One of the flip sides of really excellent CGI renderings is that it can become hard to discern what photos are, in fact, photos.
Photos taken on location, even digitally, are really the only way to really see what a car’s styling looks like in motion. So while one step forward, another step to the side in some ways.
For designers and buyers, a clearer idea of what the finished car looks like will always be a good thing – especially when that car is years away from hitting the streets.
All this is multiplied when a car is really fresh.
The ELR has been hard to pin down, from a style point of view, without some better images of the car in motion and out in the real world.
Are its coupe fastback proportions, low roof, and wild, concept-car flashes of LED lighting as good as they looked on the auto show stands?
Thrilled to report: the ELR looks even better in real life. The blocky side appearance in auto show lighting actually hid some very avant-garde chiseling in the lower flanks.
The trunk’s last edge is still sharp enough to cut glass, and the LED signature of the car from the back is the spitting image of the Elmiraj concept around the same Pebble Beach coastline roads.
Styling Analysis: Nose
The nose is the hardest part to get right, especially on such an aerodynamically-optimized shape. Luckily, the key features are here and looking high-tech, high-quality, and relatively high-fashion.
The LED execution up front is very, very good. Twin pillars of light form the outer most edges of the ELR’s vertical stack of headlights up top, and fog-lights down below.
THis LED lighting extends to the blinkers, low beams, and high-beams via the individual light pods visible in the detail image below.
But most importantly, the ELR’s nose looks chic and very expensive in that unique West Coast sunlight.
One final good nose point: The design is not very sensitive to colors, either, looking good in silver, red and black from the photo shoots.
Styling Analysis: Profile
The profile styling is where the big question-mark was for me since first seeing this shape last year. Would the production version lose the extreme in-ward slopes to all sides of the glasshouse?
Nope, the concept aero style is in the production car, with pinched lines that make it clear this is a sports coupe and not an econo hybrid.
The second profile detail that is really stylish and unique comes in the lower door slashes and shapes.
These are very geometric, functional, but also intriguing to the eye and helpful in lightening the shapes when viewed in profile. These sharp angles act as aerodynamic farings for the wheels, but are often much less artfully-penned.
Lastly, the huge rear shoulder is visible and prominent from the rear three-quarter angle, but also from the profile and in plan view (from above).
Styling Analysis: Tail
This huge rising block of ELR in the back really brings the shape home to my eyes. This is a hard angle, and one where the CTS Coupe really dropped the ball, stylistically, in my opinion.
The CTS Coupe has a huge, huge fender flare between its rear side glass and the wheel opening, but it is hard to see any shape from some angles due to lack of definition in the flare. It is too smooth for its own good, in other words.
The result leaves the CTS Coupe looking heavy where the ELR looks light.
From the rear, the ELR looks quite wide and planted, with very handsome trunk surfaces and LED style.
From the back, the red LED brake lights look like simple veritcal slashes, but these actually are L-shaped and bring the tube up light up the trunk corners as well.
Very visible and quite current, with a unique signature out on lonesome highways or in bright cities.
ELR Brings All the Best Cadillac Style in Highly Concentrated Package
So the ELR is a huge success in real life, which is a big relief. After all, this car needs to be as cool as a Tesla out on the Pacific Coast Highways where it will find its most eager new owners.
2014 Cadillac ELR – Interior Gallery
2014 Cadillac ELR – Exterior Gallery
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.