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Electrified!

Cadillac’s new ELR is a cutting-edge performer in the form of an ultrasleek coupe.

For more than a century, Cadillac has been the standard-bearer for American automotive luxury. And with its new plug-in electric ELR, the Detroit manufacturer introduces what is perhaps the most enviable automotive amenity of all: The ability to go months on end without visiting a gas station.

Thanks to an advanced 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the ELR travels solely on battery power for its 35-mile electric range. Should drivers need to go farther, a 1.4-liter gasoline-powered electric generator activates, providing a total driving range of more than 300 miles. For most commutes, though, its 35 mile electric range suffices, allowing drivers to return to their home recharging stations without running the gasoline generator at all. And readying the ELR to head out again is a breeze with either a 120V electrical outlet, which recharges the battery in about 15 hours, or a 240V home charging station, which reduces that time by two-thirds.

From a driver’s perspective, the ELR’s interior is befitting of its innovative powertrain. Inspired by high-tech smartphones and tablets, Cadillac designers drastically reduced the number of physical buttons on the ELR’s dashboard by incorporating operations into a menu-based touch screen, called CUE. While CUE takes some getting used to due to its wide and varying sub menus, the uncluttered aesthetic it fosters is well worth the learning curve. Alongside such impressive technological innovations, owners will find Old World craftsmanship true to Cadillac heritage, including a cut-and-sewn leather instrument panel and olive ash wood accents. In the rear, the ELR offers space for two passengers in comfortable bucket seats, which fold down to make room for beach chairs and golf clubs.

This impressive package is housed in an elegant, futuristic silhouette that looks like nothing else on island roadways. At night, short overhangs underscored by vertical LED head- and tail-lamps make the ELR easy to spot, while a flush grille and 20-inch rims up the distinctive cachet. Meanwhile, thoughtful touches, like hidden electronic door handles, complement the ELR’s futuristic feel and progressive design.

Making the ELR even more attractive are federal tax credits, lowering its $75,000 starting price tag by up to $7,500. The future looks bright, indeed.

SPEC CHECK
2014 Cadillac ELR
Base Price: $75,000
Engine: 154 kW electric generator with 1.4-liter gas generator
Horsepower: 207 hp
Torque: 295 lb.-ft.
Cargo Capacity: 10.5 cu. ft.
Vehicle Range: 340 miles
EPA Miles Per Gallon Electric: 82 mpge
Fuel Tank: 9.3 gal.
Weight: 4,050 lbs.
0 to 60 MPH: 7.8 seconds
Top Speed: 106 mph

FAB FEATURES
Automatically activated heated seats
Mobile app that schedules smartphone charging
Electrically sliding cup-holder cover