Cadillac Converj Concept at 2009 Detroit Auto Show

  • Looks like: The Cadillac CTS coupe got new life
  • Defining characteristics: Volt powertrain in a sexy package
  • Ridiculous features: None that we can see
  • Chance of being mass-produced: 50%; if the Volt sells, a premium plug-in hybrid could make sense, and the price wouldn’t seem so expensive

Capping off a cavalcade of production and concept cars at GM’s press conference today was Cadillac's Converj surprise. It's an extended-range electric vehicle using under-hood technology that's similar to the Chevy Volt's. GM says the Converj can run the same 40 miles as the Volt on electric power only; after that the engine-generator kicks in to recharge the batteries and sustain electric propulsion.

So what differentiates the Converj from the Volt? Styling — or as GM vice chairman Bob Lutz put it, the sort of razzle-dazzle that might make the Converj appeal to buyers based on looks alone. The four-seater features Cadillac’s familiar angularity stretched to concept-car proportions, with 21-inch wheels in front and 22-inchers in the rear. Inside, a massive center column with climate and audio controls dominates the dash. We’re fans of the overall look, which recalls the now-axed Cadillac CTS coupe. It's not the same size as the coupe was, however, even though the proportions are similar.

Chances for production depend largely on the Volt’s success. Cadillac could certainly adapt a luxury version, which one analyst we talked to said makes more sense from a pricing standpoint. Even with a substantial government tax credit, the Volt won’t have everyman pricing, so a leather-clad Cadillac version couldn’t hurt. Especially if it looks anything like this.

Cadillac 2009 Detroit Auto Show Concept Cars

Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price.  Email Kelsey