• September 30, 2022 13:46

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2023 Cadillac Lyriq 450E, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car

Sep 3, 2022
2023 Cadillac Lyriq 450E, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car

2023 Cadillac Lyriq 450E, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car

 

2023 Cadillac Lyriq 450E First Test: The Electric SUV as Reset Button

Second chances are rare—has Cadillac wasted this one?

 

cadillac lyriq Full Overview

Pros

  • Great looking
  • Unique and stylish interior
  • Drives like a classic Cadillac in the best ways

Cons

  • Infotainment interface is a bit fussy
  • Silly door handles
  • Worrying assembly issues

 

The 2023 Cadillac Lyriq represents an important reset for the storied American luxury brand. After a resurgence around the turn of the millennium that started with the Art and Science-design Cadillac CTS and Escalade and through a period that ended with the demise of the CTS-V Sport Wagon, Cadillac was on a roll.

But it then squandered its momentum, ceding ground as a cool status symbol to archnemesis Lincoln and upstarts like Tesla. The industry-wide pivot to electrification is a chance for the brand to wipe the slate clean, and the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq 450E is the first fruit of that labor. But is it another CTS, or is Caddy having another ELR or CT6 moment? We’re about to find out.

What Makes The Cadillac Lyriq Tick?

Cadillac’s association with General Motors has often been more of a curse than a blessing, resulting in sport sedans with unrefined truck motors and/or switchgear shared with $20,000 Chevrolets. In the Lyriq’s case, however, the association is no curse.

The Lyriq rides on GM’s new bleeding-edge modular Ultium electric vehicle platform, which allowed Cadillac designers the freedom to pen a midsize SUV that somehow manages to recall the mid-century modern greats of Cadillac’s postwar years while also looking contemporary and visionary.

Propelling our Lyriq 450E Debut Edition test car and its long dash-to-axle ratio and kammback rear end is a rear-mounted motor good for 340 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, backed by a quick-charging 102-kWh battery pack.

The EPA says the Lyriq should be able to cover 312 miles on a charge, and the 190-kW peak rate helps ensure you aren’t spending much time tethered to a public charger when necessary. A dual-motor all-wheel-drive Lyriq is also planned. You can get the full details of the rest of the Lyriq package, including its passive suspension system, by checking out our First Drive here.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq 450E Debut Edition 17

How Fast Is The Lyriq?

With just a single, modestly powerful motor, we weren’t expecting Tesla Model Y Performance, uh, performance out of our rear-drive Lyriq test vehicle, yet it still impressed. The Lyriq zipped from 0-60 mph in just 5.7 seconds and through the quarter mile in a respectable 14.2 seconds at 100.5 mph.

That’s significantly slower than many electric SUVs in the segment (most of which offer dual-motor all-wheel drive as standard), including the slowest Model Y we’ve tested, which needed 4.1 seconds to 60 mph and a 12.4 second quarter mile at 114.8 mph. Yet it’s as quick or quicker than many of its gas-powered contemporaries, including the Lincoln Nautilus, Genesis GV80, and Mercedes-Benz GLE.

And although its 134-foot 60-0-mph performance leaves us a little wanting, the Lyriq manages a respectable 27.2-second figure-eight lap while averaging 0.64 g. Not bad considering its 5,654-pound curb weight.

Is The Lyriq Better On The Road?

The Lyriq drives wonderfully out in the real world. Unlike the violent rip-your-face-off acceleration you get in many of its EV competitors, the Lyriq is tuned more conservatively, in many ways mimicking how a big, understressed V-8 performs. Dip into the throttle and you get one big tidal wave of torque that you can surf long past any legal speed limit in this country. “The throttle pedal is well damped, too,” said associate editor Duncan Brady.

“EVs with instant torque tend to expose less smooth driving habits, but the relaxed response in the default Tour mode makes it easy to drive smoothly.” Those looking for more thrills, fret not, as dual-motor and V versions ought to pack more than 500 horsepower.

