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Review: 2008 Cadillac XLR


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2008 Cadillac XLR

By Auto Spectator - Posted on October 16th, 2007

The XLR roadster, Cadillac’s bold entry into the elite club of luxury convertibles, adds a dash of exclusivity to its unique combination of performance, advanced technology and dramatic design. The XLR is an icon for Cadillac’s ongoing renaissance, expressing the brand’s resurgence in the categories of serious performance, image, luxury and technical sophistication.

2008 Cadillac XLR-V
The XLR represents the top of the Cadillac range with two basic models: the XLR with a 320-horsepower (239 kW) 4.6L Northstar V-8 VVT; and the XLR-V high-performance variant – the quickest and most agile Cadillac ever offered – with a 443-horsepower (330 kW) 4.4L Northstar V-8 supercharged engine.

For 2008, Cadillac adds more exclusivity by introducing a limited-edition model produced during a short build period (December 2007 through February 2008). The 2008 Alpine White Limited Edition XLR features a chrome grille and 18-inch chrome wheels. The Alpine White XLR follows 2007’s Passion Red XLR, which quickly sold out.

Cadillac also will continue its highly exclusive XLR Platinum series, injecting even more luxury into the brand’s portfolio with luxury touches that include a hand-crafted leather interior. Six exterior/interior color combinations are available for 2008: Black Raven (Ebony/Cashmere); Goldstream Metallic (Burl/Cashmere); Liquid Amethyst (Burl/Cashmere); Light Platinum (Ebony/Cashmere); Elektra Blue (Ebony/Cashmere); Crystal Red (Ebony/Cashmere).

Also for 2008, the Cadillac XLR adds a heated steering wheel and an improved version of Cadillac’s acclaimed Magnetic Ride Control system. XLR’s shock damping system is revised for 2008, extending the car’s already impressive blend of agility and ride quality. Other advanced technologies include Adaptive Forward Lighting that enables the headlamps to swivel in concert with vehicle steering; a head-up display; StabiliTrak; heated and cooled seats; Keyless Access with push-button start; and DVD navigation and entertainment.

Edgy design
The XLR is a contemporary expression of Cadillac's heritage of landmark design and advanced technology. Inspired by Stealth fighter aircraft design, XLR creates a dramatic presence of modern luxury and performance.

The XLR offers the ultimate convenience of a retractable hard top. By pushing and holding a single button, the XLR can convert from coupe to open roadster in less than 30 seconds. The top is made of aluminum and magnesium with composite exterior panels, a heated glass backlight and glass rear-quarter windows.

The interior design expresses contemporary luxury. Unique eucalyptus wood in light or dark tones, combined with striking aluminum accents, provide a luxurious and inviting environment. The gauges were designed in conjunction with Italian luxury brand Bvlgari.

Pure power
The XLR’s Northstar 4.6L V-8 VVT is a 90-degree, DOHC, four-valves-per-cylinder engine featuring an aluminum block and cylinder heads, and a valvetrain configuration with roller finger followers. It generates 320 horsepower (239 kW) and 310 lb.-ft. (420 Nm) of torque.

The engine also features continuously variable valve timing (VVT); electronically controlled, hydraulically actuated intake and exhaust cam phasers on all four camshafts for extra control; electronic throttle control (ETC); low restriction intake and exhaust manifolds and cylinder head ports; close coupled catalytic converters mounted directly adjacent to the exhaust manifolds; and an air induction system designed for enhanced capacity and noise attenuation.

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 cleanly and efficiently, with excellent reliability and durability. The 4.6L V-8 is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

An advantage of Cadillac’s roadster not shared by competitors 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 with unusually roomy footwell space.

Structure and suspension
The XLR uses GM’s unique, patented performance car structure, featuring steel hydroformed perimeter frame rails, an enclosed structural “tunnel,” an aluminum cockpit configuration and balsa-cored composite floors. Providing rigidity without bulk, and with exceptional resistance to torsional and bending forces, this structure is the foundation for the XLR’s outstanding ride and handling characteristics.

