Cadillac ELR firstdrive Tesla gets competition SlashGear

21 Мар 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Cadillac ELR firstdrive Tesla gets competition SlashGear отключены
Cadillac ELR Electric Cars

Cadillac ELR first-drive Tesla competition

The Cadillac ELR is an important car for a few big reasons. Cadillac itself it has been playing catch-up in the sedan market, pitching the ATS and CTS as virile US alternatives to the typical from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and but with the electrified ELR it’s an opportunity to strike at a niche the Germans aren’t playing Borrowing the torquey electric of GM’s Volt but leaving any sort of hair-shirt eco sacrifice, an angular slab of luxury thanks to its own onboard generator, to be the headache-free EV discerning drivers been waiting for.

again, it really should be: a sticker price just of $76,000, the ELR is firmly in Tesla We grabbed the keys of one of the very production ELR off the line to see if Cadillac has a winner on its hands.

Cadillac the design of the ELR back in 2009 the Converj concept, a 2+2 coupe to distill electric drive a model that could lower the typical age of the marque’s driver. After some about whether it was merely a study, a development frippery, or more serious, GM finally the project the green-light to go to production.

not usual for a concept to spawn a car, but we’re used to the design being heavily before it reaches forecourts. has shown admirable restraint or, perhaps, an admirable degree of — in the ELR’s final keeping much of the angular, style that made the so appealing.

It’s clearly a with all the cues of the latest like narrow, upright clusters, and pronounced cut-lines, but the ELR the whole aesthetic up a notch or It’s surprisingly small, for with the Caddy badge at and the standard 20-inch wheels out to the corners give it a meaty, stance that’s particularly against the overly-smoothed design many brands have in the name of aerodynamics.

That’s not to say the ELR the wind tunnel bluntly. In it has a drag coefficient of just aided by the flush fascia and — which hides for controlled cooling — tapering to the corners so that air can past unchallenged, a rear and aggressive raking to the front and glass. The door handles are cut out of the bodywork, and popping them the frameless glass to drop as the long doors open

It’s useful that do, since the back of the ELR is a snug both to sit and to access. A second set of adjustment controls are on the front shoulders, along with to tip the backrests forward, though still a little contortion to be if you want to enter gracefully, in no part because of the low roofline. A center tunnel cuts the in two, so there’s no sliding to make room.

The charging port is hidden a flap on the driver’s side fender, and is hooked into the mirror lamps which green during charging and go when the batteries are full. has thrown LEDs galore at the with front, rear, and lamps all using the more technology; the front turn also double as daytime lights, switching between and white accordingly.

Altogether, a striking looking car, and unsurprisingly proved divisive. there are points where the and pinching looks over-designed, we’d much rather the aggressiveness of the ELR than, say, the and altogether average design of the and the Cadillac’s purposeful wedge is an eye-catching alternative to the more Savile Row elegance of a Tesla S.

Engine and Performance

The ELR has both an drive system and a gas-powered so does that make it a Cadillac prefers the term Range Electric Vehicle since unlike in a traditional such as Toyota’s Prius, the gas never actually drives the directly. Instead, it’s as a portable generator, capable of the ELR’s onboard batteries.

drive, therefore, is handled by the electric motor, and Cadillac that the roughly 35 mile provided by the 16.5 kWh li-ion pack is enough that the commute can be done with zero-emission driving. The battery is T-shaped and runs down the of the ELR, in-between the front and wheels, and the electric drive 295 lb-ft of torque which, all electric-only cars, is entirely from the moment you hit the accelerator. says it’ll recharge in 4.5 hours from a 240V though a standard 110V will obviously take

The gas engine, meanwhile, is a 1.4-liter which kicks in to recharge the pack. With it in play, estimates the total range starting out from a full and a full tank — to be 345 miles, with the reassurance you can extend that in minutes by into a regular gas station.

also control over how the ELR its power, with the car offering different driving modes: Tour, Mountain, and Hold. In accelerator and steering response are and torque applied more Tour offers a more compromise between EV perkiness and luxury. Mountain mode the car for hilly terrain, keeping battery power in reserve can be used for a squirt of extra should the roads get challengingly

It’s Hold mode probably the most interesting, if you’re not wanting to leave the decision entirely to the ELR. down, it’s manual over all-electric or gas-extended Cadillac says that, battery-only drive is more in city driving, some will prefer to reserve the for that part of their turning to the gas engine during driving.

