In the UK Cadillac is synonymous with luxury saloon cars much the way as Rolls Royce and Mercedes Benz, although Cadillac's are a rarity in the UK. Less well known however is reference to the Cadillac sports car. This is a shame because Cadillac now produces sport cars that can capture the imagination. The Cadillac XLR two-door is just such an example, but there are others in the Cadillac sports car range due for launch in the US in 2006 that would undoubtedly cause ripples in the sports car market were they ever to reach UK shores. Cadillac refers to these super quick machines as part of their V range, the most powerful being the STS-V which comes equipped with a 4.4 litre V8 that pumps out a massive 469 horsepower.
If Cadillac ever wished to take their sales to the UK market seriously they could do no better than make their name as a manufacturer of luxury sports machines. A Cadillac sports car such as the XLR-two door, which by the way in V form will be equipped with a 4.4 litre V8 producing 443 horsepower, more than 100 horsepower more than the standard model, is likely to prove so devastatingly quick that it may well entice buyers out of the more regular European competitors driving seats. In addition Cadillac Sports cars do not only go incredibly quick in a straight-line, they can also corner extremely well. Add the luxury that Cadillacs pamper their customers with and you have a winner.
Appearance & Performance
The Cadillac XLR two door possesses a chiselled appearance whereby the body sweeps upwards at the rear end. A large grille seems statutory for todays modern cars as they tend to offer more of a road presence than more diminutive grilles. The Cadillac looks smart with the hood up or down, while the coachwork appears extremely good.
This Cadillac sports car is powered by a 4.6 litre V8 churning out 326bhp through a five-speed automatic gearbox that pushes power through the rear wheels. There's sufficient grunt for the XLR to achieve a 0-60 below 6 seconds, and to top out at 155 mph. The automatic transmission ensures that performance never feels dramatic, although there's oodles of low end torque to handle the long gearing.
Sports handling is catered for by modern technology which provides the XLR with huge amounts of grip no matter what the weather might be doing. If any motor manufacturer is proving that modern technology can help reduce the chances of a driver losing control then Cadillac is it. The Cadillac XLR two-door possesses a sophisticated suspension system with a four wheel independent double-wishbone and transversely mounted composite leaf springs. While an All-Speed Traction Control has been integrated with the anti-lock braking system. There are also a Magnetic Ride Control Stability System and a Magnetically Controlled Speed Sensitive Steering System.
At this point you might be asking whether the XLR drives itself? That might be the future plan, however as a sports machine it definitely makes the grade. The body is very stiff which allows for little roll in corners, and thanks to the accuracy of the steering, fast cornering should never present anyone with a problem.
V8s generally sound like they mean business even when they're ticking over in the car park. The Cadillac XLR two-door has an engine that is no exception. If you enjoy the music V8s create you will love this car. But do not imagine that the V8 burble ever becomes intrusive, it doesn't, it's just a pleasant comfort. As you would expect from an American car, transmission changes are seamless. With the hood up you have to raise your voice to talk above 75 mph, forget conversation altogether with the hood down at that speed, in addition no wind blockers are present to prevent gusts blasting around your ears. Tyre roar is also noticeable.
American cars are built to cover long distances in a wide-ranging country, and the Cadillac is a luxury vehicle that would not disappoint even the most dubious critic. The cabin of the Cadillac XLR two-door is equipped with genuine wood and aluminium, while leather and good quality, durable cloth complete the picture.
On the mechanical side the V8 and automatic transmission have both proved very reliable, so reliability issues should never be a concern.
The Cadillac is equipped with a metal folding roof that tucks away utilising much of the boot space. Although even without the metal roof down boot space is at a premium. Oddly there is also no spare wheel.
With so much going for it you need to brace yourself for the bad news. The UK market is only receiving left hand drive cars, which won't win the Cadillac many new friends. In addition at £67,500 it is expensive and competing head on with right hand drive versions of strong competitors. However, even if those issues do not dissuade potential customers from buying a Cadillac sports car the fact that Cadillac does not yet offer a sales or servicing network in the UK might well do. If you are enthusiastic about owning one of these luxury power houses then you will have to turn to somewhere else in Europe to both buy and maintain it.