For 2006, the Cadillac XLR gains XM Satellite Radio (with hidden antenna) as standard equipment, and the wood treatment on the dashboard has been redesigned. Two new colors are available: Gold Mist and Infrared. XLR also features Cadillac's first use of Adaptive Forward Lighting, a technology in which the headlights "turn" through corners to better illuminate the road.
A new model, the high-performance XLR-V debuts this year. ("V" is Cadillac's designation for its performance models, just as BMW "M" and Mercedes "AMG" designations indicate high-performance European models). A supercharged Northstar V-8 engine puts out 449 hp and is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. Larger wheels, tires and brakes, as well as distinctive styling cues, are also part of the package.
The last time Cadillac offered a two-seat roadster was nearly two decades ago, when the Allante was introduced. So the Cadillac XLR, based heavily on 2000's Evoq show car, was not an unexpected move when it debuted for the 2004 season. The XLR shares a chassis, some suspension components, and an assembly line with the Corvette, but the XLR's styling, powertrain, and interior appointments are unique to the Cadillac version. XLR is also the first vehicle to use Cadillac's V-8 Northstar engine in a rear-wheel-drive configuration.
XLR comes standard with a 320-hp, 4.4L all-aluminum V-8 engine, connected to a five-speed automatic transmission; no other powertrain combination is available. Head-up display instrumentation, gauges designed in conjunction with Italian jewelry maker Bvlgari, adaptive cruise control, Magnetic Ride Control, 18-inch wheels on Michelin ZP Extended Mobility (run flat) tires, Stabilitrak stability control system, heated and cooled leather seats, DVD navigation, and keyless access with pushbutton start are all part of the package. Also standard is a power-operated retractable hardtop; at the press of a button, the aluminum and magnesium roof folds into the trunk area, allowing the sun to shine in. A 7-inch color touch screen allows DVD navigation and DVD viewing (in Park only) as part of the nine-speaker Bose audio system with 6-CD in-dash changer and XM Satellite Radio.
A new model, XLR-V, moves Cadillac into both the performance and the pricing stratosphere: The 4.4L, supercharged Northstar V-8, which makes 449 hp, is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, which together can propel you to 60 mph in well under five seconds. Base price: precisely $100,000. Visual cues include a subtly bulged hood, polished stainless exhaust tips, V-series badging, signature mesh upper and lower grilles, and 10-spoke, 19-inch aluminum wheels on Pirelli run-flat tires. Suspension refinements include larger brakes with the V-series logo machined into the calipers, recalibrated Magnetic Ride Control for more aggressive cornering, larger front and rear stabilizer bars, and a power steering cooler.
The Cadillac XLR is part of the Midsize Premium Sporty segment. Extreme performance, comfort, and high style are all part of the program, as models in this segment are often considered "halo" vehicles for their respective manufacturers.
The Chevrolet Corvette is the leader in this category, selling more than three times as many vehicles (32,489 units in calendar year 2005) as its next closest competitor, the Porsche 911 (10,107 units in 2005), according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report.SM Nipping at the 911's heels is the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (10,080). Rounding out the field are the Lexus SC Series, XLR (3,730), Dodge Viper, and Maserati coupe/Spyder.