Cadillac’s other twist on the EV model is the ELR’s on Demand system, which steering wheel paddles for intentions. Whereas they’re associated with gear-changes, the ELR lack a traditional mechanical Cadillac instead uses the to trigger a more aggressive braking system, pushing back into the batteries as as slowing the car.

Regenerative happens whenever the brakes are with the ELR first converting into charge to slow the before easing in regular braking from the 4-channel system (which also has a Force Distribution system to adjust where the braking is applied, front and rear). one of the paddles, however, temporarily the regenerative system; let go of the paddle, and the drive resumes.

Cadillac is Regn on Demand as a dynamic feature, comparing it to a downshift in a gearbox. It never actually the ELR to a stop, but can be used to quickly speed — without power — if you’re a tight corner, for instance.

a new approach to paddles, but it’s one you get used to taking advantage of. The isn’t too forced — on the brakes is still the way to bring the ELR to a with alacrity, and in fact on Demand won’t actually the car to a full stop — makes it highly usable. In driving it’s much to quickly lift your off the accelerator and squeeze a paddle in to the traffic ahead, and in fact at speeds the ELR will trigger the lamps when you use Regen to

Things get more fun when driving keenly, though, a quick pinch of the paddle pace as you head into a then the instant torque of the EV throwing you out the other side you drop your right again. There’s actually the amount of torque on tap as you’d get in a BMW M3, the ELR delivers it straight away than needing a gas engine to up.

Push the ELR, then, and it well for a luxury coupe. isn’t a sports car, but we the Cadillac on an extended drive highways, city streets, and mountain tracks, and it didn’t at any of them. The combination of two sets of and luxury accommodation means not a dainty car, at just 4,000 pounds, but it hides its well, and the electric power is precise and, particularly in mode, weighted nicely.

is conspicuously tuned differently to the for a far more engaging experience.

One of the big criticisms leveled at the ELR is that a Cadillac-branded Volt, GM’s cheaper Chevrolet EV. Open the however, and it’s clear a fair amount of that money has gone: the interior is Cadillac luxury.

We say classic, but in Caddy has been making a effort over the past of years to shed its wallowing, reputation, ditching the shag carpet and the ruched leather so compared to the average octogenarian skin. The ELR is a good example of new breed of Cadillac, though are still some nods to luxury.

The combination of the high, shoulder line and the relatively low position means that a more enveloping car than Cadillacs. The company’s now familiar CUE system — pairing an color LCD touchscreen with illuminated buttons — down to a center console runs the length of the cabin. A large LCD serves as the driver panel, controlled by a number of and a joystick on the steering wheel, and offers a total of four layouts to choose between, from the basics through to technical information.

As on other CUE there’s USB, SD, and MP3 inputs, with support for up to ten Bluetooth with streaming, and you can use a phone’s connection to pipe through media services like too. In addition to the touch-sensitive — which light up, with extra touchscreen when your hand the display — the lower panel can hinge up automatically, to a cubby for phones and other Voice control is supported with text-to-speech for reading out SMS

CUE has a lot of features, but manages to deliver in a mostly user-friendly way. still not entirely convinced by the keys (though Cadillac that its owners love which, even with the lines, aren’t as easy to with your fingertips as controls when you’re to keep your eyes on the but the UI is generally clean and the ability to music, POIs, addresses, numbers, or other CUE commands favorites does make with it more agreeable.

There’s no dual-view magic, different pictures to the driver and the passenger, but the 8-inch panel can be cut in two to both media and navigation CUE has borrowed from tablets the iPad, too, with like pinch-zooming of maps, and makes a big difference versus through the usual zoom A Bose 10-channel audio with active noise is fitted as standard, and fills the well.

Unfortunately, the noise the gas engine itself is less pleasing, noticeable as a faint when it kicks in automatically, and droning quietly while it on refilling the batteries.

The leather-clad are snug and supportive, with of side bolstering. In the rear, tight, but the seat backs at fold down so that you can fit in luggage should you need to. have to be long and low, whatever it is: although the ELR looks it should be a hatchback, in fact it has a little trunk opening reveals a surprisingly low, fairly broad, area.

reasonably deep, especially you get past the bottom lip, but if you big suitcases you may struggle to fit them in.

