2009 Cadillac XLR

Written By Tony Tran on Thursday, June 23, 2011 | 10:47 AM


Like gourmet coffee from McDonald's, a pair of Christian Dior running shoes or Jack Black as a leading man, there are some things that at first blush just does not seem to go together. Cadillac is a car synonymous with traditional land-yachts and blinged-out SUVs, but few would associate it with a high performance, dashingly reported two-seat luxury drop top. But the 2009 Cadillac XLR is just such a car, and the retractable-roof roadster is now in its sixth year of production.

Naturally, the XLR is not its first attempt in this segment. Remember, it Italian-bodied allant in the late 80s and early 90s? No? You are not alone, though this flagship roadster boasted distinctive styling and robust V8 power. The challenge for Cadillac is to ensure that the same thought XLR is not the same fade in obscurity. It may be easier said than done, because while the XLR is a pretty nice car, its competitors are pretty nice, and then some.

With a platform that borrows heavily from the Corvette, the XLR seems to be a likable marriage of coddling luxury and sporting performance. Unfortunately, it seems that the sports genes are somewhat recessive in this case. Although fast and generally a respectable action, the XLR is not exactly a Corvette in a smoking. Thanks to suspension tuning, giving priority to ride comfort, the XLR is more at home on boulevards than back roads.

Nor is the XLR strong enough against its chief rivals to contend for luxury roadster supremacy. Although its cabin is quite luxurious and includes even more leather trim til'09 upon closer inspection, the XLR's interior materials (especially plastics) falls short in comparison to the competition. The same can be said for its driving dynamics - even in a position to do once on a twisty road, the XLR does not give the driver the same interactive pleasure that we might find in, say, a BMW 650i.

Unless the 2009 Cadillac XLR's beautiful appearance and all-American pedigree find a strong chord with you, we would recommend taking a closer look at other players in this sparsely occupied class. In addition to the aforementioned Bimmer, the Jaguar XK, Mercedes-Benz SL550 and Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet is all worth considering.

Body style, trim levels, and Options

2009 Cadillac XLR is a luxury roadster that features a lift just Hardtop. It comes in a single Platinum trim level. XLR Platinum comes with most any luxury feature you ever want, including 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive Xenon HID headlamps, eight-way power and heated leather seats, a heated steering wheel, Bose audio (with satellite radio and CD Changer) , OnStar, Bluetooth, a navigation system, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition, adaptive cruise control and a head-up display.

The few options include a weather Veil package that includes a car cover, a wind-blocker with storage bag and unique split-spoke chrome wheels. The standard-style wheels are also available in a chrome finish.

Power Trains and Performance

A muscular yet refined 4.6-liter V8 powers the XLR. A six-speed automatic (which allows manual-style shifting) sends the V8's 320 hp and 310 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. EPA fuel mileage estimates stand at 15 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined.

XLR is a pretty spirited performer, as the 0-60-mph dash takes less than 6 seconds, while high-speed driving on the motorway is hushed and effortless. Full-throttle shifts result in little hesitation, and the sound of the engine at full song is as good as or better than a V8 engine in its class.

Braking Ability is equally impressive, with a stop from 60 km / h takes just 118 feet, and no drums clear succession panic stops.


Anti-lock disc brakes, run-flat tires and stability control are all standard, as are side air bags offering head and thorax protection. Rear parking sensors are also included.

Interior design and special features

While filled with high-tech luxury features and sporting more leather trim in the cabin, the 2009 Cadillac XLR fails to match the interior quality of similarly priced competitors to wear badges of BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. Its soothing blend of soft leather, real wood trim and aluminum accents is certainly an invitation. But the plastic quality is lower than the average for this high class, and its design reminds some of the polarizing first-generation CTS sedan.

As a Hardtop convertible, the XLR is aimed at customers looking for a two-seats, which can provide both a Suntan and quiet top-up highway ride. The stylish folding roof is one of the XLR's strongest selling points - Mercedes is the only other car in this class, which has a lift just Hardtop. Tribe boasts a respectable 11.6 Cubic of space when the top is up, top down, however, that number drops to just 4.4 Cubic.

Driving Impressions

As soon as the 2009 Cadillac XLR is, when pushed, they expect a Corvette in formal wear will be disappointed. Acceleration is certainly fast, but the XLR's soft suspension tuning results in noticeable body roll during hard cornering forces and plenty of nose dive under heavy braking.

Magnetic Ride Control shocks are standard equipment, but even with their split-second adjustment, the XLR still feel less prepared to tackle the turns than the more athletic Mercedes SL. In less streamer roads, XLR hits his step, providing an uninterrupted ride with ease, arrow-straight tracking provided through the precise steering. On the road speeds, wind buffeting is a little intrusive with the top down, but not so much that it makes the XLR otherwise enjoyable highway ride.

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