Cadillac is mounting big-old 20-inch wheels on its 2014 ELR extended-range plug-in that is debuting early next year, but the General Motors division is doing a lot more than that to make sure the 4,000-pound car stays steady on the road.

Cadillac says the ELR's suspension will adjust 500 times per second to minimize body roll and maximize vehicle control.

Cadillac is including a host of suspension- and handling-oriented features for the front-wheel-drive car, which has a gas-electric drive train similar to that of the Chevrolet Volt. Features include multiple modes (i.e. sport vs. touring) for both steering and suspension, the latter being specifically adjusted to ensure the car avoids torque steer when its 295 pound-feet of torque is unleashed. Furthermore, Cadillac says the ELR's suspension will adjust 500 times per second to minimize body roll and maximize vehicle control.

GM unveiled the production ELR in January, when we learned the car has 207 horsepower, 35 miles of electric-only range and, of course, those huge tires. Cadillac's first production ELR rolled off of General Motors' Detroit-Hamtramck assembly line in late May, though those first vehicles were used for testing by engineers. Check out Cadillac's "Engaging driving dynamics" press release below.
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CADILLAC ELR TECH TARGETS ENGAGING DRIVING DYNAMICS

Advanced suspension, steering systems provide smooth ride, precise handling

DETROIT – Drivers expect hybrid and electric cars to have advanced battery and drive systems that make smart use of energy. Cadillac's upcoming electrified luxury coupe, the 2014 ELR, is designed to exceed those expectations by also providing engaging, responsive driving dynamics enabled by advanced suspension and steering systems.

The technologies include front HiPer Strut suspension, rear compound crank with Watt's link suspension, a premium ZF electric power steering system and ZF-Sachs continuous damping control.

"ELR's methodical use of advanced suspension and steering technologies front and rear has resulted in the quiet cabin, agile handling and superior ride that Cadillac customers have come to expect," said Chris Thomason, ELR vehicle chief engineer. "ELR will redefine for many people what the electric car driving experience is all about. Not only does it make smart use of energy, it makes energy-efficient driving fun and luxurious."

ELR's industry-leading Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (EREV) propulsion system delivers 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of instantly available torque. In driver-selectable Sport mode, the reconfigured accelerator pedal provides quicker torque application and more sensitive feedback through altered suspension and steering settings. ELR also offers Tour, Hold and Mountain driving modes.

With so much torque available, engineers relied on a HiPer Strut front suspension to eliminate torque steer and increase front axle grip while cornering due to optimized tire contact with the road. The HiPer Strut also contributes to ELR's precise, communicative and linear steering feel, and reduces unwanted steering system disturbances over rough roads and bumps for an overall smoother ride.

In its rear suspension, ELR uses a Watt's link design to center the car's rear axle during turns to provide a more balanced driving experience. When cornering, the Watt's link provides greater lateral stiffness that results in more positive vehicle response to steering inputs and helps keep the rear suspension aligned with the front suspension. When the ELR is traveling on a straightaway, the Watt's link allows the suspension to travel up and down freely to make the ride more comfortable.

ELR's premium electric power steering system is designed to provide excellent feedback while saving fuel. The rack-mounted, dual-pinion system – one for steering and one for power assist – consumes energy only when the vehicle is actively steered. A combined electric motor and sensing unit monitors steering angle and delivers appropriate assist to the steering gear at all times, correcting for crowned road surfaces and cross-winds. This helps reduce driver fatigue.

In driver-selectable Sport mode, ELR's steering gear provides increased on-center sharpness and steering sensitivity for dynamic steering. In the more relaxed Tour mode, it allows precise control with less driver steering efforts.

ELR's continuous damping control monitors sensors throughout the vehicle, vehicle speed and the driver's input, and adjusts damping accordingly for each 20-inch wheel every two milliseconds to maintain optimal vehicle ride control over varying road surfaces and profiles. This reduces and controls vehicle roll, pitch and vertical motions for a flat "sky-hook" ride performance, and instantly responds to cornering maneuvers by automatically adjusting the dampers to a firmer level for superior handling and stability. When driving on smooth roads, the dampers are automatically adjusted to the softest setting to provide increased isolation and ride comfort.

