Cadillac might have been a late arrival to the luxury EV SUV party, but GM’s luxury brand is out to make a very bold statement with the recent unveiling of the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq EV which plays a new tune in the segment with technology, styling and performance.
The exterior styling is arguably the first item that many customers will notice when it is out and about in town. This new EV SUV is the first model to wear Cadillac’s all new design language, which incorporates a very sleek front “grille” with vibrant lighting elements, multiple vents within the lower front bumper and very slim vertical LED headlights.
The rear fascia is also a design-focused statement, with the rear lighting being split into two distinct halves. The upper half houses traditional LED taillights, while the lower half features angular LED strips. The rear also features a vented rear roof spoiler that aides in improving the aerodynamics.
GM claims that this latest iteration of the model is a near production preview, so look for some items to not transition to the finished product. We suspect that this will include the headlights and the mirrors to help those items comply with federal safety regulations. The Lyriq rides on 22-inch wheels, and in its present form, is roughly the same length as some of its rivals.
Cadillac claims it wanted to transport Lyriq buyers into a luxurious recording studio, and that is very evident when one slips behind the wheel of this near production prototype. A massive 33-inch display screen is prominently displayed in the center of the dashboard, and it’s a single unified screen that extends from just behind the steering wheel to the center of the dashboard.
This gigantic screen is also very vibrant, with Cadillac claiming that it’s capable of displaying over 1 billion different colors which allow the screen to display all kinds of information. This includes expected readouts for battery charge, an augmented heads-up display, remote parking, as well as the most current iteration of Cadillac’s Super Cruise technology.
Lighting also plays a prominent role in the cabin, with various trim pieces being illuminated by a welcoming white hued back light. Cadillac claims that the principle of layering played a key role in designing many of the materials that are splashed throughout the cabin. This includes the warm wood accents, the metal trim as well as some of the plastics.
The seats themselves are lightweight units, but like the exterior, we suspect some of the elements in play here will be tweaked for production duty due to safety as well as production constraints.
When viewed against rivals like the Tesla Model X and the Audi E-Tron, we think that the Lyriq is arguably the most visually stimulating of the bunch, and we hope the some of this early charm will not be lost in the final push towards a production version. Our favorite feature though is the slick little drawer that pops out underneath some of the controls. Cadillac claims that it is supposed to be reminiscent of a jewelry box, and it appears to have enough room to hold small items including most mobile devices.
As far as performance is concerned, GM is still keeping key figures like horsepower firmly close to the vest. However, Cadillac did reveal the Lyriq will come in a standard rear-wheel drive configuration, and a performance centric all-wheel drive version that actually adds a second electric motor to help provide juice to the front wheels.
The Lyriq also comes with GM’s novel Ultium battery pack technology, with the packs themselves being mounted low and towards the center of the floor. In the Lyriq, this helps create a near perfect 50-50 weight distribution which should help the SUV have decent handling chops when pushed hard.
If all of this sounds very enticing to you, we might as well mention the one bit of bad news here, the wait. As mentioned, the Lyriq featured in GM’s debut event is a near production prototype, with the production version not going on sale until late 2022 when it will appear as an early 2023 model. GM has not announced pricing as of yet, but we suspect it will be roughly in the same ballpark as the Tesla Model X and the Audi E-Tron.