Designing the new face of the Cadillac Lyric

Enthusiasts often poo-poo SUVs as high-riding, joyless cash cows for the illiterate mainstream. However, the SUV in front of you deserves a second look – and not just because it’s a pretty preview of the near-future Cadillac. This angular, LED-festooned electric family-huller bears a weighty mantra: Translate traditional Cadillac values ​​into the zero-emissions era.



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First revealed in August last year, the Lyric was borne out for the lineage of luxury EVs, and the freedom given to the design team says a lot about the importance of this vehicle to GM. Add to the clean-sheet design the effortless flexibility offered by the electric Altium “skateboard” platform, and Chaps faced a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in Warren, Michigan.

We took a trip to the General Motors Design Center—one of 38 buildings on the 710-acre campus that was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2014—to talk to the people who have built Lyrica for everything from paper to clay to production. was prepared for. Imagination



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“Light is to an EV what thunder is to an ICE” [vehicle]says Candace Willett, an advanced lead designer with Cadillac, who specializes in choreographed feel and lighting. Light is the new chrome, sure, but the 736 LEDs on the Lyric’s exterior serve a deeper purpose than bling: explain to the customer that a near-silent car is reacting to them. When you hold the key fob within a 15-foot radius of the Lyriq, it will “wake up” to your presence. The light sequence begins at the Cadillac Crest, runs around a laser-built slush in the polycarbonate grille, trails in both amber turn indicators, and vertical “headlights” cascade down. When you get out of the car, there is a different choreography. A little “extra”? Yes, but arguably fitting for a brand that has built its reputation on glitz.

“We didn’t want a dead-front vehicle,” Willett explains, which sounds suspiciously like a jab at the unintentional snub nose of Tesla’s vehicles. (“Dead-front” is a technical term for a switchboard that has no live electronic components in front.) GM’s design team put a great deal of time and effort into Lyric’s LEDs. It fell to Dan Schmeckpeper, lead designer for exterior lighting at Cadillac, to work with GM’s suppliers to realize the move sequence for commissioning the new, 15-mm-wide “Slimline” lighting components that His team wanted



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Willett and Schmepper may have enjoyed great creative freedom with the Lyrica’s brilliant lighting, but since Cadillac built the Lyrica to a global specification, they also have to operate within the constraints of safety regulations both in the US and outside. . As most classic-car enthusiasts know, turn signals are one of the major differences between America and Europe: Across the states, turn signaling is fine with a red light, but across the pond, a blinker should be amber. Standing behind the Lyric, you can even see this peekaboo taillight – glamorous, yes, but mandatory to meet a special rule about the visibility of brake lights from various positions around the vehicle.



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Cadillac Exterior Design Director Brian Smith points a finger at the rear fender of a prototype, production-spec Lyric. He explains that the strong horizontal character line “melts” at the top-center of the SUV’s wheel; He’s especially proud of that bit of surfacing. Turning back, he takes a moment to talk about the Lyric’s flow-through roof spoiler, which is more of an edgy design cue. “It looks like an SUV, but it behaves like a sedan in the wind tunnel,” he says. “The air flows under it and is then picked up by the trip edge at the rear.” He flaunts a thin black lip which is located above the horizontal taillamp and protrudes slightly. The steep rake of rear glass, with this bit of aerodynamic trickery, also eliminated the need for rear wipers.



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Other aerodynamically-guided decisions are evident in the black plastic spots on the 22-inch wheels (which account for the .10 cd reduction), whose texture is raised along the coves of the rocker panel and next to the headlights.

Some lines on the Lyriq on an internal combustion vehicle would be nearly impossible. Even though the front drive unit in GM’s Altium skateboard platform is relatively tall and narrow, it’s still smaller than a Combustion powerplant and all of its accompanying accessories. Fun fact: GM’s powertrain engineers redesigned the front Altium drive unit three times, changing it from short and wide to thin and straight to accommodate the design team’s vision. Look for the low cowl, which wraps around the base of the windshield and flows directly into the beltline. It’s a design win, enabled by the redesigned powertrain. The Lyric’s wide, light-weight “shoulders” are another gift from Altium Architecture, which allowed the design team to aggressively push the wheels outboard and out of the plane formed by the greenhouse’s glass.



Motorcycle parked on the side of the car: Cadillac


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Chat with the interior designers, and BEV is even more revelatory in the freedom of skateboard architecture. First of all, no transmission tunnel! Instead, the Lyriq gets a cute, leather-lined purse-stashing spot and a pretty center console. Josh Thurber explains some of the psychology of car interiors: “First read” encapsulates the first impressions a customer gets when sliding into the cabin, dictated by things like the A-pillars, the silhouette of the dash – Lyric In, elegantly simple- and the size and shape of the infotainment screen. Last in the Lyric, there’s a 33-inch wheel that wraps around the driver, which houses both the instrument panel and the infotainment screen. The general look is similar to the display in the 2022 Escalade, but the Lyric’s 33-inch is actually a single LED screen; Its larger, body-on-frame sibling hides three separate OLED displays behind a pane of curved glass.



Motorcycle parked in car seat: Cadillac


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Most of the “second-read” features are textural: for example, the knobs on the knobs. In the Lyric, the same pattern is picked up on the rims of the cupholders, which share a center section at the press of a button to accommodate the handles on a coffee mug. “Third-read items” are things you might not notice until “weeks later,” Thurber says, “probably when you’re cleaning it up.” We gamed the system, and looked around until we noticed the angular contours on the covers of the seatbelt anchoring points. Clever.



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Cadillac has apparently taken pains in the Lyric’s interior to bridge traditional, analog controls with flashy haptic ones. Entire days in the design process are devoted to buttons and dials, hearing the various clicks and feeling the different actions. Some analog controls were moved from their traditional locations in the Lyric, such as the seat controller. To allow for a wider, more comfortable throne, Cadillac moved the adjusters from the sides of the seat to the door panels—an LED-backlit case that wears an attractive, laser-etched texture reminiscent of those on the grille … and behind a dash-mounted screen in the ventilation pattern. Naturally, someone also found room for a light-up caddy crest.



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Comparing a show car with its production-spec counterpart is often a sign of disappointment. How have the mighty fallen and such. Lyriq has changed remarkably little. It looks like the poster child of Cadillac’s electric revolution has really benefited from the freedom (and trust) GM has given to its designers. The enthusiasm of these creative people, who worked through a pandemic to finalize this vehicle from the confines of their home offices, bodes well for the success of their electric brainchild.



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Post Light Show: Designing the Fresh Face of the Cadillac Lyric first appeared on Haggerty Media.

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