2009 Cadillac XLR Preview

FAST FACTS
  • Offered in XLR Platinum and XLR-V models only

  • New front and rear fascia and fender vents for all models

  • Specific upper and lower grilles for Platinum and V-Series

  • 320-hp, 4.6-liter Northstar V-8 engine in XLR Platinum

  • 443-hp, 4.4-liter supercharged Northstar V-8 engine powers XLR-V

  • Platinum model gets new 18-inch wheel design

  • Alcantara headliner material on XLR-V

  • Standard leather-wrapped upper instrument panel

  • Interior trim revisions

  • Next-generation OnStar 8.0 with eNav and Bluetooth connectivity

  • Three new regular-production exterior colors

Introduction

First introduced in 2004, the Cadillac XLR features a revised model lineup as well as exterior and interior styling enhancements for 2009. At a price in the $80,000 range, the 2-person roadster accommodates the discerning consumer with a host of standard technology, luxury and convenience features-and a choice of two models: XLR and XLR-V. Cadillac has simplified the XLR lineup for 2009 to focus more on the car's craftsmanship, design and technology.

Model Lineup

The 2009 Cadillac XLR roadster is available in two models only: XLR Platinum and the high-performance XLR-V. Although standard and optional equipment is not yet finalized, expect the vehicles to have a comprehensive list of high-tech and luxury comfort and convenience equipment as standard features. What is known is that both models will include Magnetic Ride Control; heated steering wheel; adaptive forward lighting; head-up display; electronic stability control; heated and cooled seats; keyless access with push-button start; and DVD navigation and entertainment. There won't be a lot of options, either. According to Cadillac, the XLR is designed to be one of the finest luxury roadsters-and is equipped accordingly.

Design

With strong landmark Cadillac design and advanced technology, the 2009 XLR and XLR-V clearly show off the Stealth fighter aircraft influence. The roadster's retractable hardtop is a key component of the design, allowing transformation from coup_ to open roadster in less than 30 seconds-just by pushing and holding a single button. Constructed of aluminum and magnesium with composite exterior panels, the hardtop features glass rear-quarter windows and a heated glass backlight. Three new regular-production colors for the exterior are added: Black Cherry, Radiant Silver and Gray Flannel. Alcantara, a suede-like microfiber, is used in the headliner material, and is available in either Ebony or Cashmere. Hand-cut and -sewn leather adorns the upper instrument panel. Power window switches, instrument panel cluster trim rings and graphics, wood grain and metal trims are all new.

Hardware

In the 2009 Cadillac XLR Platinum, a 320-hp, 4.6-liter Northstar V-8 engine offers smooth, refined and quiet performance, while special tuning gives driver feedback from the environment. The high-performance XLR-V features a 443-hp, 4.4-liter supercharged Northstar V-8 engine, hand-built by a single craftsman at the GM Performance Build Center in Wixom, Michigan. It's paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission with driver shift control that allows the XLR-V to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds, according to Cadillac. Magnetic Ride Control, electronically controlled, magnetic-fluid based real-time damping, is standard on both models. The XLR was one of the world's first vehicles to be equipped with Magnetic Ride Control technology.

Safety

A full list of safety features for the 2009 Cadillac XLR is not yet available, but will likely include a full complement of air bags. Both XLR Platinum and V-Series models run on Goodyear EMT tires with advanced run-flat technology-eliminating the need for a spare and providing exceptional overall tire performance. The XLR Platinum model has power-assisted disc with 4-channel anti-lock brakes (ABS), while the XLR-V has heavy-duty, high-performance brakes with power-assist with 4-channel ABS front and rear.

Technology

The technology list is extensive in the 2009 Cadillac XLR and XLR-V, starting with the Magnetic Ride Control and extending to virtually every aspect of the roadster. The XLR features keyless access, where the driver can simply keep the fob in pocket or purse to operate the roadster's ignition, doors, and trunk. The XLR is also one of the first vehicles to use adaptive forward lighting technology, which enables the headlamps to adjust the lighting pattern synchronous with vehicle steering. Adaptive cruise control, using a radar sensor mounted in the front of the car, can detect objects in its path. OnStar 8.0 next-generation technology with Turn-by-Turn Navigation, eNav powered by MapQuest and Bluetooth wireless connectivity are other technological features in the 2009 XLR.