Cadillac XLR, a retractable hardtop convertible, is a striking presence in the automotive spectrum. A luxury roadster with performance car roots, XLR’s lightweight chassis and structure and 4.6L Northstar V-8 VVT (variable valve timing) engine deliver a remarkable blend of sporting capability and luxurious refinement.
Advanced technologies on the XLR add pleasure, not complexity, to the driving experience. XLR includes high-tech features such as Adaptive Forward Lighting, a head-up display, Magnetic Ride Control, StabiliTrak, heated and cooled seats, Keyless Access with push-button start and DVD navigation and entertainment.
The 443-horsepower XLR-V enters its second model year in 2007, the quickest and most agile Cadillac ever offered (see details below, and in the V-Series overview). Two entirely new special-edition XLR models – XLR Platinum and Passion Red – add exclusivity and elegance to Cadillac’s landmark roadster. Platinum, first used on a special Escalade model, is Cadillac’s designator for special-edition vehicles that inject even more luxury to the brand’s portfolio. XLR Platinum is equipped with Liquid Amethyst or Raven Black exterior paint; a chrome grille; 18-inch 15-spoke polished wheels; Platinum exterior badging; unique door sill plates; unique wood and metal elements and special wood and metal accents in the interior.
Cadillac also will debut a Passion Red Special Edition XLR model for 2007, featuring a chrome grille, 18-inch chrome wheels and numbered sill plate. Cadillac will manufacture 200 units of this 2007-only special model. The Passion Red XLR follows 2006’s Star Black special edition that was quickly sold out.
The XLR also upgrades to a six-speed automatic, features Generation 7 OnStar technology for 2007 (for more information, see the OnStar overview in the corporate book) and adds a redesigned key fob unique to Cadillac. Red Passion replaces Blue Steel exterior paint and Cashmere interior trim replaces Shale.
The XLR is a contemporary expression of Cadillac’s heritage of landmark design and advanced technology. Inspired by stealth fighter aircraft design, XLR creates a dramatic presence of modern luxury and performance. The XLR’s strong grille, for example, harkens back to Cadillac’s heritage but expresses itself in a new way. The vertical headlamps, on the other hand, express the division’s current design philosophy.
The XLR offers the ultimate convenience of a retractable hard top. By pushing and holding a single button, the XLR can convert from coupe to open roadster in less than 30 seconds. The top is made of aluminum and magnesium with composite exterior panels, a heated glass backlight and glass rear-quarter windows.
The interior design expresses contemporary luxury. Unique eucalyptus wood in light or dark tones, combined with striking aluminum accents, provide a luxurious and inviting environment. The gauges were designed in conjunction with Italian luxury brand Bvlgari.
The XLR’s Northstar 4.6L V-8 VVT is a 90-degree, DOHC, four-valves-per-cylinder engine featuring an aluminum block and cylinder heads, and a valvetrain configuration with roller finger followers. It generates 320 horsepower (239 kW) and 310 lb.-ft. (420 Nm) of torque.
The engine also features continuously variable valve timing (VVT); electronically controlled, hydraulically actuated intake and exhaust cam phasers on all four camshafts for extra control; electronic throttle control (ETC); low restriction intake and exhaust manifolds and cylinder head ports; close coupled catalytic converters mounted directly adjacent to the exhaust manifolds; and an air induction system designed for enhanced capacity and noise attenuation.
The V-8 offers smooth, refined performance throughout its entire operating range. It is quiet, yet tuned to give the driver feedback from the environment. It operates cleanly and efficiently, with excellent reliability and durability. The XLR was the first longitudinal application for the 4.6L Northstar V-8. The V-8 is mated to the new six-speed automatic transmission that debuted in 2006 on the XLR-V, STS-V and all-new Escalade.
Another advantage of Cadillac’s roadster not shared by the competition is its rear-mounted transmission. This helps give the XLR a virtual 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution for superior balance, as well as providing occupants with unusually roomy footwell space.
Compared to the Mercedes-Benz SL500, Jaguar XK8 and Lexus SC430, the XLR is not only the lightest vehicle at approximately 3,650 pounds (1,656 kg), but it also boasts the longest wheelbase, widest track and lowest height.
Structure and suspension
The XLR uses GM’s unique, patented performance car structure, featuring steel hydroformed perimeter frame rails, an enclosed structural ’tunnel,’ an aluminum cockpit configuration and balsa-cored composite floors. Providing rigidity without bulk, and with exceptional resistance to torsional and bending forces, this structure is the foundation for the XLR’s outstanding ride and handling characteristics.
The suspension system makes the XLR a true luxury roadster with the handling qualities of a performance car. The design uses double wishbones at each corner, combined with transverse-mounted, composite leaf springs front and rear. The system is designed to maintain firm control over wheel motion, while delivering a composed and compliant ride quality. The XLR achieves a maximum lateral G-force of more than 0.9. It runs on Goodyear EMT tires with advanced run-flat technology that eliminate the need for a spare and provide outstanding overall tire performance.
