2008 XLR New Car Test Drive
This is not your father's Cadillac; although it could be your grandfather's, and that's not a put-down. A couple of generations ago, a Cadillac badge meant world-class performance. Cadillacs finished 10th and 11th at Le Mans in 1950. They competed in the early days of NASCAR. Go back further, to the early 1930s, and Cadillac made a 16-cylinder open two-seater that could scare a Duesenberg costing double its price.Beneath its edgy, ultra-modern styling the XLR represents a return to those glory days.
The Cadillac XLR is a hardtop convertible. Press a button and the top goes up or down in 30 seconds. With the top up, the XLR looks like an edgy, powerful coupe, and it acts like one. Its styling is powerful and distinctive and its interior is luxurious and attractive. It's smooth, quiet and pleasant when cruising, top up or top down.
The XLR offers tenacious grip and excellent handling. The Cadillac XLR is based on a modified version of the Chevrolet Corvette chassis and is rear-wheel drive. It is lighter and more powerful than the Lexus SC430 or Jaguar XK.
The XLR sounds sexy and delivers brilliant acceleration performance. Its Northstar V8 is a modern, 32-valve, double overhead cam unit with variable-valve technology. At 320 horsepower, it's nearly twice as powerful as the old Cadillac V16. For 2007, the standard XLR benefits from the same six-speed automatic transmission as the XLR-V.
The supercharged XLR-V ups the ante to 443 hp. That was serious race-car power just a few years ago.
The XLR ($75,335) comes with a 4.6-liter V8 that produces 320 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The list of standard equipment is long and includes a nine-speaker Bose sound system with XM Satellite radio, DVD navigation and video, Magnetic Ride Control, radar-controlled adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and push-button start, a head-up display, and Gen 7 OnStar, the latest highway assistance service featuring the helpful voices of genuine human beings beamed to the car by satellite.
The Passion Red ($2,575) and Platinum ($6,080) packages add special wheels, colors, upholstery and trim.
The XLR-V ($97,460) features a supercharged 4.4-liter V8 that produces 443 horsepower and 414 pound-feet of torque. Chassis modifications include larger brakes; recalibrated Magnetic Ride Control; a larger front stabilizer bar; the addition of a rear stabilizer bar; stiffer rear lower control arm bushings; larger wheels and tires; a power steering fluid cooler; and a higher-capacity fuel pump. Inside, the V-model features aluminum accents and French-stitched leather seats. Wire-mesh grilles, a hood bulge, and other exterior filips make sure the neighbors notice. No options are available.
Safety features that come standard include side-impact airbags, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, and OnStar.
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