PARK CITY, Utah — Going back to the auto industry’s first production car with an electric self-starter, in 1912, and the first mass-produced V-8, in 1915, Cadillac has introduced some of the most novel advances to make driving and owning a car more convenient and enjoyable. The sunroof, memory power seats and air suspension are also among Cadillac’s innovations. In 1964, the brand delivered another first: heating, ventilation and air conditioning controlled automatically by an onboard thermostat.
Cadillac is breaking more new ground with the Lyriq, its first modern electric vehicle, which journalists had a chance to drive here in June. Here are some of the nifty features on the 2023 Lyriq that look forward but also celebrate Cadillac’s past.
Approach the Lyriq with the key fob, and a dynamic light show unfolds out front. Starting with the small Cadillac crest, LED lights cascade outward across the face. The show is punctuated by vertical headlights at the outer edges.
One of the first Easter eggs encountered upon entering pays homage to Cadillac’s past. Three ducks are posed on each of the two end caps of the dash. They are a reference to the noble merlettes on the family crest of Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, who founded Detroit. Outside, when you press the Caddy crest behind the left front wheel arch, a vertical panel slides forward and down — like a hidden door — revealing the charging port.
The centerpiece is a one-piece, 33-inch curved LED display, home to an infotainment screen on the right and the instrument cluster in front of the driver.
The Lyriq, like some Mercedes-Benz and BMW models, is operated by a steering column shifter — press the thin arm on the right up and down to engage drive modes. On the back deck, push the Cadillac crest and the liftgate opens. Cadillac has embraced knurling, from the vent knobs to the media controller to the central beverage storage area to the steering wheel-mounted toggles.
“We want to highlight rather than hide the cupholders,” said Tristan Murphy, the Lyriq’s interior design manager.
The power seat control levers were moved to the door to allow for wider and more comfortable seats. Even the coat hooks are all-new.
To block unwanted noise inside, the Lyriq features Cadillac’s new active noise cancellation technology via AKG speakers. Accelerometers in the four corners measure and predict road inputs and tire noise and translate them into a frequency.
“The goal is create a memorable experience throughout the vehicle,” Murphy said.
EV brakes work differently, combining traditional wheel-mounted friction brakes with regeneration that captures energy from the slowing wheels and directs it back to the battery. General Motors created its own software to make the Lyriq’s brakes feel more natural while maximizing energy recovery.
Cadillac engineers also gave the Lyriq one-pedal driving, in which energy regeneration ratchets up enough that the EV will usually slow to a stop without the driver pressing the brake pedal, while avoiding slow coasting.
Drivers can choose one-pedal driving or select less regeneration and use the brakes normally. The Lyriq provides two levels of regenerative deceleration.
A paddle on the steering wheel allows drivers to increase regenerative braking, even in the highest one-pedal setting.
Cadillac designers and engineers obsessed over aerodynamics and benefited from an optimal canvas out of the gate: a low roof line, steeply raked windshield and flush door handles — the brushed-aluminum handles pay homage to Cadillacs of the 1960s.
Special attention was paid to the wheels and rear glass, where a flow-through roof spoiler — a top priority for designers — and rear deck lip maximize airflow, reducing drag and enhancing range. The absence of a rear wiper also aids aerodynamics and reduces weight.
The standard 20-inch wheels and available 22-inch wheels, paired with low-profile tires, are stiffer than normal to reduce noise, vibration and harshness and help the Lyriq achieve a dramatic wheel-to-body ratio.
Jamie Brewer, executive chief engineer for the Lyriq, said the EV marks one of the first times GM has engineered wheels and tires to maximize aerodynamics.
Through the use of a precise reverse-rim machining process — a first for Cadillac — the 22-inch wheels match the striking scale of the Lyriq show car, delivering a larger visual appearance while maintaining refined ride dynamics. And the aluminum wheels with reverse rims also feature six inserts, improving aerodynamics by 10 to 14 drag counts, according to Josh Thurber, who led the Lyriq’s exterior design.