Like the rest of GM’s brand lineup, Cadillac is now in the midst of transitioning to all-electric powertrains, with plans to unveil no less than three new EVs during the course of the 2023 calendar year. Although it may appear as though Cadillac is skipping over hybrids entirely, the luxury marque has actually dabbled in the segment on several occasions, most notably with the two-door Cadillac ELR. Now, we’re taking a closer look at this sleek luxury coupe caught out in the wild.
Offering sharp styling and a plug-in hybrid four-cylinder powertrain, or an electric powetrain with a range-extending combustion engine to be more specific, production of the Cadillac ELR was surprisingly short-lived, lasting from 2013 to 2016 (taking a break for the 2015 model year) with less than 3,000 units produced, making it a relatively rare find. Nevertheless, GM Authority stumbled across this particular example in Downtown Los Angeles, and suffice to say, it still looks good, even ten years after it was initially put into production.
In terms of styling, the Cadillac ELR is based on the Cadillac Converj concept, which made its debut in January of 2009 at the North American International Auto Show (also known as the Detroit Auto Show). With chiseled features and geometric shapes, the front end of the Cadillac ELR conveys a sense of motion for the vehicle, with the long headlamps running up across the fenders, drawing the eye rearwards towards a short, square tail. The profile and shoulder line are heavily raked, lending it a sense of sportiness, while the chrome trim and elegant shape provide luxurious overtones.
With regard to the powertrain, the Cadillac ELR is equipped with a retuned version of the Voltec system that powers the Chevy Volt, mating two electric motors to a 1.4L four-cylinder gasoline engine acting as an on-board generator, along with a 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery (later increased to 17.1 kWh) and CVT multi-mode electric transaxle. Total output was pegged at 217 horsepower (later increased to 233 horsepower) and 295 pound-feet of torque (later increased to 373 pound-feet of torque), put to the ground exclusively through the front wheels, with 60 mph arriving in roughly 6.4 seconds in the model’s most powerful iteration. Fuel economy was rated at 82 MPGe, while all-electric mode can provide upwards of 39 miles of emissions-free driving.
Production of the Cadillac ELR ended in February of 2016, with Cadillac later launching a plug-in hybrid variant of the Cadillac CT6 sedan. And although the Cadillac ELR was not as popular as some of Cadillac’s other models, its attractive design and forward-looking technology make it a standout even today.