec Lyriq looks nearly identical to the concept. The main change appears to be some front and rear fascia tweaks and larger side mirrors.
The interior boasts a clean and high-tech design. A massive 33-inch curved LED display, capable of emitting over one billion colors is standard. Both the driver's gauge cluster and touchscreen display are encased here. Beneath the touchscreen are HVAC buttons running along a single horizontal strip lightly angled towards the driver. A 19-speaker AKG Studio audio system with headrest speakers is standard. Two interior colors are offered: Sky Cool Gray and Noir.
The three-spoke steering wheel contains buttons on either side controlling things like speaker volume, Bluetooth, and other infotainment system functions. The center console is split into two; the section closest to the driver has the gear selector dial while the second half has a pair of cupholders. There's also an advanced noise-cancellation system.
Designers paid close attention to the smallest of details. For example, there are intricate laser-etched patterns through wood over metal trim - a first for any vehicle from any automaker. The two-row Lyriq has a total interior passenger volume of 105 cubic feet. Behind the rear seats is 28 cubic feet of cargo volume, which expands to 60.8 cubic feet with the seats folded flat.
Anyone concerned about a lack of performance should be put as ease after these next few lines. The Ultium platform-based Lyriq comes powered by a 12-module, 100-kWh battery pack that's good for an estimated 340 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. Drivers can expect around 300 miles of range.
Refilling is quick thanks to DC fast-charging capability, meaning it can add 76 miles of range in about 10 minutes at 190-kW stations. In 30 minutes, you can get almost 200 miles of range. Buyers will also receive a dual-level charge cord and a 19.2 kW home charging module enabling 52 miles of range per charging hour.
Two other useful features are Regen on Demand technology and one-pedal driving. When combined they allow drivers to control how quickly the vehicle slows down and comes to a full stop by using a steering-wheel-mounted paddle that responds to hand pressure. Cadillac did not provide specific performance times, though a 0-60 mph time of around 5 seconds sounds about right, despite the Lyriq's hefty curb weight of 5,610 pounds.
Cadillac has confirmed the 2023 Lyriq will carry a starting price of $59,990. One must also factor in the $7,500 federal tax credit and other state-by-state incentives. Production will take place in Spring Hill, Tennessee and reservations will begin this September. Deliveries will get underway in the first half of 2022.
The all-electric SUV segment is expected to become immensely popular, as are luxury EVs like the Lyriq. At launch, its main rival will be the Tesla Model Y. Both are similarly sized, though the Tesla offers a (tiny) third-row option. The Model Y also costs less initially, but the Performance variant costs only a couple thousand more than Lyriq. Another likely rival is the Audi e-tron, which comes in at $65,900 before tax credits.
The Cadillac Lyriq has the potential to help redefine the brand for the new era of e-mobility. Let's hope it lives up to that expectation.