Earlier this year, Cadillac unveiled the 2023 LYRIQ, the brand’s first luxury EV with a high-performance experience and the latest automotive technology.
“This is the Spark. The dawn of a bright new era. Our electric future, rooted in more than a century of innovation, begins with an uncompromising electric SUV. Meet the Cadillac LYRIQ Debut Edition. An EV that inspires its driver to charge forward to a greater purpose—with every sublime detail.”
This production model sets a bold new course for the brand, which redefines the infrastructure of electric automobiles at large.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with key members of the Cadillac team to discuss how the brand is redefining sustainable luxury.
Answers are attributed to Interior Design Managers, Tristan Murphy and Josh Thurber, Jamie Brewer, Executive Chief Engineer of LYRIQ, and Melissa Grady, Cadillac Chief Marketing Officer.
Keep reading to find out how Cadillac is heading towards a zero-emissions, all-electric future.
In what ways have electric cars revolutionized the automobile industry?
Building a new architecture, such as GM’s Ultium platform, is an incredible opportunity for Cadillac. Each new product is an opportunity to rethink what’s possible and elevate the brand. For example, the Ultium battery system is a structural element of LYRIQ’s architecture, integrated in 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 enhances vehicle dynamics and performance for drivers in ways not possible in a vehicle with an internal combustion engine.
Was it difficult to balance Cadillac’s new technologies with the critical design element? How do you find this harmonious blend?
The artful integration of technology is a core element of Cadillac design. This is evidenced on the exterior of the vehicle through the integration of Super Cruise, the industry’s first truly hands-free driver assistance technology. The radars for Super Cruise are hidden behind the grille and the cameras are integrated into the decklid spoiler, allowing for an uninterrupted exterior design while still delivering industry-leading technology
This same level of integration is carried through the interior of LYRIQ, blurring the lines of separation of audio speakers, lighting, and décor. It was a difficult but exciting challenge to combine elements that are usually separate. For example, the speaker grill on the door lowers. We have created one singular piece of metal sculpture, that not only looks beautiful, spanning the entire length of the door but also becomes the speaker grill. Throughout the industry, speaker grills are typically flat with little shape or surface sculpture. This piece of décor is so 3 dimensional, and sculptural, we had to engage our exterior sheet body engineers to help guide the supplier in the stamping process.
How is the Cadillac LYRIQ redefining the term “modern luxury?”
Modern luxury is all about delivering an uncompromising experience and meeting the customer on their own terms. Interacting with the vehicle should, in a word, be effortless. And I believe we’ve achieved this through impeccable craftsmanship and intuitive technologies. One specific example is through the experience of soft and hard controls. Soft controls being something executed through touch on the display screen. Hard controls being the physical controls. We truly believe that harmony comes from the combination of both. We spent a great deal of time on the overall look, and feel of those physical controls, such as knobs, or vent adjusters. The knurling/ textures that appear throughout all the controls become the main touchpoint, that not only had to look amazing but feel amazing as well. Having both hard and soft controls contribute to the idea of modern luxury, where a touch screen can be beautiful to see and use, hard controls give you that sense of craftsmanship and attention to detail.
How does the product’s design align with the brand’s signature style? What design aspects are new and distinct to the LYRIQ model?
LYRIQ sets the standard for the future of Cadillac. The Ultium platform allowed the designers to develop a striking silhouette with the wheels pushed to the corners and an athletic stance with its wide track. Overall the vehicle has an amazing proportion and stance. Another example of LYRIQ’s forward-looking design is the distinctive black crystal grille. It gives LYRIQ a distinctly Cadillac face, with our signature vertical lighting but takes the design to a new level through a choreographed lighting sequence that spans the entire grille.
The interior is a new statement for Cadillac. It represents not only LYRIQ but where we are going as a brand. The overall design is very clean and simple with a focus on secondary and tertiary design elements. The crown jewel inside is the large 33” diagonal curved advanced LED screen. An industry first, it sets the tone for the overall cockpit’s design with flowing design elements that run throughout the interior. Lines of chrome and wood flow around the driver, finishing in a laser-cut pattern that emits 32 optional colors of light.
True to brand DNA, the Lyriq Color and Materials for the interior strive to push the boundaries for innovation but are very centered around the human journey and sensory experience. Extremely luxurious materials create a sense of comfort and welcome in the interior, yet have a fresh, contemporary perspective, creating a sense of wonder and capturing our attention. You’ll find patterns creating a sense of harmony and flow through the interior, meticulously designed seat perforations and embroidery, and precision Cadillac-specific knurling inspired by jewelry and watch design. No detail was spared, and the designer’s influence can be felt throughout the interior and exterior experience.
What steps need to be taken to achieve your brand’s goal of a zero-emissions future?
Achieving our goal of a zero-emissions future all starts with great product, and we have that at Cadillac. It will also require a full transformation of the ecosystem as we know it. We are engaging a broad range of stakeholders to ensure that the emerging ecosystem serves the Cadillac customer and a zero-emissions future. For instance, we are working to prepare our dealer network to ready the retail experience for our EV customers according to Cadillac standards. As demand grows, we know our partnerships with stakeholders and investments as a brand will help create the necessary conditions to promote the adoption of EVs. In addition to preparing our dealer network, expanding the charging infrastructure and growing customer acceptance will be key. Last, helping customers understand the differences between ICE and EV vehicles, how charging works (from installation to plotting road trips), and helping them learn about their vehicles will be key for us to ease any questions and drive adoption.
Cadillacs are seen as a status symbol in popular culture. Will the new model uphold this reputation, or will it be seen as a more democratic, perhaps accessible option?
There’s no question that LYRIQ is first and foremost a Cadillac. It will offer industry-leading technology, stunning interior, and exterior design, and outstanding performance. With design features like the illuminated grille, LYRIQ will have an unmistakable presence on the road. With that said, as a mid-size SUV with and starting price of just under $60,000, we expect it to appeal to anyone shopping for a luxury SUV – EV or a traditional gas-powered vehicle. I know when you see, you’ll agree.
Where do you see the future of the automobile industry heading? How are Cadillac and the GM team at the forefront of this future?
It’s an incredibly exciting time to be in the automobile industry–technology is rapidly evolving – we will not only see the growth in electric vehicles but in cutting-edge hands-free driving technologies. At Cadillac, we are leading this charge by introducing technologies like Super Cruise, the industry’s first truly hands-free, driver assistance system. And, both Cadillac and GM have committed to an all-electric future, with Cadillac leading this charge by committing to offer a full EV portfolio by the end of the decade.
Photography by: Courtesy Cadillac