2008 Cadillac XLR

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2008 Cadillac XLR Review

Every luxury feature you could ask for along with respectable performance and an edgy, contemporary design.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The 2008 Cadillac XLR serves as a high-end, performance roadster with a retractable hardtop. Introduced in 2004 and inspired by the Corvette, the XLR offers style and performance with generous amounts of leather and wood trim. While it shares a platform with the Corvette, its slightly smaller engine makes it more of a grand touring car than a heavy-duty sports car. It features a softer suspension setup than many two-seaters with comparable horsepower, which makes for a much more comfortable day-to-day drive than many of its rivals.

The XLR convertible comes in base, Platinum Edition, and Alpine White Edition trim levels. The base XLR comes fully loaded with 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery, Bose audio, and a host of other luxury features. The XLR Platinum Edition gets distinguished by its unique 15-spoke wheels, different wood and metallic cabin accents, special doorsill plates, exclusive color choices and ""Platinum"" exterior badging. The Alpine White Edition features a chrome grille and wheels.

The Range

Body Styles: convertible
Engines: 4.6-liter V-8
Transmissions: six-speed shiftable automatic
Models: Cadillac XLR, Cadillac XLR Alpine White, Cadillac XLR Platinum

What's New

The 2008 Cadillac XLR carries over from the previous year mostly unchanged. The Alpine White model starts new for 2008. Chrome wheels join the options list, and a heated steering wheel comes standard.

Exterior

The hotrod-like styling of the Cadillac XLR looks distinctive and edgy. With the top up, it looks like a high-performance coupe, with a steeply raked rear window and lots of angles. The top, made of aluminum and magnesium with composite panels, contributes to the structural rigidity of the car. One prominent feature remains the bright egg-crate grille. The headlamps wrap around the corners, leading to smooth sides. The model uses no door handles; instead a small release button hides inside a deep notch behind the top trailing edge of the door. A low, wide stance and large wheels give the XLR a racecar-like quality. Four wide exhaust tips that jut from under the center of the rear bumper add to this.

The base XLR features 18-inch alloy wheels with run-flat tires, adaptive xenon HID headlights, LED taillights, and keyless ignition. The Alpine White model features a chrome grille and wheels and its own paint color. The Platinum edition adds unique 15-spoke wheels, special badging, special doorsill plates, and exclusive color choices.

Interior

The 2008 Cadillac XLR has an attractive interior awash in beige or black leather. Eucalyptus wood and anodized aluminum trim brightens the rich shades of leather. A head-up display (HUD) projected onto the windshield indicates speed and the selected gear, as well as the radio station for a moment after switching stations. The instrument panel, designed by the Italian jewelry design firm Bvlgari, features gauges surrounded by chrome rings with white numbers on a black background. The 2008 XLR features eight-way power and heated leather seats, a heated steering wheel, Bose audio (with satellite radio and a CD changer), OnStar, a navigation system, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition, adaptive cruise control, and a heads-up display.

Performance & Handling

A muscular, 4.6-liter, V-8 engine powers the 2008 XLR. Its 320 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque get directed toward the rear wheels by a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift controls. With double overhead cams, variable valve timing, and electronic throttle control, it feels smooth, quiet, and powerful. The XLR features four-wheel traction control, speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering, and GM’s magnetic ride control. This system allows the suspension firmness to be adjusted multiple times per second using magnetic-reactive fluid. Capable of reaching 60 mph in less than six seconds and completing the quarter mile in 14.2 seconds, the XLR nevertheless offers a quiet, smooth ride with responsive shifting and impressive brake performance. A stop from 60 mph takes only 118 feet, with minimal brake fade.

Safety

2008 Cadillac XLR’s standard safety features include traction control, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, Stabilitrak electronic stability control, daytime running lamps, OnStar, dual-stage front- and side-impact airbags, a front passenger airbag with a Passenger Sensing System, and three-point restraints with seat belt pretensioners. Rear parking sensors also come standard. Child seat anchors and an interior emergency brake release help keep kids safe. The XLR marks the first Cadillac to come with an adaptive forward lighting system. This system monitors vehicle speed and steering-wheel angle to automatically adjust headlamp direction up to 15 degrees.

EPA Fuel Economy

Cadillac XLR: 15/24 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Sharp exterior design
  • Comfortable ride quality
  • Hardtop convenience
  • Many standard luxury features

You Won't Like

  • Cramped space for tall drivers
  • Hardtop takes up most of the trunk

Sum Up

Every luxury feature you could ask for along with respectable performance and an edgy, contemporary design.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • Dodge Viper
  • Porsche Boxster

2008 Cadillac XLR Consumer Rating

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