Thursday, July 3, 2014

Cadillac ELR vs. BMW i8

In the not too distant past, most Cadillacs are infamous for being a car made for pensioners because by the way you look at them, it seems that most Caddies in the past have looks only pensioners would want but thanks to the ART & SCIENCE philosophy, not only Cadillac was saved from the brink of extinction but also turned the tables on what we expect from a Cadillac. With cars like the ATS, CTS, XTS, SRX, and the Escalade, Cadillacs are getting more noticeable than the past as well as gaining admirers. With all that ART & SCIENCE still flourishing General Motors' luxury brand, looks like Cadillac made this...

2014 Cadillac ELR

This is the Cadillac ELR and while being true to its name, this is the brand's first electric long range vehicle designed not only to look smirk on your neighbors thinking that you have a car that is way more than the commoner Nissan Leaf but also a car that can get you from points A to B longer than your average German saloon.

2014 Cadillac ELR


Of course being one of the firsts from Cadillac, I could get amused that this new model is just like the Chevrolet Volt because like the Chevrolet Volt, the ELR is a plug-in hybrid vehicle or PHEV. You can either charge it with electricity, fill up petrol or like that little girl from that taco commercial...why not have both? WHY NOT HAVE BOTH?! That's a clever way to say that! WHY NOT HAVE BOTH?

You see, the ELR is equipped with the 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery and an electric motor generating up to 135kW (before you reach your calculator app, yup. That's 184HP) on the electric side while on the petrol side, it comes with the 1.4L EcoFLEX engine, the same engine you would expect on most Opels or Vauxhalls in Europe. Running on petrol alone, it develops a very compact car-ish 83HP of power and it's made to run the 55kW generator when the Li-iON battery is running on empty.

Running on battery alone, it can reach up to 37 miles of distance, enough to reach from a house from 46th Avenue South, Seattle, to Three Lakes Rd, Snohomish, WA. With the battery and the generator working together as one, it can travel up to 340 miles of distance, the driving distance from San Jose, California, to Seattle, Washington...as a theory.

There's more because on the ELR, you are in charge when is your car fully charge. You make the schedule on when to charge it, customize your charging mode as well as the charging level, and you can program it based on off-peak rates or your next trip. On a 240V outlet, it takes about five hours to fully charge it but on 120V outlets, it may take 75% of the day to fully charge it and that's theoretically...boring.

2014 Cadillac ELR interior

2014 Cadillac ELR interior

So, while this maybe one of the most ideal machines you can drive as a daily driver, there are some mishaps in the ELR's luster and that's when we get to the interior. Of course, it's all typical Cadillac interior just like any luxury car makers to wear uniform interiors but the Cadillac CUE system...what can I say? Of course, it maybe more enjoyable to explore the CUE but your weary fingers can't sustain the boring and complicated methods on how to master the Cadillac CUE infotainment system. It's hard to find the MP3 player, the Bluetooth, the navigation, and those tick-tack stuff this navigation system has loads of it. It's like getting lost in a maze or something.

Of course, while it may seat up to four, its coupe layout means that the rear room is mostly cramped for the rear passengers. You might be finding unfathomable difficulty squeezing yourself at the back of the ELR.

While this maybe the coupe, the ELR is not one of the best cars to enjoy on a weekend drive because the suspension setup is a little bit too wonky. The HiPer Strut front and Watts Link rear Sport suspension doesn't feel like a European sportscar and it behaves...like a commoner eco box. This car doesn't behave like a fit and agile coupe from another world and while the suspension setup is the least of the problems for the ELR, the biggest problem is the pricing because the ELR starts at 75,000 Dollars plus tax and destination charges and you can charge more with the optional extras. Is it more bang for the buck. Sadly, no. The ELR is not what you called a good car to drive but there's one good thing you might consider...

2015 BMW i8

This is the BMW i8, it's one of the most anticipated models of 2014 and by no means one of the most interesting cars to drive. Like the Cadillac ELR, it's a plug-in hybrid vehicle but unlike the ELR, the petrol engine is a 1.5L 3-cylinder turbo engine developing 231PS of power. Unlike the ELR, the joint custody of the 1.5L petrol and the hybrid synchronous motor developing a total output of 362PS of power. That is how Germany wanted to beat USA with all that power comes in.

This car is proven to be the epitome of a blue-blooded eco car and while it maybe a PHEV just like the ELR, the BMW i8 is unlike any other because of its bespoke hybrid system that delivers a range up to 23 miles and 75mph on electric power alone but running on all powers, you can expect 135 mph imperial of driving distance. Of course, while it maybe less than the ELR, the i8 is still more enjoyable to drive than the ELR thanks to its all-wheel drive system that lets you have fun without crashing into it.

2015 BMW i8 interior
2015 BMW i8 interior
While the i8 is truly one of the most enjoyable cars, it is one of the most exclusive cars ever made and thanks to the 126,000 Euro pricing and the long waitlist currently facing, having one is an unfathomable difficulty. So, the conclusion is simple, while the Cadillac ELR is designed for travelling further distances in mind, the BMW i8 is by no means one of the most interesting machines of the planet, incorporating how this plug-in hybrid sports car made from the blank sheet of paper and some creative brainstorming from the Germans.

2015 BMW i8

In the end, only history will tell the winner but for me, I would go for the i8.

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