The Cadillac XLR is a two-seat luxury roadster. Roadster and Cadillac might sound like an oxymoron, but the XLR is a respectable addition to the Cadillac line. The XLR has an attractive body that closely resembles older muscle cars. The powerful engine gives this roadster a quick take off and runs smoothly on the freeway. The attractive retractable hardtop almost makes the XLR irresistible.
On the inside of the vehicle, the true nature of the beast appears. Subpar interior materials take this one out of the competition, especially in comparison to roadsters available from Porsche and BMW. The suspension also performs underclass, bouncy and gooey in turns and braking. Even with the Corvette underpinnings, the Cadillac XLR fails to perform as a potential buyer would hope.
Body Styles: Convertible
Engines: 4.6-liter V-8
Transmissions: six-speed automatic
Models: XLR Platinum
Cadillac drops all other XLR trim models in favor of the Platinum trim line in the 2009 model year. The body receives a few changes including a new front and rear fascia and new hood borrowed from the XLR-V also produced by Cadillac. Interior updates are also included to give the XLR a luxurious feel, including Bluetooth connectivity. New instrument graphics and leather trim are standard throughout.
The Platinum trim line comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels and adaptive xenon HID lights. The chrome grille is a handsome feature and compliments the variety of colors the XLR is available in. The sheet metal is aggressive and feels like a muscle car. In fact, the body shape is one of the most attractive features of the XLR.
The XLR has a beautiful retractable hardtop that is effortless to use. The XLR is a pretty big car, weighing in at 3647 pounds curb weight, likely explaining why the engine isn’t very fuel-efficient.
The interior has a lot of impressive features. The leather upholstery, wood trim, and aluminum accents add a lot of class to the XLR. Unfortunately, the plastic surrounding these features feels cheap to the touch, and would be expected in a vehicle not quite at the luxury class the XLR claims itself to be.
The rest is just fine. The cabin has two seats, so this isn’t exactly a family vehicle. The trunk has 11.6 cubic feet of space when the hardtop is up, but this shrinks to a measly 4.4 cubic feet when the rood is retracted.
The car has a lot of power features including reverse tilt mirrors for backing up, power locks and windows, power mirrors, and an adjustable seat. The passenger and driver’s seat have height adjustments as well as adjustable lumbar support. Multi-level heating is standard as well. Even the steering wheel has heating. Dual zone climate control is placed on the dashboard for the driver and passenger.
Performance & Handling
The Cadillac XLR boasts a 4.6-liter, V-8 engine controlled by a six-speed automatic that also has manual shifting controls. The V-8 produces 320 horsepower with 310 lb-ft of torque. The engine will propel the XLR from zero to 60 mpg in less than six seconds.
Unfortunately, all this power fails to impress due to the soft suspension and controls. Hard turns cause the body to lean a bit too much, and hard braking causes the nose of the car to slam forward; not what anyone would expect from a sport vehicle. Magnetic Ride Control is provided standard. The ride control makes micro adjustments during turns, but even this isn’t enough to encourage the XLR to really bite into turns.
With the top down, the car runs pretty smooth. Good aerodynamic design keeps the wind resistance down to as little as possible. Unfortunately, there is some wind buffering when driving on the freeway with the top down, slowing the vehicle and slightly affecting the handling.
The Cadillac XLR has the standard features including anti-lock brakes and stability control, but adds side airbags for head and thorax protection. The Cadillac also includes a rear park assist.
EPA Fuel Economy
XLR: 15/24 mpg city/highway
- Impressive looks on the outside - a real head-turner
- Retractable hardtop
- Lots of standard equipment
You Won't Like
- Interior of the vehicle has a cheap feel to it
- Power and handling are not as impressive as you would expect
Comes with a lot of impressive features.
If You Like This Vehicle
- BMW 650i
- Jaguar XK
- Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet