Months after announcing the name of its first electric crossover and days after trademarking a few more similar names, Cadillac is giving the world a look at a show car that will go into production in the near future. Dubbed the Lyriq, it will be a battery-electric luxury crossover that will push the brand into a new era, the automaker hopes, one defined by zero-emissions luxury and bold design.
First announced in early March of this year the brand’s first true EV will be based on General Motors’ upcoming modular electric platform. The automaker’s Ultium propulsion system, which made news earlier this year and has been the subject of conversation, will provide the power and a range for this model that Cadillac says will exceed 300 miles on a full charge, and will be capable of DC fast-charging rates of over 150 KW. Set to be offered in rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations, the Lyriq is expected to pull Cadillac into a segment that has seen plenty of interest from German automakers including Volkswagen, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, but whose models have suffered some delays in getting here.
When it comes to design the Lyriq will represent the new generation of Cadillac’s look, which evolved from the Art and Science design language rolled out just over 20 years ago. The exterior of the electric crossover will still feature recognizable elements of that lineage, but will pull the brand into a new direction influenced by its zero-emissions powertrain. The Lyriq will feature a wide stance and crisp lines, creating an impression of speed while standing still helped by a fast roofline. In place of the traditional Cadillac grille, the Lyriq will feature what Cadillac calls a “black crystal” grille that will incorporate slim LED signature lighting. Out back, meanwhile, the Lyriq will wear a split taillight layout complemented by slim LED elements.
“The Lyriq represents the next iteration of the iconic brand’s styling, enabled by electrification, as only Cadillac can express,” said Andrew Smith, executive director, Global Cadillac Design. “Inside and out, Lyriq is a thoughtful integration of design and technology and is intended to make every drive an occasion.”
A clean-sheet design, the Lyriq was engineered from the ground up to be an EV instead of using an existing gas-engined platform, even though Cadillac already has plenty of those as well in its stable. Intended to offer near 50/50 weight distribution and a low center of gravity thanks to the placement of the battery, the Lyriq is promised to provide the driving experience of a rear-wheel drive vehicle, but those who need all-wheel drive won’t be left out in the cold.
“Lyriq was conceived to make every journey exhilarating and leverages more than a century of innovation to drive the brand into a new era, while rewarding passengers with a more personal, connected and immersive experience,” said Jamie Brewer, Cadillac Lyriq chief engineer. “To do this we developed an architecture specifically for EVs. It is not only an exceptional EV, but first and foremost a Cadillac.”
When it comes to the battery the Lyriq will have approximately 100 kWh of juice at its disposal, with the Ultium batteries featuring a nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum composition. Cobalt’s share has been decreased by 70 percent in this new generation of battery, the automaker notes, and the battery itself will be organized in flat pouch cells that make cooling easier and simplify their construction process. The electronic components of the battery, meanwhile, will be incorporated into modules — a method that will cut almost 90 percent of the internal wiring of the battery pack. The result of this construction method, one which differs from GM’s current EV batteries, will offer a simpler construction process and better cooling performance.
The Lyriq promises to be as much about the interior luxury experience as about the potential of EV drivetrain, and will feature a 33-inch diagonal LED infotainment screen in a landscape orientation, as well as a dual-pane augmented reality-enhanced head-up display for the driver displaying direction, speed and other vehicle parameters. And of course, the Lyriq will feature the latest version of Cadillac’s SuperCruise semi-autonomous driver assistance system, which will offer automated lane changes, among other capabilities.
While these systems are expected to move forward the technology aspect of the brand’s offering in this new crossover, the luxury experience will advance as well thanks to a new active road noise cancellation technology that will utilize a greater number of accelerometers and microphones.
“With this new system, Cadillac’s performance and audio engineers can target the frequency range of tire cavity noise, reducing the noise level in the vehicle and allowing for a quieter in-cabin experience,” the automaker says.
When it comes to sounds other than road noise in its interior, the Lyriq will offer a 19-speaker system developed by AKG. And being an EV at its core, the Lyriq will feature an interior largely unconstrained by the systems of gas-engined models, which has given Cadillac’s interior designers greater freedom to plan out the passenger space.
When will we see Lyriq on the roads?
That’s still some distance in the future: GM says that the crossover will enter production in late 2022, but we’ll see the Ultium battery a year before that time frame in the new Hummer EV. But we’ll get a few more detailed glimpses of the Lyriq before it arrives, including a more complete look at its interior.