GM builds first Cadillac hybrid ELRs – will it find a place in the newfound Caddy lineup?

Cadillac ELR with Simona

General Motors has officially produced the first round of Cadillac ELR test vehicles. There to witness the production process, for some reason (marketing? No…), was IndyCar driver Simona de Silverstro.

These pre-production models will be used to add to the final evaluation process before the final tweaks are made for full production. The final, dialed-in versions are expected to hit showrooms in early 2014 with a price tag starting around $52,000, according to Motor Authority.

The Cadillac ELR, for those not in the know, is a Cadillac coupe version of the Chevrolet Volt. Using the Volt’s powertrain, the ELR features more horsepower and torque, totaling 207 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. This will push the ELR to 60 from a standstill in around eight seconds.

We’ve learned recently that Cadillac has cleverly included the ability for drivers to affect the regenerative braking in their ELR with the steering wheel-mounted paddles. Pull the paddle as the vehicle slows, and the regenerative braking ramps up. This not only slows the vehicle faster but also sends more kinetic energy back into the batteries as electricity.

Cadillac has recently had a bit of a re-birth with all-new platforms and powertrains as it goes after BMW in terms of both luxury and performance, shrugging off its old man clothes. Cadillac even won North American Car of the Year earlier this year for its ATS.

It will be interesting to see how the ELR fits into the newfound Cadillac attitude and style, as a front-wheel drive range-extended EV is pretty far from the new twin-turbocharged CTS.

We hope to drive the ELR later this year so check back for more updates soon.