Magnetic Ride Control
The XLR also was one of the world’s first vehicles to be equipped with Magnetic Ride Control – electronically controlled, magnetic-fluid based real-time damping. The system uses four wheel-to-body displacement sensors to measure wheel motion over the road surface and responds by adjusting the shock damping at speeds approaching one millisecond.
That’s five times faster than previous real-time damping systems. The secret is the magneto-rheological fluid contained in its dampers, replacing traditional mechanical valves. Suspended in this fluid are tiny iron particles that respond to an electromagnetic charge.
Adaptive cruise control
The XLR has adaptive cruise control (ACC). While not a substitute for full driver attention, this system expands the convenience of cruise control. ACC uses a radar sensor mounted at the front of the car to detect objects in its path. If the lane ahead is clear, the system maintains the set speed, just like conventional cruise control. When it detects a vehicle in the same lane in front of the car, the system adjusts speed to help maintain a constant following distance, set by the driver.
XLR features Keyless Access, making it a truly ’keyless’ car. A driver can simply keep the fob in a pocket or purse to operate the doors, trunk and ignition. The fob communicates with the XLR’s computer control system via radio antennas under the car’s bodywork. The system is intuitive and hassle free.
XLR is one of the first vehicles to pioneer the use of Adaptive Forward Lighting. This technology enables the headlamps to adjust the lighting pattern in synch with vehicle steering, a significant boost to a driver’s nighttime visibility.
The XLR’s seats are heated and cooled in the back and the cushion. A seven-inch (178-mm) color touch screen mounted in the upper center console gives driver and passenger access to DVD navigation; a nine-speaker world-class Bose audio system with a six-CD in-dash changer and digital signal processing modes; XM Satellite Radio (U.S. and Canada), and DVD entertainment (available in Park position only).
The XLR also is equipped with a head-up display that projects key driver information onto the windshield.
In keeping with Cadillac’s reputation for advanced technology, for 2007, XLR models will feature new Generation 7 OnStar technology, and a new service called OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation. Turn-by-Turn is the first factory-installed, fully integrated GPS navigation system from OnStar. It enables consumers to talk to a live advisor, who in turn sends complete step-by-step directions to customers’ vehicles through their OnStar system. These audio directions automatically play through the vehicle’s stereo as needed, triggered by the OnStar system’s GPS capabilities. This enables drivers to be led to their destination while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. For more information about OnStar, see the OnStar Overview in the Product Information Guide Corporate Book.
Also available for owners in the U.S. is XM Satellite Radio. XM Satellite Radio provides more than 120 coast-to-coast, digital-quality channels of original commercial-free music and premier news, sports and talk as well as advanced traffic and weather information for select major metropolitan areas nationwide. Consumers can subscribe to the basic service for $12.99 a month. In addition, GM customers with GMAC financing can choose to include the XM subscription in their car payments.
The 2007 Cadillac XLR-V is a landmark car in Cadillac’s long history. XLR-V elevates the performance and luxury attributes of the brand’s growing V-Series lineup to the fullest extent.
XLR-V is the quickest, most agile and most exclusive Cadillac ever offered. Launched in early 2006, the supercharged XLR-V combines advanced technology with hand craftsmanship that harkens back to Cadillac’s origins as a custom luxury coach builder.
The 443-horsepower* supercharged Northstar V-8 engine powering the XLR-V is hand assembled to exacting standards at GM’s Performance Build Center in Wixom , Mich. Each engine is built from start to finish by a single expert craftsman. The engine is paired with a new six-speed automatic transmission with Driver Shift Control. This powerful combination enables 0-to-60 (mph) acceleration in less than five seconds. The XLR-V includes numerous chassis enhancements for outstanding performance, developed and tuned at some of the world’s most demanding environments.
The interior features extensive use of leather wrapped surfaces, created by craftsmen who cut, wrap and sew leather components individually. The 2006 XLR-V marked the initial phase of a new approach to vehicle interiors for Cadillac.
Kinetic aluminum accents adorn the steering wheel and instrument panel and exotic Zingana wood trim appears throughout the cabin.
Production of the XLR-V will be limited to ensure exclusivity. The MSRP for XLR-V in the U.S. market is $100,000, including destination. XLR-V and STS-V are the first V-Series cars to be developed for international sales outside North America .
That said, there’s little question that the automotive world needs to take notice of the XLRv. Caddy is, on the whole, getting better with each new model. It has more work ahead before it’s on a par with the best, but while this high-performance roadster isn’t quite where it needs to go yet, it’s darned close, and you certainly wouldn’t have to apologize for owning one.