+ Hardtop retracts fully automatically at the press of a buttonÂ
Preparations are well under way for the launch in April of the Cadillac XLR, a sporty and stylish two-seater roadster coupe, at Cadillac Europe B.V.'s approximately 140 dealers throughout Europe. This fully equipped rear-wheel drive vehicle is the first model that the Dutch company, Kroymans Corporation, will import from the start and market exclusively in Europe after signing an agreement with General Motors last fall.
Other attractive new vehicles will follow soon: The four-wheel drive Crossover model Cadillac SRX is scheduled to follow in July, and the sixth generation of the legendary Corvette sports car is due to hit the European markets in November. After that, the new Cadillac Seville STS should be ready to make its debut at the beginning of 2005. This product offensive complements the sporty Cadillac CTS sedan launched in 2003.
Unmistakable design and luxury ambience
With its modern, stylish lines and a high-tech hardtop that retracts automatically at the press of a button, the Cadillac XLR is a real attention-grabber wherever it goes. 4.51 meters long and 1.28 meters high, the two-seater represents a successful mix of traditional sports car proportions and progressive body language. Its unusual design is based on the Cadillac Evoq concept car unveiled in 1999.
Among the most striking features of the XLR are the eye-catching chiseled form of the body, the front and rear vertical lamps and the marked shoulder line. The tension expressed by the exterior contours is also radiated by the luxury interior, where the tone is set by an unusual combination of eucalyptus wood, aluminium and leather.
These high-grade materials are standard in the XLR, as are numerous other exclusive technical and comfort features. They include, among other things, a keyless access and ignition system, seat climate control, a DVD-based voice-controlled navigation system with a large monitor, and a sophisticated Bose audio system with a six-disc CD changer. One particularly eye-catching feature in the interior are the instruments and gauges, created in conjunction with the Italian designers, Bvlgari.
Northstar V8 engine and automatic transmission
The rear wheels of the Cadillac XLR are driven by the latest generation of the famous Northstar V8 engine. This 4.6-liter power unit, which has been specially modified for longitudinal installation in the roadster coupe, generates 240 kW (326 hp). Among its chief technical characteristics are the variable valve control and electronic throttle control.
With so much power under the engine hood, the new Cadillac turns in a more than respectable performance: Weighing 1,653 kg, it sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds and has a top speed of 250 km/h. The modern, electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission, which is equipped with a converter lock-up clutch, ensures maximum shift comfort and also has a manual mode.
Intelligent lightweight construction
The Cadillac XLR is built on General Motors' architecture specifically designed for open high-performance sports cars. Hydroformed steel, very lightweight composite materials and an aluminium passenger cell, give the structure extremely high rigidity despite its low weight and outstanding passive safety.
Intelligent lightweight construction is also the key when it comes to the chassis of the sporty US vehicle: The double wishbones at the front and rear are made of cast aluminium, and the transversally mounted leaf springs are manufactured of a special composite material.
Another technical highlight is the Magnetic Ride Control system with its infinitely variable shock absorbers. This quick response chassis control system, which is based on the magnetic properties of iron particles, is a standard fixture in the XLR - as are the electronic StabiliTrak system for optimized handling and the speed-dependent MagnaSteer power steering.
High active and passive safety
The head-up display and the car's automatic ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) system (both of which are standard) make an important contribution to active safety. ACC works by radar, and permanently monitors the traffic situation ahead. When the road in front is clear, it accelerates the Cadillac to the preselected speed, but if it recognizes another vehicle in the same lane, the electronics in the roadster coupe automatically step in to slow the car down and keep it at the distance preset by the driver. If there is a stationary obstacle on the road ahead, the ACC system emits an acoustic warning and also indicates the danger on the head-up display.
The safety package is rounded off by comprehensive passive protection features that include belt tensioners and two-stage front airbags, which inflate according to the seriousness of the accident. In addition, there are side airbags in the seats to protect the head and chest in the event of a lateral collision.