Last fall, Cadillac spokesperson David Caldwell confirmed to Edmunds that an all-new, improved 2016 Cadillac ELR range-extended electric coupe would debut at the 2014 L.A. Auto Show. But by the time the L.A. Auto Show rolled around, Cadillac had cancelled its reveal plans, sending the automotive press into a frenzy as it tried to figure out just why the luxury coupe hadn’t put in an appearance.
Earlier today, General Motors ended the months of silence on the ELR’s future by unveiling a dramatically-improved 2016 model year version, complete with a performance boost, upgraded steering and suspension system, and a welcome, hefty price cut too.
While the 2016 Cadillac ELR looks almost identical to the previous model year car — save for a new grill with Cadillac’s new crest on it — there’s quite a lot of changes you can’t see.
For a start, the ELR has been given a complete suspension and steering workout, with revised calibration of its HiPer Strut front suspension, increased front spring rates and a stiffer rear axle, as well as stiffer bushing for the front lower control arms, cradle mounds and Watts link. Combined with revised calibrations to the ELR’s Continuous Damping Control system and steering, Cadillac promises a much more engaging driving experience that better suits the Cadillac badge.
While the 2016 ELR sticks with the drivetrain it inherited from the original Chevrolet Volt rather than benefit from the revised drivetrain and battery pack found in the upcoming second-generation 2016 Chevrolet Volt, Cadillac says the 2016 ELR benefits from an upgraded battery system as well as a modified sport mode.
Combined, these two upgrades increase overall power and torque by 25 percent, shaving 1.5 seconds off the 0-60 mph time in Sport mode to reach 60 mph in 6.4 seconds.
Also new for the 2016 model year is an optional Performance Package, which increases the top speed of the ELR to 130 mph (where legal) from the 106 mph of the standard ELR. We note however, that while all-electric range is predicted to be 39 miles per charge for ELR models without the Performance Package, there may be a drop in range for those pushing the ELR to its limits. It’s worth noting too that in order to achieve that 130 mph top speed, the ELR must be in either Hold or Sport mode (both of which engage the car’s 1.4-litre gasoline engine).
In terms of interior technology, Cadillac has upgraded the 2016 ELR to include OnStar with 4G LTE and built-in WiFi hotspots as standard, although we note that the ELR comes with a three-month, three gigabyte data trial plan at point of purchase: using more requires you to susbcribe to an OnStar data package at extra cost.
As with previous model year ELRs, the cabin is full of extras, like electrically controlled and heated seats, driver assistance package with Lane Change Alert, Blind Spot Detection, Cross Traffic Alert and full security system. As with previous model years, adaptive cruise control is also available as an option.
With so many upgrades, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Cadillac ELR retains the high-end price tag of previous model years. Luckily however, Cadillac has responded to some pretty atrocious sales for 2013 and 2014 — not to mention tough competition from the Tesla Model S luxury all-electric sedan — by shaving a massive $10,000 off the price tag.
Instead of the eye-watering $75,995 of previous model years, the 2016 Cadillac ELR will start at $65,995 before incentives, falling to $58,495 after Federal tax credits have been applied.
That might be enough to tempt Cadillac fans to at least consider a luxury plug-in, but given the competition from Tesla’s recently-announced Model S 70D — which is admittedly now $10,000 more expensive than the ELR but offers a whole lot more in terms of performance — we’re curious to see just how many 2016 ELRs roll off the production line and dealer lots.
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