With its $80,000 pricetag nearly matching that of the massive Escalade, Cadillac’s Chvevolet Volt-based plug-in hybrid ELR is considered a bit rich for a compact coupe, no matter how sophisticated its gas-electric drive system. That price is surely a factor in the car’s sales, which reached just 44 in all of Canada in 2014, with 2015 calendar-year sales on track to barely top 60. To boost the car’s value quotient, GM has sweetened the pot with more power, and chassis updates it says sharpen the car’s handling.
Most significant is the 25 percent increase in horsepower and torque that cuts a whopping 1.4 seconds of the car’s zero-to-96 km/h (0-60 mph) acceleration time, accomplished through a software update that allows the car’s gas engine and electric motor to power the car simultaneously. The result is a 6.5-second sprint from naught to freeway speeds.
There are steering and suspension upgrades too: all ELRs get stiffer spring rates up front and a stiffer rear axle, plus stiffer rear suspension bushings. Steering and brake tweaks are here too, with a goal of improving feedback to the driver.
Also new for 2016 is an optional performance package that bundles 20-inch wheels shod with summer-only performance tires, four-piston Brembo front brake calipers that grab rotors a full inch larger in diameter, bigger rear rotors, recalibrated continuous damping control suspension and electric power steering setups, and a thicker-rimmed sport steering wheel.
No word in GM’s press release about an on-sale date or pricing for the revised ELR; we’ve reached out to GM Canada for that information.