Replete with a dynamic design, advanced technology and a unique blend of luxury and performance, the Cadillac XLR brings a striking new presence to the elite luxury roadster class. The vehicle underscores its vibrant visual statement with a performance-oriented chassis and structure, and an all-new 4.6L Northstar V-8 VVT (variable valve timing) rear-wheel-drive engine. This combination makes it the lightest, most powerful vehicle in its class.
"XLR is a luxury roadster with performance car roots," said Jay Spenchian, XLR marketing director. "Beneath its stunning exterior style, XLR has a patented performance car architecture that is ideal for a roadster and serves as a strong foundation for a car designed for great agility and bona fide luxury."
Under its skin, the XLR offers a harmonious blend of technologies and materials meant to add pleasure, not complexity, to the driving experience. Innovative features include a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, Magnetic Ride Control, StabiliTrak, heated and cooled seats, keyless access with push-button start and DVD navigation and entertainment. XLR appears at dealerships in summer 2003.
Bold and edgy, yet elegant and refined, the XLR's linear, crisp design creates a dramatic presence and modern icon for luxury and performance. Yet it still pays tribute to the marque's rich history. The XLR's strong grille, for example, harkens back to Cadillac's heritage but expresses itself in a new way. The vertical headlamps, on the other hand, express the division's current design philosophy.
The XLR offers the ultimate convenience of a retractable hard top. Compared to soft-top convertibles, a retractable hardtop is quieter with the top up, more secure and more visually pleasing. Car Top Systems (CTS) GmbH of Germany, the renowned designer of many of the world's top-rated convertibles, developed the XLR top. By pushing and holding a single button, the XLR can convert from coupe to open roadster in less than 30 seconds.
The top assembly for the XLR is installed as a complete module, and contributes to the car's overall structural rigidity. The top structure is made of aluminum and magnesium with composite exterior panels, a heated glass backlight and glass rear-quarter windows.
The XLR's interior design epitomizes contemporary luxury. Unique eucalyptus wood and striking aluminum accents combine to provide a luxurious and inviting environment. The gauges are designed in conjunction with Italian luxury brand Bvlgari.
The V-8 offers smooth, refined performance throughout its entire operating range. It is quiet, yet tuned to give the driver feedback from the environment. It operates even more cleanly and efficiently than its predecessors, with excellent reliability and durability. The XLR features the first longitudinal application of the 4.6L Northstar V-8.
The V-8 is mated to the Hydra-Matic 5L50-E five-speed automatic transmission. Developed to manage the high torque and horsepower of the engine, it is one of the most technologically advanced transmissions on any highway or autobahn in the industry. The 5L50-E transmission is a modification of the Hydra-Matic 5L40-E transmission used in Cadillac CTS. It offers three performance features normally found individually on various high-performance American and European luxury sport sedans: driver shift control, performance algorithm shifting and performance algorithm liftfoot.
Another advantage of Cadillac's roadster not shared by the competition is its rear-mounted transmission. This helps give the XLR a virtual 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution for superior balance, as well as providing occupants unusually roomy footwell space.
Architecture and suspension
The suspension system makes the XLR a true luxury roadster with the handling qualities of a performance car. To this end, the design uses double wishbones at each corner, combined with transverse-mounted, composite leaf springs front and rear. The system is designed to maintain firm control over wheel motion, while delivering a composed and compliant ride quality. During normal driving, the chassis exhibits comfortable and confident handling characteristics; when pushed harder, the car remains stable and secure with outstanding road holding. The XLR achieves a maximum lateral G-force of more than 0.9. The XLR runs on Michelin ZP tires with advanced "run flat" technology that eliminates the need for a spare and provides outstanding overall tire performance.
Magnetic Ride ControlÂ
In the presence of a charge, the iron particles align themselves into fibrous structures that almost instantaneously create precise and wide-ranging damping characteristics. With sensors reading the road surface at a rate of 1 inch at 60 mph (25.4 mm at 97 km/h), the system responds by commanding constant changes in damping force at all four corners. The goal is to maintain tire contact with the road surface and to keep the body on an even plane, with smooth, well-controlled body motions even during aggressive maneuvers or on uneven road surfaces.
Adaptive cruise controlÂ
If a vehicle or object in the path of the car is stationary or moving at significantly slower speed, the system provides visible and audible alerts to the driver. ACC is set by a conventional stalk-mounted control but is monitored through a graphic representation in the head-up display.
Comfort and convenience
The doors are opened by touching a pad located in openings at the rearward edges of each door. Once the pad is pressed, the doors unlock and open if the fob is within a 1-meter radius. To operate the ignition the driver presses a button on the instrument panel. The same button is pressed to stop the engine. As a safety feature the engine will not start unless the fob is in the car and the brake pedal is depressed.
The XLR's seats are both heated and cooled in the back and the cushion. A 7-inch color touch screen mounted in the upper center console gives driver and passenger access to DVD navigation; a nine-speaker world-class Bose audio system with a six-CD in-dash changer and digital signal processing modes; XM Satellite Radio (continental U.S. only) and DVD entertainment (available in Park position only). The XLR also is equipped with OnStar and a head-up display that projects key driver information onto the windshield.