2008 Cadillac XLR-V Convertible Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Cadillac XLR-V Convertible

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Cadillac XLR-V Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.4 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 443 hp @ 6400 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 14/21 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Cadillac XLR-V

  • Fast, stylish and full of features, the 2008 Cadillac XLR-V makes an interesting alternative to European-brand luxury roadsters. Just be aware that many competitors are more refined and involving to drive.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Powerful V8, head-turning styling, retractable hardtop convenience, almost all of the vehicle's features come standard.

  • Cons

    Cramped cockpit for taller drivers, steering lacks feedback, middling interior quality unsuited to six-figure price.

  • What's New for 2008

    For 2008, the Cadillac XLR-V adds a standard heated steering wheel and a new Alpine White Edition option package.

Full 2008 Cadillac XLR-V Review

What's New for 2008

For 2008, the Cadillac XLR-V adds a standard heated steering wheel and a new Alpine White Edition option package.


Cadillac's efforts to re-establish itself among the world's best automakers have met with encouraging results. Recent years have seen a return to rear-wheel drive and, as a result, two solid-performing sport sedans, a surprisingly athletic crossover SUV and the image-building XLR roadster. However, Cadillac decided its intent to compete with the top European brands would only be clear if it built a wickedly fast version of its highest offering -- one with blistering performance, head-turning looks and maybe a six-figure price to match. Enter the Cadillac XLR-V.

As in Cadillac's other V-series offerings, the "V" in 2008 Cadillac XLR-V signals a generous helping of velocity-biased hardware. Under the hood sits a hand-built 4.4-liter V8 that's been supercharged to the tune of 443 horsepower. It's complemented by firmer suspension tuning and upgraded brakes. Visual cues like 19-inch wheels, a mesh grille and quad exhaust tips clearly signal that this is no ordinary XLR.

For the most part, the Corvette-based XLR-V delivers on its performance promises. Its acceleration will leave several luxury roadsters behind, and the roadster's angular shape still looks distinctive. However, some aspects of the drive leave us cold, such as the vague steering and handling that, while impressive, fails to measure up to the extraordinarily high standards of this class. We also have mixed feelings about the XLR-V's interior. Some materials are appropriately rich, yet others seem quite average, and the cockpit doesn't fit drivers of all heights.

Competition in this class includes such accomplished roadsters as the Mercedes SL-Class, Porsche 911 Cabriolet and Jaguar XKR, as well as the four-seat BMW M6 convertible. Of these, the Porsche offers the most visceral drive; the Mercedes, the best combination of luxury, style and performance, specifically in AMG form. The 2008 Cadillac XLR-V is an interesting domestic alternative and may even turn more heads than the other cars, but if it were our 100 grand, we'd take the Porsche or the Benz.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Cadillac XLR-V is a two-seat luxury roadster. Its retractable hardtop turns the body from a closed coupe to wide-open convertible in under 30 seconds. Nearly every imaginable luxury feature comes standard, including a nine-speaker Bose stereo (with satellite radio), OnStar telematics, a navigation system, keyless start, xenon headlights, adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel with power tilt and telescope adjustments, a head-up display and rear park assist.

In fact, the XLR-V's comprehensive equipment list leaves room for only a pair of options: the Alpine White Edition (which features its namesake's exterior hue along with chrome wheels) and chrome wheels. Just like the standard wheels, the chrome versions are 19 inches in diameter and are wrapped in 235/45 front rubber and wider 255/40 rear treads. All XLR-Vs have leather and suede upholstery and real wood interior accents.

Powertrains and Performance

A supercharged 4.4-liter V8 sends 443 hp and 414 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. Power is channeled through a six-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift capability. Cadillac claims the XLR-V can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, which would put it more than a full second ahead of the standard XLR.


Antilock disc brakes, traction control and stability control are all standard. As in all convertibles of this ilk, the XLR-V's side airbags inflate to protect both the head and torso.

Interior Design and Special Features

The cockpit of the XLR-V offers much to like. Its design is mostly simple even with all the state-of-the-art technology. Furthermore, the leather is supple, the wood convincing and build quality solid. However, we find the XLR-V's cockpit less appealing in light of the car's price. The switchgear lacks aesthetic appeal, and some trim pieces have a tacked-on appearance. As in many cars of GM origin, too many functions have been crammed onto the turn-signal stalk. In addition, the steering wheel's a bit large for our tastes, and the limited rearward seat travel may cramp taller drivers.

Driving Impressions

With a jump of 123 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque over the standard XLR, the 2008 Cadillac XLR-V is vastly more responsive. Push on the right pedal and the XLR-V catapults forth on a wave of supercharged torque. Even with its firmer suspension setup, though, the XLR-V is still tuned for a balanced approach between ride and handling, which means it's softer than many rivals. This attribute, combined with a rather heavy and numb steering setup, makes this performance roadster feel a little out of its element on winding roads.

However, in normal driving, the XLR-V feels swift and stable. Cowl shake is nearly nonexistent, and the V8 sounds terrific. Wind buffeting can get somewhat intrusive with the top down, but the XLR-V is whisper-quiet with its top up.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Fun beyond belief!!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Cadillac XLR-V 2dr Convertible (4.4L 8cyl S/C 6A)

So far this car has been a dream to own. It is incredibly responsive and handles like a jag roadster but better. I have had it on two road trips and is an absolute joy to drive as well as ride ride as a passenger. While it has a six speed "automatic transmission", my only regret is that I do wish it was a manual transmission. My wife will take it out and put it through its paces and she would not want it to be a manual transmission.One other minor thing is that it does not have a factory installed connection to plug my I-Pod into the sound system. I would recommend this car to anyone!


by on
Vehicle: 2008 Cadillac XLR-V 2dr Convertible (4.4L 8cyl S/C 6A)

I tend to drive a car hard. This beauty can take it. The curves and laps disappear while admiring glances stand back and peer. I can't take this car out without some one having something glowing to say about it. It is a real looker. From LA to San Francisco the ride was smooth and easy. I arrived fresh as a daisy and ready to party at the wedding I was attending. Waking up to a flat tire bummed me out, until I realized it could drive 300 miles on the run-flats it came with. So I went to breakfast as planned . Later with the assistance of On-star I casually sought out a tire repair store. Goodyear did the trick, and I was on my way. The joys and goodies are too many to name.

So far, so awesome

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Cadillac XLR-V 2dr Convertible (4.4L 8cyl S/C 6A)

I've driven a lot of different high end and sports cars, so when it came time to step it up to the 6-figure market, I had a lot to choose from. I chose the xlr-v for the styling, the acceleration, the hard top, the fact that all the options are included at base price (unlike the M6 or the SL550) and that it had a much more attractive and distinctive exterior body style than most cars in its class. I have driven this car almost every day (despite having 4 other cars at home to choose from), and I have yet to be disappointed. This car is fast, comfy, technologically sophisticated, and it's a head-turner.

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Gas Mileage


  • 14
  • cty
  • 21
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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