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Another Review of the XLR-V from the Robb Report



Here's another a review of the XLR-V by the Robb Report back in 2006. :blinzel:

Cadillac XLR-V
A mouthful of initials and a fistful of firsts.

it is the quickest cadillac ever: From rest to 60 mph takes 4.6 seconds, a few tenths behind the Corvette Z06, with which it shares an engine, and on par with the overtly feral Ford Shelby GT500.

It is the most expensive Cadillac ever: The price is $100,000 before any options are added.

It also is the best-handling, most agile, least floppy, most tightly suspended, surest-steering, most minimally cushioned, greatest-sounding, and quickest-cornering Cadillac ever. Cadillac finally has built a car for motoring enthusiasts who know what they are doing and appreciate how satisfying a fine-driving machine can be. Far from incidentally, the XLR-V is almost certain to return prestige to Cadillac, making the car’s purchase more a matter of pride than patriotism.

From its mesh grille to its flat, blunt rear end, which appears to have been separated at birth from the current Corvette, the XLR-V is brutally beautiful. It extends the distinctive styling and instant identification associated with Cadillacs (let us except and try to forget the Catera and the Cimarron) since the 1950s, when the cars displayed fins, mammary bumpers, and behemoth behinds.

The XLR-V also follows through on the promise of the Evoq concept car of the 1999 show circuit, which pledged to assist Cadillac’s rejuvenation with a big and purposeful roadster equipped with a retractable hard top. (When referring to that rejuvenation, company communicators prefer to employ the more euphemistic term “renaissance,” as in revival, while jaded observers use “recovery,” as in rehabilitation.) The Evoq also implied contemporary, serious, secure performance and handling to match a supercharged Northstar engine. It develops 443 hp and 414 ft lbs of torque that kicks in shortly after idle. The engine might be Cadillac’s greatest contribution to American motoring since its gangster cars and V-16s of the 1930s.

Beaucoup torque and raw power, however, never have been in short supply among American automobiles. But rare have been the engineering skills to harness all that muscle and make turning and cornering a smooth pleasure rather than a calculated risk.

The transmission is 6-speed, automatic or sequential, and intuitive: You nudge it forward for upshifts and back for downshifts. To the design of the standard XLR, Cadillac has added a heftier front sway bar and a rear stabilizer bar and larger brakes and wheels. The chassis is lightweight, but it is made from stamped steel, nuts, and bolts instead of extruded aluminum, welds, and bonds. The XLR-V also has a double-wishbone, cast-aluminum suspension, and Magnetic Ride Control, which is Detroitspeak for an adaptive suspension system that keeps everything flat and adhesive during spirited maneuvering.

For the XLR-V’s introduction to the media, Cadillac selected Southern California’s coastal roads, mountain two-laners east of San Diego, and a flat, high-speed run across the Anza-Borrego Desert. The car tackled each territory with aplomb and balance and an amazing display of pace and precision: no tires, no waddling, no squatting and rolling, and absolutely no reminders of the Seville, DeVille Fleetwood, or Eldorado.

The XLR-V may well become a breakout car for Cadillac, and it might even help General Motors break even.

—Paul Dean
August 6, 2006

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