It’s a simple recipe: two doors plus a top that goes down equals an instantly desirable vehicle. The worldwide car industry has been following this lead for decades now, arguably starting the trend with the gorgeous Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster and continuing on through today’s Jaguar XKs and Mercedes SL 550s. But notice a common trend amongst these models: they’re all European-built. Rarely has an American brand been able to replicate the exclusivity and exoticism that the British and the Germans have so easily mastered.
It suffices to say, that the 2009 Cadillac XLR-V is an American exotic and is sure to be a hot commodity amongst American car enthusiasts in the near future.
The XLR is a wholly stunning vehicle: its wide stance, bulky haunches, and aggressive front end represent some of the most ambitious styling of any American car in recent memory. The car continues to impress inside the engine bay. It’s home to Cadillac’s 4.6-liter Northstar V8 that churns out a healthy 320 horsepower and 320 lb.-ft. of torque using variable valve timing. The XLR also includes a six-speed automatic gearbox with two distinct transmission modes: the “touring shift” mode comes in handy for a relaxed Sunday drive, while the “performance shift” setting holds gears for as long as possible to achieve maximum acceleration. Cadillac included Magnasteer rack-and-pinion speed-sensitive steering on the XLR, intended to provide the ultimate steering feedback for the discerning driver.
The limited-production XLR-V model, raised the performance bar over the standard XLR on nearly every level. Under the XLR-V’s hood resides a 4.4-liter supercharged V8 producing a whopping 443 horsepower and 414 lb.-ft. of torque, enough to qualify it for supercar status. The XLR-V also includes V-specific badging on the rear and side quarter panels and a redesigned chrome grille that gives it an extra hint of aggressiveness. The XLR-V model, with a starting price of $101,300, was certainly a toy of the very well-off, further adding to the XLR’s exclusivity.
Though the production of the XLR officially ended in 2009, GM had manufactured the svelte roadster in its Bowling Green, KY, factory beginning in 2004. Amazingly, just 892 examples of the XLR were built for the 2009 model year, with only 239 of these being the high-spec XLR-V model. And given that the XLR-V started at well over $100,000 for the 2009 model year, these “V-spec” examples should be among the most collectible in the future.
In addition, though the XLR was available in six exterior colors and seven interior color configurations, the 2009 model year saw a mere thirty-two of them were delivered with the Bluestream exterior color, while only two XLRs were ever produced with the Bluestream/Two-Tone Cashmere and Ebony interior. Achieving the one-of-two status, these examples of the gorgeous American roadster will certainly bring six figures at the prestigious auctions of the future.
Unsurprisingly, the XLR’s standard features didn’t leave much to desire. The XLR Platinum edition, the most common edition sold, came standard with a head-up display, Xenon HID headlamps, Adaptive Cruise Control, and heated/ventilated bucket seats. Cadillac’s breakthrough Magnetic Ride Suspension, utilizing electrically-charged liquid to firm or soften the ride, also came at no additional cost on the XLR. The car was a true grand-tourer with performance and looks to match, making it an instantly classic vehicle in the history of the American automobile.
The Bottom Line
The Cadillac XLR was one of the boldest statements by an American automaker and most certainly a testament to the ingenuity of the American car industry. The XLR proved that domestic brands could still produce desirable exotics that rivaled counterparts from BMW, Mercedes, and Jaguar, a feat that few companies have ever accomplished. And Cadillac’s scrupulous efforts in creating it won’t soon be forgotten–collectors in the future will definitely snap up the XLR-V and XLR as a beautiful examples of American engineering.
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Please enjoy this fun TFLcar video, featuring the Cadillac CTS-V coupe.