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The Cadillac Lyriq marks the entry of General Motors’ luxury brand into the EV space. The mid-size luxury crossover SUV started quietly in 2022 with a straightforward real-wheel drive design. That changes with the all-wheel drive option for the 2023 model, which indicates that Cadillac is ready to push its newest SUV line to a wider range of EV customers.

With competitors like Tesla, model names are as simple as a letter. Cadillac opted instead for a more striking name. So what does “Lyriq” actually mean, and why did GM’s high-end brand choose that name for a crossover SUV?

The history of the Cadillac Lyriq

A dark color Cadillac Lyriq parked indoors.
Cadillac Lyriq | Getty Images

According to Cadillac‘s official website, the Lyriq is the first all-electric SUV from GM’s high-end brand. Development began in 2019 when GM announced plans for an all-electric future. The company showed off a range of products, including a crossover SUV, and claimed that each would have EV variants much sooner than expected.

That project was ready for primetime in 2020 when GM revealed their Ultium batteries. The unique feature of their system—which helped make the Lyriq possible—is cells that are stackable either horizontally or vertically. Each car has a unique Ultium battery configuration for greater safety and weight distribution. And for EVs, proper weight distribution has an impact on their MPGe.

The Lyriq was unveiled in a virtual presentation in August 2020. A production model was shown off at the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show. And finally, in the first week of July 2022, the first Lyriqs arrived for sale in the United States.

The design language aligns with the rest of Cadillac’s offerings, making them somewhat stealthy as EVs. Some have criticized this choice, as most vehicles tend to show off their EV status at a glance. But for drivers who prefer an understated luxury vehicle for their first EV, Cadillac’s crossover is a great option.

Why did Cadillac choose the name ‘Lyric’?

So, given the history and careful unveiling of this newest crossover EV, where did that name come from? Is it a word borrowed from another language, with a deceptive meaning? Or is this name meant to conjure up the exact English word it reads like?

GM Authority reports that it’s essentially the latter. But for Cadillac, in particular, referencing musical lyrics has an extra layer of meaning. GM has long claimed that no other vehicle brand has been mentioned more often in music. The long-running luxury name pops up regularly in everything from country to hip-hop.

The state of the Lyriq in 2023

Now that we know the name references Cadillac’s deep ties to music, what about that particular “-iq” spelling? According to The News Wheel, it’s a line-wide naming scheme. It replaces the CT# and XT# nomenclature the brand previously relied on. While the current designs don’t make too big of a show of their EV status, the “iq” naming scheme reflects the automaker’s shift to an all-EV lineup.

The “iq” scheme marks the beginning of a new era, and Cadillac positions the Lyriq as the herald, motor1 reports. The overall popularity of crossovers earned the Lyriq its position in the luxury automaker’s marketing plans. The full-size luxury car option, the Celestiq, positions itself closer to the Tesla luxury sedan lineup. 

The only thing more important than leading the EV reboot with a new SUV is the associated tax credit for U.S. buyers. The Cadillac website informs potential buyers that a $7,500 clean vehicle federal tax credit is available for all of their EV buyers. The Lyriq is positioned as an unapologetically luxury-priced vehicle, starting at $58,590. That tax credit should make prospective buyers fairly comfortable with choosing an EV as their next commuter vehicle.


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