When the Cadillac Converj concept was launched at the 2009 Detroit Motor Show, the consensus was unanimous: just build it! GM heard the press’ and public’s voices and, three years later, launched the production version, named ELR, at the same venue.
Having already seen the first official images, we know that the ELR is a bit different in its proportions compared to the concept; but then that’s to be expected, as the designers have to work within certain parameters set by the engineers and, in any case, the 2+2 coupe is still quite a looker.
If its styling whet our appetites, the fact that it was based on the Chevrolet Volt platform dampened things a bit. Then doubt started to creep in: is the ELR just a Volt in a nice suit?
Cadillac says that this is definitely not the case. While the ELR does indeed utilize both the FWD platform and the Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV) hybrid powertrain that were introduced in the Volt, those elements have been tuned to suit the coupe’s premium character.
“The ELR is an unprecedented combination of luxury, advanced engineering and progressive design in a coupe that is both sporty and environmentally friendly”, said Cadillac global vice president Bon Ferguson. “This is a pivotal moment in Cadillac’s history.”
Measuring 4,724 mm (186.0 in) in length, 1,847 mm (72.7 in) in width and 1,420 mm (55.9 in) in height, the ELR is longer, wider and shorter than the Volt and, at 2,965 mm (106.1 in), it has a slightly longer wheelbase.
Its hybrid powertrain comprises of a 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, a naturally-aspirated 84HP 1.4-liter gasoline engine that functions as a generator and two electric motors with a combined output of 181HP.
While its 207HP maximum output isn’t exactly earth-moving, Cadillac claims that the 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque, which are instantly available, is 12 percent more than the 3.6-liter V6 in the SRX crossover.
The ELR will hit the 60 mph (96 km/h) mark from a standstill in “around 8 seconds” and reach a top speed 100 mph (160 km/h). It has an all-electric, zero-emissions range of 35 miles (56 km) while, when the gasoline motor kicks in, this is extended to 300 miles (480 km), so there are no worries about finding a charging station.
Although the suspension layout is, by necessity, the same as the Volt’s, the wide front and rear tracks that measure 1,578 and 1,585 mm (184.108.40.206 in) respectively, the use of aluminum in the HiPer strut front suspension with hydraulic ride bushings, the CDC electronically controlled dampers and the 20-inch alloy wheels promise a more sporting drive.
The Cadillac ELR will enter production in late 2013 and go on sale in the beginning of 2014. The company hasn’t announced official pricing yet, but estimates bring it close to US$60,000.
Car & Driver contributing editor Csaba Csere had a chance to take a closer look at the ELR and talk to the people who created it. You can watch the very informative video, along with Cadillac’s promo clip, right after the break.