This August, the world witnessed Cadillac’s online reveal of its first all-electric luxury crossover—the Lyriq show car. But more than its global debut, the propulsion system and supporting technologies involved position Cadillac to be a leader in electrification, connectivity and automated driving. All these delivered with thrilling performance and a new threshold in technology integration.
“Led by Lyriq, Cadillac will redefine American luxury over the next decade with a new portfolio of transformative electric vehicles (EVs),” said Steve Carlisle, executive vice president and president of General Motors North America. “We will deliver experiences that engage the senses, anticipate desires and enable our customers to go on extraordinary journeys.”
For starters, the Lyriq is based on GM’s next-generation, modular EV platform and driven by the Ultium propulsion system, allowing Cadillac to offer a variety of range and performance options. Since EV factors in drive range as one of its most significant selling points, Lyriq offers beyond 300 miles (480 km) of range on a full charge (based on internal testing). What is more, there are charging options that fit a variety of preferences for home, workplace, and on the road. Drive train offers rear-wheel and performance all-wheel-drive configurations.
There’s also the latest version of Super Cruise3, the industry’s first truly hands-free driver assistance feature, available on more than 200,000 miles (320,000 km) of compatible highways and recently enhanced to include automated lane change. When it comes to new tech, there’s dual-plane augmented reality-enhanced head-up display and remote self-parking. Moreover, there’s the brand’s most seamless and adaptive technology interaction with the driver and passengers. That includes the latest Cadillac user experience, which is showcased in a 33-inch-diagonal advanced LED screen that spans the entire viewing area of the driver.
“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.”
Cadillac’s all-new, modular EV platform serves as the foundation for the Lyriq’s performance. With a dedicated EV architecture, its design eliminates significant physical constraints associated with adapting electric propulsion within a conventional vehicle architecture, for an optimized design that supports more excellent driving range, engaging driving experience and a new interpretation of passenger space.
Within the Lyriq, the Ultium battery system is a structural element of the architecture, integrated with ways that contribute to ride and handling, as well as safety. The lower center of gravity and near 50/50 weight distribution enabled by the placement of the battery pack results in a vehicle that’s sporty, responsive and allows for spirited driving.
Additionally, the Lyriq is driven primarily by the rear wheels, with a performance all-wheel-drive option available. Placing the drive motor at the rear of the vehicle contributes to more balance and agility, and also enables the system to channel more torque to the pavement without wheel spin for more acceleration and cornering capability. Vehicles equipped with performance all-wheel drive go a step further, with a second drive unit placed at the front of the vehicle, which allows for a significant amount of tuning flexibility, enhancing vehicle dynamics and performance for drivers.
GM’s new Ultium battery system offers approximately 100 kilowatt-hours of energy. The new battery’s state-of-the-art NCMA (nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum) chemistry uses aluminum in the cathode to help reduce the need for rare-earth materials such as cobalt. GM engineers reduced the cobalt content by more than 70% compared to current GM batteries.
The advanced battery chemistry is packed in large, flat pouch cells that enable smart module construction to reduce complexity and simplify cooling needs. Additionally, the battery electronics are incorporated directly into the modules, eliminating nearly 90% of the battery pack wiring, compared to GM’s current EVs. When it comes to charging, Lyriq offers quick and convenient charging options, whether at home or on the go. With DC fast charging, the Lyriq can charge at rates over 150 kW.
Lyriq has been envisioned to make interaction with its technologies more intuitive and rewarding. Upon approach, the Lyriq recognizes the driver and initiates a greeting with a choreographed lighting sequence, while also preparing the cabin for the journey, including seat, mirror and climate system adjustments. Once inside, the Lyriq offers Cadillac’s highest level of driver information, infotainment and connectivity integration, for a more seamless and rewarding experience.
A 33-inch-diagonal advanced LED display artfully integrates a single, large screen that spans the viewing area for the driver and incorporates driver information details, infotainment controls and camera views. This new display has the highest pixel density available in the automotive industry today. It can display over 1 billion colors, 64 times more than any other vehicle in the automotive industry, providing a stunning in-vehicle experience unlike anything seen before from Cadillac.
There are other technology and interactive highlights. For one, the battery and charging monitoring is conveyed by easy, at-a-glance graphics. The system identifies the vehicle’s energy needs at home and on the go, according to owner preferences, while also monitoring and forecasting energy consumption and providing charging suggestions. Moreover, the new dual-plane augmented reality-enhanced head-up display employs two planes: a near plane indicating speed, direction and more, and a far plane displaying transparent navigation signals and other important alerts.
Then there’s the latest version of Super Cruise, the hands-free driver assistance feature, including automated lane change. The supervised remote parking, meantime, uses ultrasonic sensors to help the Lyriq park itself in parallel or perpendicular parking spaces—whether the driver is inside or outside of the vehicle.
Lyriq’s technology also addresses sound in two important ways: Blocking unwanted noises and making the most of this resonance passengers want to hear.
For the first time, Cadillac will introduce a new road noise cancellation technology, which takes active noise cancellation to the next level by introducing more microphones and accelerometers, which improve noise cancellation abilities. 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 Cadillac Lyriq builds on the brand’s exclusive partnership with AKG. “With LYRIQ we wanted to deliver a sound experience that would transport the driver from a vehicle into a recording studio,” said Hussein Khalil, Cadillac lead audio design release engineer. “With the AKG sound system, we are able to deliver this experience along with the quality and reliability luxury customers expect.”
At launch, Lyriq will offer a 19-speaker AKG Studio audio system that delivers exceptionally crisp and precise sound reproduction, enabling drivers and passengers to enjoy their favorite music.
Cadillac’s first electric SUV makes a bold design statement that introduces a new look, proportion and presence for the brand’s new generation of EVs. It’s a forward-looking vision unconstrained by the needs of a traditional internal combustion engine and driveline.
“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.”
Defined by taut lines and clean surfaces, Lyriq is assertive and modern, characterized with a low, fast roofline and wide stance that emphasize agility and convey confidence. Additional details such as a flow-through roof spoiler express the careful attention paid to aerodynamics to optimize efficiency on the highway.
A distinctive “black crystal” grille in the front is one of the Lyriq’s most unique and expressive design elements. It is also a dynamic feature, as it is part of a dramatic lighting choreography that—along with bold vertical, slim LED signature lighting—greets the owner upon approach. At the rear, a split tail lamp design incorporates narrow LEDs that are also integrated into the lighting choreography.
Inside, the Lyriq’s new EV architecture opens up possibilities in vehicle spaciousness and design; and Cadillac designers used this as an opportunity to rethink how to use the space and where to locate various interior elements. The result is a more airy, minimalistic design that does more to involve the driver and passengers in the driving experience while offering exceptional functionality when it comes to storage solutions. It is also brimming with subtle yet obsessive details such as backlit speaker grilles, curved screens with hidden storage and, like the exterior, orchestrated lighting features. (Story and photo: General Motors)