The Lyriq’s brakes are tuned well, too. The one-pedal driving mode is smooth and perfectly calibrated, allowing you to come to a complete stop, and should you ever need more braking power, pulling the paddle on the left side of the steering wheel results in even more regenerative deceleration. Those who prefer to brake the old-fashioned way will also find lots to like, as the pedal feels natural and offers plenty of bite.

Contemporary high-end Cadillacs are known for their fine ride quality thanks to the wide use of MagneRide dampers, but the Lyriq makes do with a more traditional setup using what GM calls “Passive Plus” frequency-selective dampers. As far as our finely tuned auto journalist butts are concerned, the likely cheaper passive dampers are nearly as good as the fancy magnetorheological ones.

The Lyriq floats over all but the harshest impacts—without actually becoming floaty, as did many of its predecessors. Also, like many of its mid-20th-century forerunners, the Lyriq isn’t overtly sporty but it handles competently. Put it this way: The Lyriq won’t leave you white-knuckling on a curvy road, but it also won’t ever be mistaken for Cadillac’s finely tuned V performance models, either.

Inside The Cadillac Lyriq

That’s just as well because it’s worth slowing down for a beat and appreciating the Lyriq’s interior. For the first time in a Cadillac this millennium, the Lyriq features bespoke switchgear and hardware not shared with lesser Buicks, Chevrolets, or GMCs. The new controls make a great impression. “They’re beautifully weighted,” Brady said. “The real metal and heavyweight feel of the knobs remind me of Bentley.

These are not things I anticipated would stand out in Cadillac’s new EV, considering how many of the brand’s cars share controls with other GM stuff.” More than just looking good, the Lyriq is surprisingly functional, too, with hidden storage (such as the drawer lined with blue leather in the center stack), comfortable front seats, and an incredibly spacious back seat and trunk.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq 450E Debut Edition 6

Still, there’s some obvious room for improvement. For starters, Cadillac’s infotainment system shows much promise—the curved displays and its Google Maps integration are particularly great—but the UX doesn’t make good use of the space, displaying blocks of apps that are difficult to navigate with the control knob.

Similarly, the door handles appear to have been engineered in virtual space; getting into the car requires you first press the door handle—which is really just a button masquerading as a handle—to get the latch to release and then grab onto a separate handle hidden in the window trim to pull the doors open …

unless you’re getting in back, as there aren’t any grab points back there. The Lyriq, despite being rear-drive in this test car’s case, also lacks the frunk that’s become so common on EVs.

On the worrying side of the ledger, we experienced build quality issues with our early production Lyriq test vehicle. The charging port cover flapped in the breeze, the rearview mirror vibrated subtly at highway speeds, and a handful of inconsistent panel gaps in the interior distracted from the otherwise beautifully furnished cabin.

And although the hardware for it comes standard, our Lyriq also didn’t have GM’s excellent Super Cruise advanced driver assist system due to the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage. Cadillac says owners will be able to add it at a later date with a software update and an indeterminate subscription fee.

Is The Lyriq Worth It?

Despite the build issues, though, the Lyriq still feels like a striking value at its $62,990 base and as-tested prices. Stellar to look at, good to drive, and generally easy to live with, the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq 450E Debut Edition provides both a viable and enticing path forward for the brand as we rapidly approach the middle of the 21st century. Second chances are rare. The Lyriq proves that Cadillac isn’t wasting one.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq 450E Debut Edition 2
2023 Cadillac Lyriq 450E (Debut Edition) Specifications
BASE PRICE $62,990
PRICE AS TESTED $62,990
VEHICLE LAYOUT Rear-motor, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
MOTOR TYPE Permanent-magnet electric
POWER (SAE NET) 340 hp
TORQUE (SAE NET) 325 lb-ft
TRANSMISSION 1-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 5,654 lb (49/51%)
WHEELBASE 121.8 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 196.7 x 77.8 x 63.9 in
0-60 MPH 5.7 sec
QUARTER MILE 14.2 sec @ 100.5 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 134 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.79 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.2 sec @ 0.64 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 97/82/82 mpg-e
EPA RANGE, COMB 312 miles
ON SALE Now