An isolated four-mount front cradle contributes to the ELR's overall quietness, noise and vibration performance, and ride-and-handling dynamics. Specifically tuned mounts are tailored to the engine's inherent torque axis, decreasing the transfer of vibration and noise into the cabin.

Now in its final months of pre-launch engineering testing, the ELR is slated to reach showrooms in the U.S. by early 2014. ELR is the first car by a full-line luxury brand to offer Extended Range Electric Vehicle technology. The EREV propulsion technology provides full driving range exceeding 300 miles (480 km), combining pure electric driving and an efficient, range-extending generator.

About Cadillac
Cadillac has been a leading luxury auto brand since 1902. Today Cadillac is growing globally, driven by an expanding product portfolio featuring dramatic design and technology. More information on Cadillac appears at www.cadillac.com. Cadillac's media website with information, images and video can be found at media.cadillac.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      Ziv
      • 1 Year Ago
      The ELR is a gorgeous car, but it is too bad Cadillac couldn't have found a bit more power for it. And an 18 kWh battery wouldn't have been a bad development, getting more like 40 miles of AER. Given the amount of time the current configuration has been around, combined with Chevy already finding a way to get 16.5 kWh out of the existing pack, you would think that it could have been done. Wishful thinking.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ziv
        Any battery redesign will come with the Volt II. Tweaking the battery pack for this car is probably uneconomic, and must wait for more fundamental progress.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @DaveMart
          Tweaking a battery pack is not too hard. When you introduce a new model, it is important to get things right from the get go. A bigger battery would be better for additional power and range - something you would expect on a luxury car..
      TreeWeezel
      • 1 Year Ago
      I am amused that Caddys are coming straight from the factory with cheesy, mirror-shiny rims. But let a Caddy be a Caddy, opulent interior and ride comfort should be first and foremost. Power can come from whatever works. I am flumuxed by the proliferation of pseudo Sport-y vehicles. There's nowhere left to drive where you can explore your car's sport-y pretensions, between speed limits, potholed streets, boring road, necessity to anticipate hazards and road conditions, and the fact that a casual driver AIN'T MARIO ANDRETTI.
      Ricardo Gozinya
      • 1 Year Ago
      So this is the new Chevy SSR. Pretty on the outside, a weak little FWD under the hood. People who buy sporty coupes do not want FWD. RWD or AWD is all that works. The only sporty FWDs that sell are hothatches, and this thing will get demolished by pretty much all of those, and for less money.
      purrpullberra
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not for me but, Damn, it's a looker! I LOVE the rake of the windshield and backlight. That aspect is nearly as awesome to me as the CTS coupe. That backlight is nearly horizontal, I think it's flatter than this. But this is far more gorgeous than anything else they sell now and I like what they have right now. I am a little perplexed that they aren't putting more hype into a highest possible version. Push 80k. Is it possible to do a capacitor? Or the bigger battery/motor? More tech too, make the magnetorheological an option along with extra luxury on seats, dash, console and fabrics and carbon fiber. They could do a halo car version of this that wouldn't need to sell very well to have an enormous impact. Add in personalization and you can have a Caddy pushing 100k and it'd be the peak of luxury hybrid/PHEV, over Lexus, Porsche, Merc etc.. Before you get to supercar territory, that is. But the voltec technology in a beautiful car like this will be a great executive reward. If a ModelS won't do. :)
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @purrpullberra
        @ purrpullberra Nice to be in furious agreement for a change ! :)
      Koenigsegg
      • 1 Year Ago
      if this had double the electric range then this would be a hit, but 35 miles isnt enough to mash the pedal whenever you want and drive with the ac on, if chevy can make a car with 100-200 or 150-150 electric and gas range then that may possibly be their best seller ever, that would be amazing but i dont think that will ever happen
        skierpage
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Koenigsegg
