There are a few lucky car shoppers out there who can afford the very best the automotive world has to offer. For those hoping to go really fast and be coddled while doing it, Cadillac created the XLR-V convertible. The V at the end of the car's moniker indicates that it's a performance variant of Cadillac's XLR, but it could easily stand for viciously quick and very luxurious.
2008 Cadillac XLR-V Base Convertible
Viciously quick comes courtesy of this Cadillac's supercharged V8, which will send you hurtling from zero to 60 in less than 5 seconds. You won't find any assembly lines at the Wixom, Michigan, facility in which the high-performance engine is made. Taking a cue from European ultraluxury manufacturers, Cadillac has given each V8 a personal touch, with each being built from start to finish by a single craftsman. Very luxurious is the end result of the wealth of standard features offered by the Cadillac XLR-V roadster. Satellite radio, keyless ignition and a voice-activated navigation system are all part of the lineup.
The XLR-V's features list brims with opulence, but unfortunately, the same can't be said for its cabin. Abundant wood and metallic accents are a good start, but aesthetics ultimately miss the mark, thanks to generic-looking switchgear and unspectacular leather. For a car that costs about $100K, this is a profound disappointment. Cabin dimensions in this convertible are also tight, resulting in a cramped environment for taller drivers. Another shortcoming is the car's lack of cargo room.
It should also be said that while the Cadillac XLR-V offers a memorable and engaging ride, you'll find more refined driving dynamics in its European competition. Still, for those seeking a less common American alternative, this singular Caddy could prove to be a pleasing choice.
Current Cadillac XLR-V
Designed to facilitate wind-tousled tresses and sun-kissed cheeks, the Cadillac XLR-V is available only as a two-seat convertible with a retractable hardtop. Aside from its high-performance innards, this V is distinguished from its less spirited sibling by virtue of styling cues like a unique front grille and a sculpted hood designed to accommodate the V8's supercharger.
Only one trim is available, but -- as befits the car's nearly six-figure price tag -- it's fully loaded. Perks like Bluetooth phone connectivity, heated leather seats and adaptive cruise control (which automatically maintains a preset distance between the roadster and the car ahead of it) are all standard. The XLR-V's power-retractable hardtop can go from closed to open (and vice-versa) in about 30 seconds.
Pop this Caddy's rather menacing hood and you'll find a supercharged 4.4-liter V8 with the goods to kick out 443 horsepower and 414 pound-feet of torque. A broad torque band keeps this might readily accessible; the engine is able to deliver 90 percent of peak torque between 2,200 and 6,000 rpm. A six-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift capability directs power to the rear wheels.
The Cadillac XLR-V's cabin is attractive, but attractive simply isn't good enough for a car in this price range. Aluminum accents add a nice gleam to the steering wheel and instrument panel, and there are pleasing amounts of burnished exotic wood in evidence -- you'll find it on the shifter knob, steering wheel and parts of the door and center console. But compared to what's available from other cars populating this rarefied bracket, the overall look and feel of the Cadillac's interior is a little disappointing. There's also not a whole lot of room available. The vertically gifted will find getting comfortable in the driver seat a challenge, and tight cargo room limits versatility.
Once settled, however, drivers will find themselves swept away on a wave of raw power. The car is responsive and quick, eager to leap to attention at the slightest tap of the throttle. Its Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension (which automatically adjusts the suspension to reflect driving conditions) is tuned to be sportier than that of the XLR, but thanks to careful attention paid to handling dynamics, the car's ride is never abusive. The only real detracting attribute is the car's steering, which we have found to be overly heavy.