The upcoming Cadillac ELR extended-range electric coupe will be a halo car in more ways than one for GM’s premium brand. Its primary mission is to carry the Voltec powertrain torch into an entirely new segment than the existing Chevrolet Volt, but doing so requires a new level of interior craftsmanship.
As ELR interior design manager Keith Fisher explains, many of the elements created for the interior of the ELR will carry over to future Cadillac models. Expect to see the universal deployment of the CUE system (already in ATS and XTS models), as well as a step up in interior materials and craftsmanship.
The ELR will benefit from semi-aniline leather seating with premium stitching; exotic wood, carbon fiber and genuine piano black trim; metal speaker grilles and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift. Any contact points appear to be padded and leather-wrapped, and the interior seems to be nearly devoid of hard plastic.
Fisher even talks about the “power-assisted cup holders” that will debut in the ELR, though we have a hard time seeing them as a plus. Sure, they’ll impress your friends and neighbors the first time you deploy them, but ultimately they represent one more thing to break over time.
Many of the ELR’s design principles and premium materials will likely be carried forward into future Cadillac models (such as the next CTS), but the plug-in hybrid’s “Fast Centerline Section” is more of a design necessity than a point of style.
While it does split the cabin into four cockpit-like seats, it also hides the ELR’s battery pack, which runs down the centerline of the Chevrolet Volt, too. Such a design chews up a lot of cabin real estate, making it impractical for implementation in most production cars (though the Cadillac Ciel concept did feature a similar centerline divider).
As Cadillac looks to be seen as a worldwide luxury leader, upping the style and materials of its interiors will only help its cause. Cost-cutting has no place in luxury cars meant to compete on the global stage.