        You can mash the pedal whenever you want and drive with the AC on, it's a plug-in with a range-extender good for another 300+ miles. If your commute is 35 miles you're going to be driving gas-free most of the time, as with a Volt. More electric range would help but there's a declining benefit for the extra $$$ in the real world. I think the Volt sells as well as it does compared to all the other plug-in hybrids because 35 miles all-electric matches more drivers' commutes than 13 (Honda Accord PHEV), 14 (PIP), 21 (Ford Energi), etc.
          VL00
          • 1 Year Ago
          @skierpage
          As a Volt owner: 35 miles is on a good day. In the dead of winter, you're getting less then 25 when using the (anemic) heater. And yes, you can keep driving the car on gas, with severely degraded performance and increased noise. I've used 1.5 gallons of gas in 5 months, so I'm basically driving an electric car. If I had to drive my Volt on gas every day, I'd look for something else.
          CarNutMike
          • 1 Year Ago
          @skierpage
          As another (2011) Volt owner, I have no problem getting low 40s even when I commute on the highway (9 miles @ 70+, 3 more at 60) with the AC on. High 40s if I take 25-50mph surface streets. If your car has "severely degraded performance" on gas, there is something wrong with it. The performance is actually slightly better at high speeds when the ICE is running. I've never had less than 25 miles, though I have been in the high 20s on really cold days.
      car czar
      • 1 Year Ago
      Every time I read something about the ELR I want it more and more. Though it seems that the ELR seems like its gonna be quite expensive. I hope they aren't trying to get into Tesla territory. I guess I will continue to save and hope it's cheaper than they are making it seem.
      archos
      • 1 Year Ago
      Priced $57,500?
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      I hope Cadillac has great success with this car. This is the first time they've ever built a car that I would consider buying.
        Luc K
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        Now only I hope they really are not going to price it really around $60K... That just seems too much to me even though it's PHEV.
          brotherkenny4
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Luc K
          I don't think it will be quite that high. Remember too that you will get $7500 or higher off from the tax credits, and there is some value in the fuel savings. Should be compared with a $35-$40K car if you consider true costs.
          AddLightness
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Luc K
          Considering the Volt has a $40k MSRP and this is more luxurious with better performance and styling, $60k is realistic. They really nailed the styling on this one. If the car didn't seat only 4 people and had decent cargo space I think it'd be worth it to me. Personally I rather have a 60 KW Model S with 208 miles of range for $70k if I was going to spend that kind of money. I realize they might not be cross shopped by most people but to me the Tesla would be way more practical even with the more limited range (seats 5+2 and still has a frunk, not to mention the better performance and RWD)
          Koenigsegg
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Luc K
          "better performance" its literally less than a second faster than the volt, not a big difference at all, and the volt in sport mode is very quick
      EZEE
      • 1 Year Ago
      Happy Dan Review: :( Light Weight :| Aero :| Performance :( Cheap :| EV-ish 1.5 Happy Dans (this may be a high rating, himself may correct me, as it may not warrant a straight faced Dan on Aero, and not sure if the voltec drive gets a straight faced Dan, or a frowny faced Dan). We could be as low as 0.5 Happy Dans
        Giza Plateau
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZEE
        Let's call it 0.5 :) It is very unimpressive. Uninspiring done by stagnant minds and needlessly expensive. It's a 2+2 and it weighs 1770kg Cd 0.305 It could easily weigh half, accelerate in less than 5 and cost half. That would be a lot more interesting. I would also lose the dumb money truck grill.
      Peter
      • 1 Year Ago
      I understand the need to differentiate the Cadillac but my Volt does not have torque steer and this vehicle with similar powertrain won't either. Will the trick suspension be enough without a stronger (electric!) motor? I will have to wait for the full package.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Peter
        The magnetorheological suspension should be a really nice upgrade. It's used on Corvettes and Ferraris. http://wot.motortrend.com/for-cadillac-and-corvette-fans-exploring-the-history-of-gm-magnetic-ride-control-318181.html#axzz2XWwzuFI6
