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Not Your Grandfather's Cadillac
2004 Cadillac XLR
By Alain Gayot

In short: The car you want to keep on driving.

Well, it's time to fasten your seatbelt for this one. There are not enough good things we can say about this automobile. Sure, a few of you will find things to say. Cadillac, which has always been associated with luxury, is now on a campaign to inject some serious sports components into the equation. Let's focus on the XLR for now.

It might not be the best representation in ultimate luxury but we tend to like the clutter-free cockpit, love the head-up display and appreciate the navigation system. Those in Detroit in January will want to keep the hard top on, but Californians and Floridians will probably never have the top up—except on a rainy day.

Electronics abound from the keyless [door and ignition] approach, to the door opening mechanism to the suspension. And while we are on that topic, we are very impressed by the Magnetic Ride Control, which instantly provides a response to road conditions. Couple that with a StabiliTrak stability control system, performance run-flat tires, rear mounted transmission and speed-adapting steering and you'd be hard-pressed to get out of control. In fact it became a game to try to slide the car: we lost.

The car is built on a performance foundation (Corvette-like) on a dedicated assembly line with a deep attention to details. It offers the lightest weight, longest wheel base, widest rack and the most horsepower in its class.

Space is a bit limited and for a big daddy it might take a bit of getting used to. Also you probably will have to leave the golf clubs behind and any suitcase you were planning on taking for the weekend getaway. But it would the perfect Father's Day gift or let's put it this way: everyday driving the XLR would be Father's Day. Line up your piggy banks, as earthbound rockets do not come cheap.

Warranty/Service: Four-year/50,000 mile limited warranty.

Base Price: $75,385 / As tested: $75,385

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door hardtop convertible

Engine: 4.6-liter V8
Horsepower: 320 bhp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 310 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic

Curb weight: 3,647lbs
Wheelbase: 105.7 in
177.7/72.3/50.4 in
Turning circle: 39.0 feet

Brakes: four-wheel disc with ABS

Suspension: independent front and rear
traction control, vehicle stability control

front air bags, side air bags, rear parking assist

0-60 mph: 5.9 seconds
Top Speed: 125 mph (governed)

EPA City: 17 mpg
EPA Highway: 25 mpg

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Cadillac showcased in New York's Times Square

(Updated: 01/20/10 AR)

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