Competes with: Audi E-Tron, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Jaguar I-Pace, Mercedes-Benz EQC, Nissan Ariya, Tesla Model X and Model Y
Looks like: The XT6 of the future
Powertrain: Estimated 100 kilowatt-hour nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum battery pack powering rear-mounted drive motor; DC fast-charging supported; rear- or all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: TBA
Cadillac’s Lyriq all-electric SUV is finally here, though GM’s luxury brand is still calling it a “show car” and not a production vehicle … yet. The way Cadillac describes the Lyriq, however, indicates that most of what we see here will make its way into the production version.
Related: Lyriqs to Go: Cadillac’s Quest to Enter EV Market Starts With Dropping New Lyriq
The first vehicle in what Cadillac is calling its future “portfolio” of six electric vehicles, the Lyriq will use GM’s new Ultium battery pack — also being used in the upcoming GMC Hummer EV pickup truck — and is built on a dedicated EV platform. Cadillac says this makes it much easier to build a vehicle that can offer performance, range and uncompromised interior space.
Cadillac’s next generation of design language takes shape in the Lyriq, with its “black crystal” grille design that includes exterior lighting elements. Extremely slim, vertically oriented LED headlights flank the grille. One of the few exterior design elements unlikely to make it to a production vehicle are the slim side mirrors — at least unless U.S. laws allow for cameras to act as side mirrors by the time the Lyriq enters production.
Around the side of the Lyriq, dark glossy wheel arches are joined by rocker panels of the same material, and the doors are generously sculpted. An angular waistline runs the length of the Lyriq, and the large C-pillars include a lighting or reflective element that’s visible in profile.
At the rear, a narrow liftgate is horizontally bisected by LED lighting elements and additional slim, vertical taillights roughly mirror the headlight design and position. From the rear, you’re also able to see the Lyriq’s aggressive rear haunches.
According to Cadillac, the various lighting elements illuminate in a coordinated greeting sequence when the driver approaches.
Cadillac isn’t showing us as much of the interior — as befits a show car — but what we can see doesn’t look that fantastical. A single 33-inch curved LED display encompasses the instrument panel and infotainment screen, and behind that is a head-up display that Cadillac says can use “dual-plane” augmented reality.
The center console area is very minimalistic and features a knob control for the infotainment system. The console itself protrudes outward toward the instrument panel but, without a traditional transmission tunnel, leaves lots of space underneath it for storage.
Cadillac also says the Lyriq will use active road noise cancellation to keep the cabin quiet and will also feature a premium, 19-speaker AKG-brand sound system. And, like the exterior, the interior includes “orchestrated lighting elements.”
Driving Range, Performance and Charging
Total range remains one of the key measurements of all-electric vehicles, and Cadillac says that the Lyriq should offer at least 300 miles of range, according to its own internal testing. The automaker isn’t providing an estimated 0-60-mph time, but it says the Lyriq will be offered in rear-wheel-drive and “performance” all-wheel-drive configurations. The Lyriq will be able to use DC fast-charging at rates of more than 150 kilowatts, while its Level 2 charging will max out at 19 kW.
The low-slung battery pack and rear-mounted drive motor should improve the Lyriq’s performance abilities, though the low rolling-resistance tires usually used by EVs may prevent its full capabilities from being realized. The performance model could use traditional performance tires for those looking for more spirited driving.
Besides the augmented reality head-up display, the Lyriq will include the latest version of Cadillac’s Super Cruise hands-free driving feature. Cadillac says the feature can be activated on “over 200,000 miles” of U.S. highways and now includes automated lane changes.
Remote self-parking is also part of the Lyriq’s suite of gadgetry, though it’s unclear if this will use a smartphone app, the key fob or some other means to activate and control the SUV. No word on additional, specific driver-assistance and safety technologies, but we expect the Lyriq to feature the latest and greatest Cadillac has to offer.
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Cadillac hasn’t told us exactly when the production Lyriq will arrive yet, but production of its GMC Hummer EV sibling is expected to begin in the fall of 2021. If the Lyriq has a similar timeline, the Lyriq could go on sale in late 2021 as a 2022 model or in 2022 for the 2023 model year. Lots of things can also change between now and then, so stay tuned.
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