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          I don't think it's MR, is it? I think it's valve adjustment. And the rear suspension is still live axle, so there is a limit to how sporty this thing is going to get. I think GM pumping up the hype to cover the limitations of the vehicle.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          That's a good point - I'm not sure exactly how the ZF-Sachs continuous damping control electronically adjusts. "CDC is an electronic damping system that noticeably increases driving safety, comfort, and dynamics by adjusting damping forces optimally for each individual wheel. A control unit calculates the requisite damping forces within milliseconds, and adjusts the dampers just as quickly. Vehicle sensors monitor values such as body, wheel, and lateral acceleration, and use them to generate the ideal damping forces for each individual wheel on a continuous basis." http://www.zf.com/media/media/en/document/corporate_2/company_4/organization_2/powertrain_suspension_components_1/Powertrain_Components_and_Systems_for_Passenger_Cars_US.pdf I admit, I just assumed GM was throwing one of their flagship techs at the ELR. Unless the CDC system has changed greatly in the past few years, it does appears to be using valves to regulate fluid movement. Thanks for pointing that out, Rotation. "The variable damping system is equipped with a “walnut-sized” proportional valve that continuously controls the rate of damping. Depending on the valve setting, the orifice for the oil flow is widened for soft damping characteristics or narrowed for hard damping characteristics. The damping force is individually controlled at all four wheels to help keep the vehicle body as stable as possible while driving on uneven surfaces or cornering at high speeds, which was certainly the case while driving a CDCequipped Astra on the track at the Automotive Testing Papenburg Proving Ground in Germany. In the Astra, two modes (comfort and sport) can be selected to modify the driving behavior of the car. Regardless of the selected setting, the system will interject to make any necessary adjustments in emergency situations." http://www.sae.org/automag/techbriefs/06-2004/1-112-6-20.pdf
          purrpullberra
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Are they maybe using the Hy-Per strut design that came out on the new Buick GS, I think. That was almost exclusively to alleviate the torque steer from that kinda high power front-driver so I just assumed it would be used in this application. It sounded like it doesn't have the magnetorheological setup or it would've been specified, I'd think.
      bluepongo1
      • 1 Year Ago
      You can't out-snob anyone in your Volt? Here's a fancy one. :-P
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      I really like this car. It's a Cadillac with Voltec technology, I hope it really becomes the most expensive, luxury American coupé. It long overdue for the Cadillac marque to mean something more than a Chevrolet with a few more extras. The demise of Pontiac and Oldsmobile, left GM with no models to compete with the range of Lexus, Mercedes, Jaguar and BMW models, except token competition from Cadillac, which had become little more than an up-spec Pontiac, appealing to elderly Americans. . Ford and Chrysler both lack models of sufficient quality or technoloy, to take the fight to the luxury European and Japanese makers. Tesla has proved US buyer's will buy an expensive American built luxury vehicle, but only if it's unashamedly the best of it's type. Cadillac was once considered in the same class as the very best luxury vehicles in the world. The ELR should reflect that standard of quality, and finish and be priced accordingly. The Cadillac ELR, should not be a car for every-man, but a car to aspire to, a reward for success. GM should be able to use the prestige of the ELR in export markets to sell the more modestly priced Volt/Ampera. Unlike the Chevy Camaro, there should be no 'cheaper' version offered. The ELR Cadillac should offer no compromise in price or quality. (let any compromise be a Buick, or reinstate the Olds, and Pontiac marques). Cadillac (and Voltec technology ) should not be seen as a direct competitor for Tesla. Rather, both Tesla and the Cadillac ELR , along with the Lexus hybrids, should be viewed as allies ! By offering a wider choice of EV technologies, ICE vehicles will rapidly become obsolete in the luxury market sector . (Hopefully, the popularity of these luxury vehicles, may also hasten the demise of luxury SUV's lacking any off-road capacity. ) There are those who always pointlessly complain about the price, or existence, of luxury vehicles. Well, there will always be luxury vehicles sold to the more affluent, but here's an opportunity for an American manufacturer, GM, to restore a famous old US marque, (Cadillac) to the prestige it once enjoyed world wide.
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