What's New for 2007
Introduced just last year, the Cadillac XLR-V hot-rod roadster is unchanged for 2007 save for the extension of the powertrain warranty to five years/100,000 miles.
Continuing its effort to take the world's most respected automakers head on, Cadillac has recently introduced "V" versions of its cars. Much like Mercedes' AMG and BMW's M models, a "V" badge on a Caddy promises ripping performance and athletic handling dynamics.
The 2007 Cadillac XLR-V is the company's entry in the hot-rod luxury roadster segment. With 443 horsepower, a retuned Magnetic Ride Control suspension and bigger brakes, the XLR-V looks great on paper. To match the XLR-V's aggressive personality, a bulging hood, mesh grille inserts, unique 19-inch wheels and quad exhaust tips are fitted. And for the most part, it delivers on the spec sheet's promises.
The heart of this ultra-high-performance version of the XLR is the supercharged 4.4-liter V8. This hand-built mill is of slightly smaller displacement than the normal XLR engine and has a stouter block and special cylinder heads. Although it's still hit with a gas-guzzler tax, the XLR-V posts fuel economy estimates of 15 mpg city, 22 mpg highway. Not bad for a car that, according to Cadillac, can rocket to 60 mph in under 5 seconds. A six-speed automatic with a manual-shift feature sends all that power to the pavement.
In the rarefied realm of the $100 grand luxury sport roadster, the XLR-V acquits itself handsomely with its combination of edgy style, strong performance and a boatload of luxury features. It's unfortunate that the interior, with its average design and cramped space for taller drivers, is a notable drawback. In this segment, there's little room for error. Overall, we think that the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, specifically the high-performance AMG version, is still the best luxury roadster available, even considering its potential price premium. Also worth consideration is BMW's M6 convertible, which offers tremendous performance and a real backseat, or the upcoming Jaguar XKR, whose styling is as curvy as the Cadillac's is angular. Finally, for those who want more than a grand touring car, the Porsche 911 Cabriolet has sharper handling reflexes than any of these cars. In summation, the 2007 Cadillac XLR-V is competing against some of the best open-top cars in the world, and while it's an interesting domestic-brand alternative to the European stars, we recommend that you consider your options carefully before spending six figures on this Cadillac.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Cadillac XLR-V is a two-seat luxury roadster with a retractable hardtop. The push of a button and 30 seconds are all it takes to transform this Caddy from closed coupe to wide-open convertible. Every luxury feature one could imagine is standard, including Bose audio (with satellite radio and CD changer), OnStar telematics, a navigation system, keyless entry and starting, xenon HID headlights, adaptive cruise control, head-up display and rear park assist. The XLR-V is so comprehensively equipped that there are no options.
Powertrains and Performance
Under the XLR-V's muscular hood is a supercharged 4.4-liter V8 that pumps out 443 hp and 414 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission that features manual-shift capability. Performance is exhilarating to say the least -- Cadillac puts the 0-60-mph time at less than 5 seconds.
Antilock disc brakes and stability control are standard, as are side airbags. The side airbags also offer head protection, a rarity in a convertible, as that protection is usually given via side curtain bags mounted in the roof.
Interior Design and Special Features
In spite of all the state-of-the-art technology aboard, the cockpit of the 2007 Cadillac XLR-V possesses a simple, elegant design. Metallic and wood accents abound. Build quality is solid, save for a few pieces of metallic trim that seem snapped on, rather than cleanly integrated. Compared to the interiors of other vehicles in this segment, however, we find the XLR-V's cockpit rather uninteresting, especially in light of the car's price. The leather upholstery is merely average in quality, and the switchgear was designed for function at the expense of aesthetics. In addition, taller drivers will also likely find themselves feeling a little cramped once seated.
Examples of that aforementioned high technology include a head-up display that projects information (such as speed, fuel level and audio status) on the windshield and adaptive cruise control that automatically keeps a preset distance between the XLR-V and the car in front of it. The multifunction touchscreen, mounted high in the center stack and boasting large displays, helps minimize dash clutter.
With a significant bump in horsepower over the regular XLR, the XLR-V is vastly more responsive. Power is everywhere on the tach and toeing the throttle is all that's required for dispatching slow-moving traffic. Push harder and the XLR-V catapults forth on a wave of supercharged torque. Possessing a sportier suspension setup than the standard XLR, the "V" version is still tuned for a balanced approach toward handling and ride. Alas, this is something that the AMG-tuned Mercedes SL roadster pulls off more successfully. The Caddy's steering is overly heavy, and combined with an extra-large steering wheel, detracts from the sporty feel of the car. At highway speeds, wind buffeting is somewhat intrusive with the top down, but not so much that it deters from the XLR-V's otherwise exemplary all-around performance.