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Cadillac has unveiled its Lyriq, showcasing next-generation styling for the brand and introducing a new modular electric platform. The wraps were taken off online because the auto show season has been put on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. If it weren’t for the pandemic, the Lyriq would be a concept car on auto show floors.
Like most concept cars, the Lyriq teases the potential for a future model while providing insights into coming technologies. It signals the brand’s shift to a fully electrified lineup over the next decade. Any of these details may change in the road to production in late 2022, but here’s what we know so far about the brand’s first electric-only car.
It’s vital for any brand going forward to play in the electric car space. Despite pioneering work by General Motors with the early EV1 and Chevrolet Volt, and later the Cadillac ELR and current Chevrolet Bolt, the large automaker finds itself chasing the competition now.
Cadillac promises to join the arena already populated with several premium competitors that offer true electric cars or plug-in models. With consumers increasingly open to owning an electric vehicle, it’s time for GM to gain a foothold. Focusing on a modular platform that can be a foundation for numerous models going forward says something about its production efficiency and long-term commitment to this growing segment. But the expected 2023 on-sale date feels like a long time away.
The dimensions haven’t been released, but the Lyriq looks long and low in images and video. This follows the trend for luxury-branded electric SUVs, as we have seen from Audi and Jaguar, that emphasize style and sportiness.
The proportions and shape look similar to those of the Faraday Future FF 91, another upscale EV concept expected to one day reach production.
Cadillac underscored in an online presentation that the Lyriq reveals the new face and proportions for future models.
The dominant feature in the cabin is a curved 33-inch LED display that stretches from the instrument panel all the way to where the infotainment screen is traditionally placed. This builds on the presentation found in the 2021 Cadillac Escalade, which has a 38-inch curved OLED display. That screen has twice the pixel density of a 4K television, according to Cadillac. Technically, it consists of three screens, with a 7.2-inch touch screen to the driver’s left, a 14.2-inch instrument display behind the steering wheel, and an infotainment screen to the right.
There’s a center console knob in the Lyriq to navigate the infotainment screen. We aren’t enthusiastic by this development, because Cadillac controls have made significant improvements in recent models.
The cabin is hushed with active noise-canceling that uses microphones and accelerometers to smartly compensate for unwanted sounds, like tire and road noise. That silence can be filled with an optional 19-speaker AKG Studio audio system designed for premium sound quality.
What Drives It
The Lyriq will be offered in rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations. AWD versions will drive primarily the rear wheels, a trait that typically aids with performance driving. Cadillac says a near 50/50 weight distribution (front to back) and low-mounted 100-kWh battery pack will further aid dynamics.
The NCMA (nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum) batteries will be compatible with DC fast chargers at charge rates over 150 kW. The company says the Lyriq is engineered to offer more than 300 miles of range per charge. This is the first vehicle GM has shown with the new Ultium battery system developed with LG Chem, signaling that there are more to come from a new factory in Lordstown, Ohio.
The vehicle will be compatible with Level 1, Level 2, and DC Fast Chargers.
GM recently announced that it has partnered with EVgo to add more than 2,700 new public fast chargers over the next five years. This commitment, along with expansions announced by other companies, should make it far easier to charge away from home.
Safety and Driver Assist Systems
Cadillac hasn’t revealed what the standard equipment will be on a production Lyriq beyond saying it will have the latest version of Super Cruise, a partly automated driving system that can brake and steer on divided highways while the driver’s hands are off the wheel. The Lyriq adds a lane change on-demand feature that allows the driver to signal the intent to change lanes and empower the car to make the maneuver when it’s safe to do so.
Looking again at the coming Escalade, it’s safe to expect that the Lyriq will also have forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assistance, and front and rear parking obstruction warning.
Cadillac has said that the Lyriq will have a dual-plane augmented reality head-up display with two levels of images that seemingly hover in front of the driver, and remote self-parking that uses ultrasonic sensors to park the car in parallel and perpendicular spaces.
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