2014 Cadillac ELREnlarge Photo
GM has offered one reason the Chevy Volt-based Cadillac ELR is so expensive, but it's not the reason you might have been expecting.
Priced similarly to Tesla's Model S sedan, it's logical to think that Cadillac may be angling for undecided cross-shoppers in the "green luxury" market.
Instead, reports Wards Auto, GM thinks most consumers will cross-shop the $76,000 ELR with BMW's 6-Series and Gran Coupe ranges--or catch a few buyers considering highly-specified versions of BMW's new 4-Series Coupe. Cadillac, then, wants to take its fight to the Germans.
It's an unusual set of rivals, to say the least. Advanced, dynamic and striking to behold the ELR may be, but we can't see many buyers cross-shopping the German sporting brand with the American luxury automaker.
The priorities just seem too disparate--the cars all offer sleek silhouettes and luxurious interiors, but BMW's duo put considerably more emphasis on performance than the ELR. The Cadillac reaches 60 mph in a fraction under 8 seconds, providing its range-extending engine is running, but a BMW of equivalent price--the $75,000 640i Coupe, for example--clears that sprint in little over 5 seconds and hits 155 mph.
At the same time, the ELR promises Volt-like economy thanks to a 37-mile electric range, with around 82 MPG-equivalent expected when the car is tested to EPA guidelines. The BMW, by comparison, achieves just 26 mpg combined.
Cross-shopping customers would therefore have to ignore the enormous economy and performance discrepancy between the two and shop on badge and style alone. Not unheard of in that market segment, but still an unusual paring.
The ELR differs from the Tesla too in many ways, but at least its low-emissions ethos strikes a similar chord.
And while expensive, Cadillac can claim more brand heritage than its American compatriot, as well as true luxury car standards of build not yet found in Tesla's cars--acres of suede (rather than cheaper alcantara), authentic wood, and real leather piping for the 20-way adjustable leather seats, among other things.
Neatly-appointed though the Tesla is, it doesn't yet feature the same levels of quality and equipment as some luxury rivals--perhaps enough to swing the vote in favor of the ELR for some buyers.
Is Cadillac aiming for the right rivals in the luxury coupe class? Or are other hybrid and electric vehicles more natural competitors? Leave your thoughts below.