Of Cadillac couldn’t resist more outlandish fripperies in the cabin. The front cup-holders, for are covered by a motorized panel once you nudge it open or whirs into place It’s not entirely clear why the ELR driver would need — we could maybe if the car refused to accommodate another cup of if it decided you were getting too behind the wheel — and the passengers suffer the indignity of and closing their cup-holder since while it looks the it lacks the automation.

There’s a fair amount of LED lighting, the choice of cabin finishes more of a difference to how it feels On the one extreme there’s the cashmere scheme, with pale seats, and a mixture of matte leather, and sueded-microfiber on the dash, leaves the inside of the ELR feeling and reasonably airy.


At the other however, there are black and tan seat choices, with carbon fiber trim for the and an overall feel more the inside of Darth Vader’s That’s not a bad thing, we hasten to it certainly suits the ELR’s style, and the cabin feels a more focused place to perhaps more akin to a than a 2+2. Either fit and finish are excellent and the touch-points are quality.

The ELR experience doesn’t actually end you step out of the car itself, however. offers its RemoteLink service and a app that allows monitoring and over the charging process. by OnStar, the system means you can whether to begin recharging as as you plug in, or delay it until electricity rates start.

and Value

We knew the ELR was never to be cheap: Cadillac had been it was to be positioned as a luxury coupe and foremost, that just so to heap on the eco-credentials as they’d add to the experience. Still, the $75,995 price when the ELR goes on in January 2014 came as a nonetheless.

Depending on where you you could qualify for up to $7,500 in tax toward the cost of the car, bringing it down to $68,495. The kit-list is admirable too, with CUE and the leather trim, but no denying that it’s an car, particularly given how is shared under the skin the Chevrolet Volt.

The Volt which takes a similar approach — starts at pre-credits, for the 2014 model. options aren’t available, of to bring it up to the exact spec of the but adding in premium trim navigation, and some of the safety like lane-departure warnings, that up to $37,560, roughly the price of the ELR.

Of course, would rather you not compare the ELR the Volt. Instead, GM is aiming for the sort of luxury eco-warrior that Tesla currently though with the proviso the Model S is a five seater where the ELR is a 2+2 coupe. The entry-level S starts at $71,070, though is of eligible for the same tax credits as the

Is the ELR overpriced or merely pitching at the most obvious competition? sharing is certainly nothing with cheaper models in marque’s line-up dipping the same component bins as expensive cars; to instantly the ELR for its Volt similarities perhaps ignores the nature of the car industry as a Meanwhile the sum total of a car is more its drivetrain: after all, the RAV4 EV uses a Tesla-supplied but the two are seldom pitched to the same

The electrified car market is a tough one to and to succeed in. Toyota proved was a market for hybrids with the and Tesla a market for luxury EVs the Model S, but in-between we’ve middling sales of cars the Volt, Leaf, and other options. Cadillac certainly playing in those mainstream with the ELR, but that it needs to convince luxury car that its coupe brings truly interesting to the table by up on its motors.

That’s tough to explain on but behind the wheel of the ELR it starts to a lot more sense. For a start a truly beautifully constructed, car to be in; the cabin is perfectly appointed and the materials work well in light and dark color On the outside the design is contentious but and we’re fans of Cadillac’s aesthetic (as well as how it has evolved to the of the ELR, with some interplay between sharp Stealth Bomber-esque angled and sinuous curves).

Best of it’s great to drive. On the one you can treat it as a luxury tourer, along in economical electric (but knowing that you still embark on a road-trip worrying about mapping out points along the route) in comfort. On the other, in Sport and with ample use of the clever on Demand paddles — we now want to see on every EV — an engaging drive that well-planted on the road and is, thanks to onrush of torque, certainly of putting a smile on your (and encouraging you to take interesting roads rather the highway).

Is it worth the premium tag? If we were in the market for a coupe, it would certainly be on our What makes the ELR interesting is it twists the thinking on electrification: not used simply to satisfy but because it delivers real to the driving experience. Silent and cruising in day-to-day use, the benefits of instant torque and the fun paddles for when you want to get involved.

That, plus the step up in Cadillac build makes it a more than contender.

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