Cadillac is joining the ranks of Mercedes and Tesla by offering an over-the-air power and performance upgrade for its electric Lyriq SUV. For $1,200 (plus tax), you can get a permanent "Velocity Package" upgrade for your all-wheel-drive Cadillac Lyriq, while it sits in your driveway. Whether that's cool or lame depends on the customer.
From the factory, the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive Cadillac Lyriq makes 500 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. However, the Velocity Package bumps its torque output to 524 lb-ft, while horsepower remains the same. According to Cadillac, that additional torque bump is good enough to shave three tenths of a second from its 0-60 mph time, dropping it from 4.7 to 4.4 seconds.
At face value, it's pretty neat to be able to improve your car from its infotainment system. However, when you look just a little bit deeper, it might not seem as enticing.
Obviously, if the extra torque can be downloaded to the car without any hardware changes, then the powertrain was capable of that higher output from the factory. And it isn't like Cadillac realized some new way to add more power with a software tweak after releasing the Lyriq, as it's been available with that higher torque figure for China-sold cars.
In North America, all-wheel-drive Lyriqs wear a "600E4" badge, which represents its rounded-down torque figure in newton-meters, its electric powertrain, and four driven wheels (it's arguably the worst naming system in the auto industry). In China, customers can get themselves a Lyriq 700E4, which already has 524 lb-ft (709 Nm) of torque.
So Cadillac's Velocity Package allows customers to pay extra for capability that their car already has. Usually, that sort of thing is frowned upon by car enthusiasts, who feel the brand is just trying to squeeze extra money out of its customers. However, playing devil's advocate, the Velocity Package also replaces the Lyriq's standard Sport mode with a new Velocity mode. If that Velocity mode can drastically change the Lyriq's throttle input and driving feel, compared to the standard car's performance setting, then maybe it's worth the extra money. If nothing else, at least the improvement is unlocked via a one-time fee, rather than a subscription.
Without driving the Lyriq both with and without the Velocity Package, it's impossible to tell, but hopefully Cadillac is making the power upgrade justify the cost. Is an additional 74 lb-ft of torque and a three-tenths-quicker sprint to 60 mph worth a four-digit charge? Sound off in the comments.
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