The suspension system makes the XLR a true luxury roadster with the handling qualities of a performance car. 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. The XLR achieves a maximum lateral G-force of more than 0.9. It runs on Goodyear EMT tires with advanced run-flat technology that eliminate the need for a spare and provide outstanding overall tire performance.

For 2008, the XLR offers optional chrome wheels.

Magnetic Ride Control
The XLR was one of the world’s first vehicles to be equipped with Magnetic Ride Control – electronically controlled, magnetic-fluid based real-time damping.
Standard on XLR and XLR-V, The system uses four wheel-to-body displacement sensors to measure wheel motion over the road surface and responds by adjusting the shock damping at speeds approaching one millisecond. The secret is the magneto-rheological fluid contained in its dampers, replacing traditional mechanical valves. Suspended in this fluid are tiny iron particles that respond to an electromagnetic charge.

A different piston profile new for 2008 improves damping capability and decreases shock temperatures, resulting in a new calibration for the vehicle and improved ride and handling.

Comfort and luxurious convenience
XLR features Keyless Access, making it a truly “keyless” car. A driver can simply keep the fob in a pocket or purse to operate the doors, trunk and ignition. The fob communicates with the XLR’s computer control system via radio antennas under the car’s bodywork. The system is intuitive and hassle free.

XLR is one of the first vehicles to pioneer the use of Adaptive Forward Lighting. This technology enables the headlamps to adjust the lighting pattern in synch with vehicle steering, a significant boost to a driver’s nighttime visibility.

XLR’s seatbacks and cushions are heated and cooled. For 2008, a heated steering wheel is added. A seven-inch (178-mm) color touch screen mounted in the upper center console gives driver and passenger access to DVD navigation; a nine-speaker Bose audio system with a six-CD in-dash changer and digital signal processing modes; XM Satellite Radio (U.S. and Canada), and DVD entertainment (available in Park position only). The XLR also is equipped with a head-up display that projects key driver information onto the windshield.

The XLR has adaptive cruise control (ACC). While not a substitute for full driver attention, this system expands the convenience of cruise control. ACC uses a radar sensor mounted at the front of the car to detect objects in its path. If the lane ahead is clear, the system maintains the set speed, just like conventional cruise control. When it detects a vehicle in the same lane in front of the car, the system adjusts speed to help maintain a constant following distance, set by the driver.

XLR models feature Generation 7 OnStar technology, including OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation. Turn-by-Turn is the first factory-installed, fully integrated GPS navigation system from OnStar. It enables consumers to talk to a live advisor, who in turn sends complete step-by-step directions to customers' vehicles through their OnStar system. These audio directions automatically play through the vehicle’s stereo as needed, triggered by the OnStar system’s GPS capabilities. This enables drivers to be led to their destination while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

XLR-V – supercharged power and luxury
The 2008 supercharged Cadillac XLR-V is the quickest, most agile and most exclusive Cadillac ever offered, combining advanced technology with hand craftsmanship that harkens back to Cadillac’s origins as a custom luxury coach builder.

Its 443-horsepower* supercharged Northstar V-8 is hand-assembled to exacting standards at GM’s Performance Build Center in Wixom, Mich. Each engine is built from start to finish by a single expert craftsman. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with Driver Shift Control. This powerful combination enables 0-to-60 (mph) acceleration in less than five seconds. The XLR-V includes numerous chassis enhancements for outstanding performance, developed and tuned in some of the world’s most demanding environments.

For 2008, Elektra Blue is added to the XLR-V’s exterior color palette.

The interior features extensive use of leather-wrapped surfaces, created by craftsmen who cut, wrap and sew leather components individually. Kinetic aluminum accents adorn the steering wheel and instrument panel, and exotic Zingana wood trim appears throughout the cabin.
*SAE certified.

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