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Five cool things about the new Cadillac Lyriq EV that debuted Thursday

Henry Payne
The Detroit News

When the all-electric Cadillac Lyriq introduced Thursday hits dealer lots in late 2022, it promises to be on the cutting edge of electric-vehicle style, range and technology.

The Cadillac Lyriq that debuted Thursday night will hit dealerships late next year.

With an estimated $70,000 sticker price, Cadillac's first battery-powered SUV will join a luxury electric-vehicle market that's expected to be crowded with Tesla’s four-car lineup, three Audi e-Trons, the Mercedes EQC, Polestar 2 (Volvo’s EV brand), Ford Mustang Mach E and others. 

Here’s what sets the Lyriq apart.

1. Light show

The new Cadillac Lyriq has a black grille that lights up with dozens of thin LED lights.

Walk up to the Lyriq with key in pocket and the light show begins: The SUV’s blank face (like all electric vehicles, the Cadillac doesn’t need a grille to feed air to a gas engine) comes alive like a living room chandelier. Starting with the small Cadillac logo, LED lights cascade outward across the face like ripples from a stone thrown into a pond. The show is punctuated by vertical headlights at the outer edges. That’s right, Cadillac introduces its first-ever vertical headlights. While the lights are not as dramatic as Caddy’s signature 1950s vertical tail-fins, the effect is the same. In contrast with the minimalist designs of Tesla and Audi, the Lyriq is lush with detail.

2. Augmented reality

The new Cadillac Lyriq crossover has an augmented reality-enhanced head-up display that shows two planes: a near plane indicating speed, direction and more, and a far plane displaying transparent navigation signals and other important alerts.

Cadillac has led the industry in head-up displays. The Lyriq introduces the next chapter. Called “augmented reality,” it projects not one, but two planes of information in front of the driver. The near plane features information like speed limit and vehicle speed. The second plane is cast further out onto the road to help with, say, navigation. In a crowded intersection, for example, virtual arrows hovering over the asphalt will show which road to take.

3. The big screen

The new Cadillac Lyriq electric crossover has a 33-inch display screen.

Tesla wowed the auto world with a 17-inch vertical screen in 2012. Lyriq doubles it. A continuous, curved 33-inch LED screen stretches across the dash. It can be operated by touch or a console rotary controller. Cadillac says the screen gives it the real estate to be a leader in infotainment systems, so look for industry-best pixel density and configurable space. 

4. High-style interior

A center console rotary dial controls the infotainment screen on the all-electric Cadillac Lyriq.

The Lyriq is built on GM’s "roller skate" BEV3 platform that integrates the SUV’s big battery into the chassis floor. It makes for better structural rigidity and opens acres of space. Tesla pioneered this platform, with a front trunk – a “frunk.” Cabin space is freed up in the areas where a gas engine driveline traditionally resides. But Cadillac goes high style versus Tesla’s minimalist Apple design: The center console rises like a wave between the seats, the rotary screen controller perched at its crest (a similar bow bisects the rear seats, but may not survive to the production model). With Cadillac's signature Supercruise driver-assist system, drivers can comfortably recline while using the rotary controller like a TV remote. A noise-cancellation system will mute even tire noise, so passengers can enjoy the 19-speaker AKG Studio sound system. Ah, luxury.

5. Details, details

Cadillac released a teaser photo of the Lyriq battery SUV. It debuts Thursday.
will be unveiled Aug. 6.

Lyriq is stuffed with Easter eggs: Open the passenger door, and three ducks swim on the corner dash – an homage to the noble Merlettes on the family crest of Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the founder of Detroit. Press the Caddy crest behind the left wheel arch and a vertical panel shifts forward – like a hidden library door – revealing the charger port. Drivers may be surprised to learn a sci-fi machine like this is operated by a steering-column shifter – but this is no 1950s shifter off a Chevy pickup. Flick the thin wand up and down and it will engage drive modes.

Like all EVs, Lyriq faces the challenge of charging infrastructure. Cadillac believes most charging will happen at home, so the Lyriq is 19-kW charger capable and the company is working with Qmerit so buyers can get home charger installation. When on long trips, Lyriq will help you find a charger for its 300-mile range battery (middling range between a 220-mile Audi e-Tron and 400-mile Tesla) with the big screen or a mobile app.

The mobile app also allows you to monitor Lyriq remotely from your phone. Just like everything else in your 21st-century life.

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at hpayne@detroitnews.com or Twitter @HenryEPayne.