Available from 2004 to 2009 model years, the Cadillac XLR was a 2-door coupe convertible for the luxury roadster market segment. This fairly limited production vehicle (about 15,000 units total) was made over one generation.
Cadillac XLR Powerful Engine and Luxury Features
The Cadillac XLR came with a 4.6L Northstar V-8 stuffed under its small hood, with an available supercharged 4.4L V-8 for the XLR-V version. It came with many luxury features. The navigation and infotainment system could be completed with Bose stereo sound. Dual-zone climate controls, adjustable powered seats, keyless door opening, and leather trimming throughout the interior gave it the touch of class Cadillac was going for. StabiliTrak electronic stability control system uses automatic steering and braking in emergency situations to keep the vehicle on the road and out of the ditch. 18 inch wheels came standard. An automatic retractable hardtop is a nice touch to make using the convertible to its fullest potential. The downside is the space it takes up in the trunk of the car, which is already limited due to the minimal overall footprint of the Cadillac XLR. But this is a vehicle made for fun and short outings while retaining a luxury interior and road feel. Those looking to bring the family to the airport or soccer practice should turn elsewhere.
Ultimate Performance XLR-V
The Cadillac XLR-V featured a supercharged 4.4L Northstar V-8 engine with a four-cam design and variable valve timing. It produced 443 horsepower and 414 lb ft of torque, giving the Cadillac XLR-V roadster-worthy times of 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and a quarter mile in just 13 seconds. Respectable figures for a stock vehicle. This engine was a stronger, redesigned version of the 4.6L Northstar V-8 which was available elsewhere in the Cadillac XLR lineup. The upgrades came with sufficient torque across a wide range of power, including at low RPMs, making the Cadillac XLR fun to drive and quick off the line. Downshifting is not necessary in most scenarios thanks to this high torque, but the rear-mounted 6L80 6-speed automatic transmission takes care of that if needed. For those who prefer the manual shifting gear selection, the XLR features a manumatic mode where you can use the shift lever to select the gear. Doing so engages stiffer suspension adjustments, causing the magnetic shocks to instantly change accordingly. The typical supercharge noise was reduced through a Laminova tube-type intercooler fused with an intake tract in one unit. Unfortunately, the supercharger does suck up some of the additional horsepower, as typical of any supercharged design, with an estimated loss of up to 80 horsepower at maximum speed. The coolant and oil flow received improvements through a unique casting and redesigned oil gallery. Additional suspension upgrades included a solid front sway bar and by adding a rear sway bar not present in the non-V XLR version. 19 inch wheels utilize a 255/40R-19 Pirelli tires, allowing for increased grip and traction. However, the claimed grip of 0.94g couldn’t be replicated easily in on-road tests and only performed at 0.87g. A long braking distance of 176 feet was a bit lacking too. Headlights could automatically swivel in corners to provide increased lighting and vision during spirited driving sessions, an exclusive feature to the V-series of the XLR not found on the regular non-V version. All in all, the XLR-V was a powerful vehicle that could hold its own on straightaways and would be fun to drive in the city straights and on windy mountain roads. It’s unlikely to win at the drag strip and other vehicles can perform slightly better in race conditions, but this is a luxury car first with power second. And it does a respectable job at balancing the two.