Driven: 2015 Cadillac ELR Coupe
Written by James Hamel / Video by MaryAnne Wendt
First off, we have all heard the complaints about the 2015 Cadillac ELR which range from talk about its $75,000 starting sticker price (over $80K as tested) all the way down to its barely child sized rear seats. Who do you think we are Consumer Reports? Like we are going to shake our finger at anyone for wanting to spend however much they want on the ultimate sexy and super-blinged out two door Cadillac eco-conscious luxury car? Of course we won’t. Buying a Maybach instead of a regular new stretched wheelbase S-Class costs a whole lot more than a new Cadillac ELR and we are pretty sure all the Maybach gives you is a fancy embroidered throw pillow for the rear seats.
Do note that the net cost of an ELR is a little over $67,000 once you factor in the Federal Income Tax Credits that buying this car will net you. Granted, we do think Cadillac at this price should have made everything on the ELR standard since most of the option consist of advanced safety (blind spot warning, rear traffic assist, auto high beams) as well as adaptive cruise control which also gives the ELR the ability to stop itself if it detects a coming collision with an object ahead of you. Cadillac’s active safety systems are the best we’ve tried and we think that the ELR would be best suited as a halo model for all of their impressive technologies.
The 2015 Cadillac ELR is one sexy looking coupe. We dare say it’s sexier than the sportier ATS coupe but perhaps not as sexy as the new ATS-V variant. Got that? Clearly Cadillac has found its inner Timberlake and has no problem bringing “SexyBack” and in the case of the ELR it’s in the details like the jeweled tail-lamps, energy saving LED headlamps swept back perfectly along the crease that forms the curved C-Pillar that leads to its pert little rear end. We love the look of this car and the small things like push button entry (it looks like the car has no door handles)
As standard the ELR comes with an awesome Bose noise cancelling audio system with terrifically rich sound quality, its interior is made up of some of the highest quality wood, leather, chrome and headliner fabric we have seen in a long time with the overall effect easily a match for Audi yet with more character in the design. But what aspect of the interior had us going Ga-Ga (not to be confused with Lady GaGa) over the ELR? The nicely sized cupholders in between driver and passenger can be hidden from view but an automatic, electrically operated metal cover that elegantly slides over the unsightly yet practical beverage graspers when not in use. Ooh la-la.
What’s it like to drive the 2015 Cadillac ELR for a Week?
To recharge the battery on a high speed 240 volt charger will take approximately 5 hours while a regular 120 volt home plug extends that period to 12.5 to 18 hours. So for those who want to mainly use their ELR as an electric car, you should seriously consider installing a high speed charger in your garage. You can only steal so much electricity from the high speed charger outside your local Starbucks. Seriously, people will think you are weird just hanging out there every day for five hours.
But for those seeking flexibility there is also a 1.4 liter 85 horsepower 4-cylinder range extending motor which when paired with the electric motor can put out a total of 201 horsepower and 295 lb. feet of torque when set to sport mode. The Car will eat up battery life quicker in this mode but there is also a Touring setting, a Mountain Setting as well as a battery only lockout setting if you really, really never want to uses gas unless absolutely necessary.
We found the interrelationship between the electric drive, the engine working as a generator and when the engine worked alone to be utterly seamless in operation. We wonder why some companies can’t figure out how to make a stop start system not make the whole vehicle shudder each time it re-starts the engine but the ELR can change the source of its power without so much as the most minor noise or vibration.
Now, despite its appearance, the 2015 Cadillac ELR is not the sportiest car in this luxury car line-up by any means. The steering feels more artificial than the scalpel sharp unit you can enjoy in any ATS model and if you want low 0-60 times or to do laps at your local track day try the V-line. The ELR is the perfect car for two adults to take on a weekend getaway. It truly is a car designed for two with a trunk big enough for your suitcases and the back seat best left for the shopping you bring home. ELR is Cadillac expressing its technological, luxury and styling know-how. And at that, this coupe is a star.
Why This Ride?
– It looks utterly and totally bitchin’
– Did we say it is sexy looking as well?
– The interior materials used on the dash, leather on the seats is all first rate
– It can run on electric power alone up to 37 miles then you have a gas engine back-up
– A stylish, eco-conscious ultra-luxury coupe for that green couple that leads and doesn’t follow
Photos by Jim Wendt