The Cadillac ELR drives as good as it looks, which is saying something because this extended-range electric two-door is a stunner. Turning its sharply pointed nose up at the notion that an electric car must be a spheroid driving appliance, the ELR flaunts a dynamic, sharply creased, and boldly audacious design that feels like a call back to the days when two doors like the Buick Riviera, Oldsmobile Toronado, and even Caddy’s own Eldorado ruled the upscale market.
Like any electric worth its ions, the ELR is meant to be driven around town: to business appointments; to evenings out; to your lawyer’s office to discuss that bumper crop of speeding tickets. The spacious statement piece thrives on low-mileage routine and delivers prodigious torque as soon as you hit the accelerator. What sets the ELR apart is what happens when you put the Drive Mode selector – which offers Tour, Mountain, and a battery-preserving hold choice – into Sport. Suddenly, you can really put the hammer down on a twisty road or freeway onramp.
Not that being stuck in traffic is too bad either. Cadillac has successfully banished the baroque from its contemporary vehicles, and now favors layers of hand-stitched leather, sueded fabrics and rich unvarnished wood. (You can also opt for aluminum or carbon fiber trim – don’t.) A configurable digital instrument cluster allows you to monitor, and game, the car’s various media connectivities and the touch-screened CUE infotainment interface adds to the tech-y feel, though its proximity-sensing appearing and disappearing audio, phone, navigation, and climate icons takes some getting used to.
The ELR, which houses a gasoline-fueled generator in its nose, doesn’t abstain from petrol so it can safely break out of its 37-mile electric range without prior planning. That said, the average American doesn’t drive further than that on a daily basis so chances are you won’t be frequenting the pump. The Cadillac-branded charger can be easily installed in your garage, but you’ll be tempted to keep this car in your driveway. It’s the sort of car that wants to be seen. [ELRs begin at $75,995. Visit your local Cadillac dealership to discuss upgrades and options; cadillac.com]