letters X, L and R may mean little to you right now, but after scrolling down
a bit, they certainly will. If you haven't looked already (and considering how
eye-catching it is, we doubt you haven't looked), the XLR is one hot roadster
with a long hood, two-seats and a wreath and crest on the hood. And yes, it has
sex appeal in droves. What you might not be able to tell by looking, however,
is just how "premium" this $76,200 roadster actually is: it has its
gunsight locked on none other than one of the most lustworthy roadsters in the
world: the Mercedes-Benz SL500.
for a company like GM, that may seem ambitious. But it is that kind of confidence
that GM proudly exudes regarding its plans for Cadillac, which once was considered,
literally, "the Standard of the World" (but since has become more commonplace
in retirement communities and livery service fleets). Well, Cadillac is ready
to get back on top-and the XLR, more than any Caddy we currently know about, is
charged with the task of making that happen.
XLR takes Cadillac's angular new form vocabulary to the extreme with its wedge
profile, straight-cut bodysides and spear-like taillamps. Even the center-mounted
brake light is a glowing red sliver that spans the trunk lid. The standard retractable
hard top folds and stows in the trunk, but not until after the decklid has leapt
skyward in a flurry of sheet metal origami (in the process reducing the trunk
space from an impressive 11.4 cubic feet to just 4.4). In all, it's a design that
looks great in pictures, and will blow you away in the flesh.
you might expect, the interior is a montage of boxes and bevels, however, in contrast
to the exterior, there actually are a few slight curves here and there to soften
things up. Featured is every conceivable amenity known to man-from a head-up instrument
display to OnStar to a navigation system-all standard, with the exception of XM
radio. Liberal applications of metal and wood look great, as do the individual
gauges designed by Bulgari. Then there are the seats: very supportive, very comfortable
and not only heated, but cooled, too. There are two stereo speakers in each headrest,
too for the Bose audio system. Fabulous.
on the same platform as the next-generation Corvette, the XLR is a rocket. Cadillac's
winsome Northstar V-8 (with 320 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque) will make meringue
out of your mop with a 0-60 time in the mid-six-second range. A terrific five-speed
automatic transmission with manual control is standard, as is a road-ironing active
suspension and a keyless engine starter.
slick package, Cadillac. The road back to the top is going to be a lot more fun
with this car around.