Give Cadillac credit, upon seeing the ELR the first thing that comes to mind is not its high efficiency powertrain. The car is a looker, with low slung angular styling that is very aggressive. On looks alone it certainly seems like a worthy competitor to other big luxury coupes. But of course, the ELR is much more than just a pretty face.
The ELR has the powertrain similar to the Chevrolet's Volt, what GM calls an "extended range electric." This means that the car can be charged at home and then driven roughly 35 miles while using no gasoline whatsoever. Should owners exceed that range, a 1.4L gasoline engine starts up, seamlessly powering the electric motors that move the front wheels. Cadillac claims a maximum total range of about 300 miles. It is an interesting system that allows drivers to rarely put fuel in the car provided they only use it about town. However, it leaves the car flexible enough to serve as transportation on long road trips when the need arises. With 207 horsepower available and an extremely stout, 295 foot pounds of torque on tap, the ELR gets down the road with considerably more authority than any of the other so-called hybrid cars sold in the U.S.
Styling and trick drivetrain aside, the ELR must also serve as an effective luxury car, and that means plenty of goodies and interior amenities. The interior of the car is swathed in leather and carbon fiber, feeling expensive and stylish. There are two small seats in the back for children or the occasional adult, but most ELRs will spend much of their time with only one or two occupants. Those occupants will benefit from Cadillac's second generation CUE in car infotainment system, which makes Bluetooth pairing, navigation and stereo operation a breeze. The system has plenty of other trick features as well, including a proximity sensor, haptic feedback, multitouch controls and speech recognition.
Other stand out features on the ELR include a Bose 10-channel stereo with noise cancellation technology, electronically controlled suspension capable of adjusting dampening rates continuously and on the fly, 20-inch wheels, LED headlamps, programmable charging schedules, voice recognition and an 8-inch configurable screen.
Safety has not been neglected and the ELR comes with a safety alert seat, as well as forward collision and a lane departure warning system. Optional safety enhancements include a blind spot warning system, rear cross traffic alert and adaptive cruise control. Anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control are also standard.