High-tech luxury defined XLR driving experience
History/Description: A Corvette-based luxo-rocket popular with real estate agents, Avon sales reps and modeling agents, the Cadillac XLR hit the market as a 2004 model and enjoyed six years of sales before it was given the pink slip.
A two-seat, convertible-only machine, the XLR was motivated by one of two Northstar V8 engines -- namely a 4.6L with 320 hp, or a supercharged 4.4L with 443 hp. All models sent output to the rear wheels via an automatic transmission.
Look for a metal, power-folding roof, magnetically variable suspension, heated and chilled seats, premium audio, xenon lights, a head-up display, navigation, radar-guided cruise control, and parking assist. In fact, the XLR was full of high-tech goodies sought after by affluent buyers.
What Owners Like: XLR owners love the gorgeous looks, sumptuous cabin and overall upscale character of their machines. Performance is also highly rated, as is the long list of goodies and extras. Great ride quality rounds out the package on most models.
What Owners Dislike: Many XLR owners wish for more interior storage space, more cargo space, and a higher-quality feel to the cabin. Taller shoppers will likely gravitate towards a model with more headroom.
Common Issues: Earlier versions of the Northstar V8 engine weren’t without their issues -- mainly relating to leaks, head gaskets and oil consumption. It seems that the issues were fixed by time the XLR rolled around, though shoppers should attempt to invest in a model sold by a dealership familiar with the vehicle and seek out a unit with full service records available.
A lower mileage engine that’s had religious oil changes is your safest bet -- in an XLR or anything else. Budget for a full fluid change and tune-up if you’re unaware of the service history of the model you’re considering.
Auto journalist & Consumer Ratings
2009 Cadillac XLR Specifications