General Motors sees the Cadillac ELR luxury coupe as a brand-building halo car that will attract sales when it becomes available in January 2014. During a media test drive last month in Los Angeles, GM executives and engineers boasted of the ELR's sleek design, superior driving dynamics and luxury touches.
The ELR, using a Voltec powertrain found in the Chevrolet Volt, has a range of 37 miles coming from its fully charged 435-lbs battery pack. Once the battery becomes empty, a gasoline-powered, 1.4-liter, four-cylinder generator will take over to power the electric drivetrain, providing 295 pounds-feet of torque. According to GM, the overall range of the Cadillac ELR exceeds 300 miles.
To improve ride and handling, GM engineers threw in several elements like a HiPer Strut front suspension made from lightweight aluminum components; a premium ZF electric power steering system; a continuous damping system that adapts to road conditions every 2 milliseconds; and 20-inch wheels and tires. Despite being 300 lbs heavier than the Volt, it is still able to remain firmly planted during sharp cornering on snaky mountain roads.
The ELR features a low and aerodynamic body as well as Cadillac's trademark vertically aligned headlights and taillights. The interior of the ELR boasts of a microfiber headliner, hand-cut-and-stitched leather as well as available carbon fiber and real wood accents.
Other features include what Cadillac dubs as Regen on Demand, which allows a driver to use paddle shifters to decelerate while descending a hill or approaching a sharp turn, thereby converting its momentum into electricity that will be stored in the battery pack. The Cadillac ELR carries a $75,995 sticker price, including shipping, and will be built in volumes of around 3,000 units annually for North America.