GM is electrifying its vehicle portfolio. In the coming years, numerous battery-powered cars, trucks and crossovers will be introduced. On the front line of this product offensive is the new Cadillac Lyriq, an all-electric utility vehicle that officially makes its debut Thursday.
This electric crossover could be music to drivers' ears, as the Lyriq promises ample luxury, segment-leading technology and plenty of driving range, all with zero tailpipe emissions. "It is the beginning of a transformation of the brand," said Steve Carlisle, executive vice president and president of GM North America during a media presentation. The Lyriq is a "technology spearhead for the company," he added.
It's also something of a catalyst. This SUV, along with the as yet unshown Celestiq electric sedan concept, signals an important change at Cadillac. "We are moving forward with proper names for our products," said Carlisle. The brand will continue with the current alphanumeric nomenclature on existing models, "but we're all about proper names" from here on out, he added.
GM representatives are calling what you see here a show car, meaning it's perhaps more than just a concept, even if it's not quite fully baked. According to one spokesman, as shown, the Lyriq is 80 to 85% production ready.
The Cadillac Lyriq electric SUV is ushering in a new era at GMSee all photos
This is the first GM vehicle to be unveiled that features the automaker's new Ultium battery system, which is part of a modular EV architecture. Thanks to advanced nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum chemistry and careful engineering, these assemblies use 70% less cobalt, a rare element that's difficult to source responsibly. They'll also have a whopping 90% less wiring than current GM battery designs.
With a claimed capacity of around 100 kilowatt hours, the Lyriq should provide a driving range of at least 300 miles. The vehicle will be offered with either rear- or all-wheel drive. Expect a nearly 50:50 weight distribution for improved on-road manners, and according to Marty Hogan, the Lyriq's executive chief engineer, its center of gravity will be around 4 inches lower than a Cadillac XT5's. Serving double duty, Hogan also said the battery is "a structural element in the vehicle," enhancing stiffness and crash performance.
Typical of modern electric cars, this amped-up SUV should deliver impressive performance. GM has not shared an official 0-60 mph number, but Hogan noted, "This vehicle will not be a disappointment relative to where our competitors are at." A Tesla Model X in Performance trim, for instance, offers 305 miles of range and can hit 60 mph in an organ-bruising 2.6 seconds. It's not unreasonable to expect similar giddy-up from this Cadillac.
Once its driving range is depleted, the Lyriq's battery pack can be replenished quickly. The vehicle will support Level 2 charging at a rate of 19 kW and even DC fast charging at up to 150 kW.
"This is the future of Cadillac," said Melissa Grady, the brand's chief marketing officer. "And that future begins now." One look inside the Lyriq and you'll understand why.
A mammoth, 33-inch curved dashboard display is sure to wow tech-savvy drivers. The pixel dimensions of this LED screen have not been disclosed, but, "It will be at a very high resolution," said Andrew Smith, executive director of global Cadillac design. He also said to expect a good refresh rate and contrast ratio, plus plenty of vibrant colors as the panel can display more than 1 billion hues.
The Lyriq will also feature a new dual-pane head-up display with augmented reality. Comprised of two planes, the nearer one shows things like speed and direction, while the farther pane can project alerts and navigation signals onto the windshield.
Naturally, the latest version of GM's acclaimed Super Cruise will be offered on the Lyriq. In certain situations, and with careful monitoring, it allows hands-free driving on more than 200,000 miles of roadway in North America. As in the upcoming 2021 Cadillac Escalade, it will also support automatic lane-change capability.
For enhanced listening pleasure, the Lyriq will be offered with a 19-speaker AKG studio reference sound system. While not quite as impressive as the 36-speaker arrangement that will be available in the new Escalade, this setup should still absolutely rock.
One more clever feature this all-electric Cadillac will offer is called supervised remote parking. Basically, it enables the Lyriq to parallel or perpendicular park itself with the driver either inside or outside the vehicle. This technology should work a lot like Hyundai's Smart Park.
Elegant looks, inside and out
The Lyriq's face is dominated by a large grille, one with illuminated elements and even a light-up badge. It's flanked by vertical headlamps, a Cadillac staple for decades. The rest of this vehicle's body is cleanly styled and quite elegant, at least in pictures. We reserve final judgement until we can actually see one in person, but the images give us high hopes. As with its face, this EV's tail also features vertical lighting elements.
Aside from that eye-catching screen, the Lyriq's cabin should be suitably luxurious, both spacious and optimistic according to Smith, something he said is important for an American brand like Cadillac. The main console is cantilevered, not directly attached to the dashboard, which helps provide an airy feel. At the bottom of the center stack is a suede-lined, slide-out storage tray, one Smith described as a little jewelry box, an elegant place to stash smaller items. The Lyriq's interior door trim is also unique -- a wood veneer applied to aluminum. The pieces are laser-etched and backlit.
Coming in late 2022
Not quite ready for primetime, the Cadillac Lyriq is expected to go on sale late in 2022, meaning it's at least two years until examples start arriving at dealerships. It will be offered across the country. "Our intention is ... this will be a national play for the brand. Certainly, over time it needs to be," said Carlisle, since General Motors intends to electrify the Cadillac product range over the next seven to 10 years.
Drivers residing in other countries who crave a stylish and technologically advanced luxury SUV shouldn't fret, either. "Wherever we have a Cadillac network around the world we would make our EVs available to them," explained Carlisle. The Lyriq is meant to be a global product.
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