2006 Cadillac XLR

  • 2006 Cadillac XLR Base Roadster Convertible

    Base Roadster Convertible

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      4.6L V8
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2006 Cadillac XLR Review

Style and design make it stand out, but it lags in performance.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2006 Cadillac XLR effectively changed Cadillac’s dated image to that of a brand offering style and bit of attitude. The demise of the Allante gave birth to the XLR, which brought with it more power, features and style, along with the similar basic platform as utilized in the Chevrolet sixth-generation Corvette. Cadillac calls the XLR a luxury roadster that has performance car roots, but doesn’t hide its platform-sharing formula. Even though the XLR has Corvette roots, it isn’t simply a spruced-up Corvette. In essence, the Corvette looks just a bit more aggressive without the lighter construction of the XLR. The engineers at Cadillac have made concentrated efforts to keep the weight of the XLR down by using magnesium and aluminum composites for body panels and suspension components.

The 2006 Cadillac XLR may not be able to compete with the elite SL-Class Mercedes-Benz automobiles, but it can hold its own among other favorable luxury roadsters such as the Lexus SC430 or the Jaguar XK8. The price tag lands in the upper brackets, but considering all of the technology, performance, and style that the XLR contains; it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to shoppers. Pushing Cadillac into the high-dollar-imports territory, the XLR provides a solid entry into the class, and is a worthy choice for those who want luxury and performance bundled into a beautiful and classy roadster.

The Range

Body Styles: Convertible roadster
Engines: 4.6-liter Northstar V-8
Transmissions: five-speed automatic
Models: XLR Base, XLR Star Black Limited Edition

What's New

The 2006 XLR uses adaptive headlamps. New features to this model also include a standard satellite radio and wood treatment redesigned around a center stack.


The two-seat, two-door XLR roadster has various luxury standard features to enhance the exterior, such as a retractable hardtop that comes with an easy power operation. The hardtop not only looks sophisticated, but also proves very simple and quick to retract when desired. In only about 30 seconds the XLR goes from the closed position to fully open. Practically every feature comes standard and includes headlamp washers, rear parking sensors, chrome or polished alloy 18-inch wheels, a rear defogger, and intermittent wipers. Star Black Metallic is the name of the beautiful body exterior paint on the Black Cadillac XLR Star Black Limited Edition, and chrome accents the car’s wheels and grille.


The 2006 Cadillac XLR has an interior of simple elegance with clean-looking design and technology-driven displays like a heads-up display. The innovative display allows the driver to focus on the road while keeping informed through the four-color projection on the windshield, located at eye level. Other standard interior features include climate control in dual-zone, a seven-inch touchscreen, an in-dash CD changer and sound system, leather bucket seating, aluminum accents, and eucalyptus wood trim finishing the upscale cabin. The information system gives the driver a navigation system and entertainment options.

Performance & Handling

A 4.6-liter Northstar V-8 powers the Cadillac XLR using low restriction intake and variable valve timing to produce 320 horsepower with 310 lb-ft of torque. Engine noise remains under the hood with the acoustic engine cover that Cadillac uses to polish the look of the engine bay. The automatic five-speed transmission sits strategically placed in the rear for proper weight distribution and represents a modified version of the one used by the CTS sedan that offers automatic or manual shifting options.

Acceleration is extremely good and the Magnetic Ride Control system shocks have split-second adjustability, though the XLR still does not compare to its corporate cousin, the Corvette.


The Cadillac XLR has a host of standard features for safety, mostly to keep the automobile from having an accident. Stability control, anti-lock brakes, and side airbags all come standard. Since the Cadillac XLR provides two seats, the front airbag on the passenger’s side may be turned off to accommodate a child in a safety seat. It also includes child seat anchors and front seatbelt pre-tensioners for the utmost safety. The XLR roadster has not yet been tested by the government or other safety sources.

EPA Fuel Economy

XLR Base: 15/23 mpg city/highway
XLR Star Black Limited Edition: 15/23 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Most features come standard
  • Convenience of a hardtop
  • Tolerant ride quality
  • Attractive design

You Won't Like

  • Tall drivers could be cramped
  • Small cargo space
  • Cheap interior for the price
  • Not as sporty as suggested

Sum Up

Style and design make it stand out, but it lags in performance.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Honda Accord
  • Fiat 500 Convertible
  • Mazda Miata
  • Jaguar XK8
  • Lexus SC 430

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