This is the car that will lead the way in a new assault on the world markets for the famous Cadillac brand.
Lyriq’s electric SUV will provide the basis for Cadillac’s return to Europe and other markets, possibly including Australia.
A mid-sized SUV comparable in size to BMW’s X3 and Audi’s Q5, the Lyriq is a handsome looking thing in the metal. It has a long hood, muscular hips and bold detailing on the headlights, grill and taillights.
The door handles fold flush with the door panels – much like Tesla’s Model Y – and the cabin is dominated by a huge curved digital screen that houses a driver display and central touchscreen.
Bright chrome accents lift the interior and there is an abundance of storage space, thanks to the fact that there is no transmission tunnel running through the center of the vehicle.
Passengers in the second row will find more leg and knee room than in a mid-sized German luxury SUV, while the reading load space is quite large.
However, it is on the road that the Lyriq impresses.
A 250 kW rear-mounted electric motor keeps everything moving quickly and quietly, although there’s not the brutal launch you’d feel in a Tesla Model Y.
Once you get moving, however, there is an impressive rise at most speeds when you press the accelerator.
The location for our short test drive was GM’s massive Milford Proving Ground outside of Detroit, and we put the Lyriq to the test on a variety of surfaces designed to mimic public roads. That included big bumps and dips, a simulated level crossing, and some sweeping, high-speed corners.
The Cadillac impressed with its composure, well settled after bigger bumps and flat corners, even when confronted with broken, corrugated bitumen.
Precise steering and reassuring grip add to the driving pleasure, although you can feel the significant weight shift when asked to change direction quickly.
Cadillac claims the Lyriq is good for 500km of range, although that may decrease once the more realistic WLTP standard for range is applied.
In the US, the Lyriq starts at $62,990 in the rear-wheel drive form. A twin-engine version will launch early next year with around 370 kW of power for just an additional $2,000.
GM won’t confirm whether the Lyriq will be available with right-hand drive, but it seems likely, as it seems the most logical choice for a Cadillac renaissance in European and international markets.
GM International president Shilpin Amin says designing vehicles for both left and right-hand drive is “much easier” on an electric vehicle platform.
“Because it’s so efficient to pre-build it with left- and right-handed markets in mind, you no longer need the volumes to justify it. You can actually do it quite efficiently at all volumes for markets around the world,” he says.
That’s encouraging news for Aussie Cadillac fans.
Christian Soemmer, director of GM Strategic Markets, Alliances and Distributors, says the brand has “ambitious goals” in overseas markets, including Australia.
“We want to increase our international scale. Australia and New Zealand are an absolute pillar of that region. We are always looking for more opportunities,” he says.
Cadillac will lead GM’s transformation into a leading EV maker and compete with Tesla.
It will not launch any new petrol cars after 2026 and will only drive electric by 2030.
Tristan Murphy, Cadillac’s interior design manager, said the shift in focus to electric cars gave the design department an opportunity to re-imagine the once-legendary brand.
“I think it was a good opportunity for us to step back and say OK as we move forward into the future, what do we want Cadillac to be? It was a chance to reinvent it,” he says
The design team was also aware of its duty to honor the badge’s heritage.
“I definitely don’t want to say it’s retro, but there are some retro signs because there are some things in our history that we want to hold onto. There are those little winks and nods to our history, because an EV Start-up company doesn’t have that,” he says.