The Cadillac ELR sounds like the perfect car for green-minded buyers after a little more luxury.

Underneath is the Chevrolet Volt, a car rated highly by its owners and saving the U.S. millions of gallons of gasoline. On top, a stylish Cadillac silhouette and a typically stunning cabin.

The only trouble is the price. Well, that, and the fact the car's brisk 0-60 mph figure isn't possible in all-electric mode--only when the engine is running in range-extending mode.

Now this probably isn't the end of the world. Few owners will do a full-bore standing start in daily driving. But freeway merging and overtaking are more relevant to the average driver, and GM's figures suggest the car will only be at its best when the engine is kicking in to help.

Officially, the ELR is capable of 0-60 in 7.8 seconds, thanks to a small power boost over the Volt that lends its drivetrain. That's not too surprising--the ELR's more exclusive status requires better performance.

Cadillac provides a second figure of 8.8 seconds though, while running the car solely in EV mode. Not bad by electric car standards, but not dissimilar to its half-price cousin, the Volt. So if you want to be green and maximize your electric range, you'll have to take a small performance hit.

The upside is a mildly increased EV range over Cadillac's earlier estimates. 37 miles should now be possible--up from 35--and as ever, that figure will depend on your driving characteristics, local topography, and other factors.

The car's full range should be "more than 345 miles", pending official EPA testing, while MPGe is also pending--expected to be around 82 MPGe, compared to the Volt's 98 MPGe.

The ELR is offering its attributes with a hefty weight penalty--all that luxury and a larger physical size (over 2 inches wider, 9 inches longer than the Volt) adds up to a 265-pound weight increase, now over 4,000 lbs. Tweaks to the chassis should give it a sportier feel than the Volt.

There's little doubt the ELR will find fans, but for us it comes back to the original factors: Do the stylish body, the extra toys and apparently marginal performance increase justify the Tesla-esque price tag?


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