GM touts Cadillac ELR as brand-building halo car

Article by Anita Panait, on December 4, 2013

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.

New Cadillac ELR comes with a forward-leaning profile that reveals a new progressive theme and new proportions, taking over from the 2009 Converj concept from which it was derived. Its overall shape is highlighted by a sweeping body line and accented by its 20-inch wheels pushed to the corners.

Mark Adams, Cadillac design director, remarked that the new ELR represents a new dimension of the brand’s guiding philosophy of Art & Science. He added that the ELR is a luxury coupe that is laden with Cadillac's DNA of innovation and dramatic design. Of course, the new ELR features Cadillac’s signature cues like the vertical elements on its headlamps and rear lamps – something that has been a brand tradition since 1948.

The design of the new ELR is heavily influenced by aerodynamics, with airflow elegantly managed to allow the luxury coupe to move forward with minimal drag. This can be seen on the front through its flush front fascia, grille with active shutters and tapered fascia corners. This can also be seen on the rear through the sharp edges and its carefully designed spoiler. Moreover, the windshield and back glass of the new ELR features an aggressive rake that could cut turbulence and aerodynamic drag, allowing the luxury coupe to boast of a coefficient of drag of 0.305 Cd.

Customers could choose from a number of available exterior colors like Black Raven, Crystal Red Radiant, Graphite Metallic and Silver Metallic.

Meanwhile, the interior of the new ELR features an ergonomic cockpit as well as a number of luxury appointments. The flowing cockpit is also fitted with the latest technology interface. In addition, the interior comes with a continuous feature line that runs from the instrument panel through the doors to the back glass.

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