Over the two years that the Chevrolet Volt has been produced, it’s ushered in a new era for GM, and a new era of understanding and acceptance for electric cars thanks to its the extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) technology that’s at its core.
Now it’s time to inject a little more flair into the Volt’s ‘wheelhouse’—in the form of the 2014 Cadillac ELR, a coupe that simultaneously takes Cadillac design to the next level and has more panache than any other plug-in from a major automaker.
For the inspiration in the ELR, you need not look any further than the Converj concept car from the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. From the dramatic upward-swooping side crease, to the all-LED lighting and jewel-like lighting elements, along with the sculpted hood and unique roofline, the ELR bears a passing resemblance to the CTS-V Coupe, yet it’s also something completely new.
Inside, the blend of materials is unlike that of other Cadillacs to date, with trims like microfiber suede, piano-black real wood, and real carbon fiber, and available plus Opus leather combined with these trims brings the whole package a custom look.
The ELR is built on the same platform that underpins the Chevrolet Volt, with essentially the same extended-range electric-vehicle (EREV) propulsion system—including the 16.5-kWh battery pack, and the same 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the hood. Just as in the Volt, you won’t need to worry about driving range in the ELR; you’ll get about 35 miles of driving on electric power alone before the gasoline engine fires up seamlessly to provide range-extending power for the motor system (as well as traction-motor support at higher speeds).
But thanks to revised software and calibration, as well as a new Sport driving mode, GM has managed to eke more performance from the electric system: The electric motor system delivers a bit more: 207 hp (154 kW), with 295 foot-pounds of instant torque, and 0-60 times are expected to be eight seconds, or possibly even a bit better than that. In addition, GM has ensured that the ELR has decent sporting credentials by adding a more aggressive suspension tune, with a HiPer Strut front layout, an additional front transverse lower brace, a Watt’s linkage in back, and a Sachs continuous damping system that allows crisper control while also filtering out road roughness. Standard active noise insulation should also help keep the cabin serene.
Think of the ELR as a personal luxury coupe for the green-car set. So in addition to electric motoring, a little more performance, and a lot more luxury, it’s going to offer some tech and active-safety features for discerning shoppers—like adaptive cruise control with crash mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, and a Side Blind Zone Alert system with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
GM isn’t expecting to sell nearly as many ELRs as Volts, and it emphasizes the niche aspect behind the ELR; considering that, our best guess at a starting price would be around $55k.
This story originally appeared at The Car Connection.