Full 2007 Cadillac XLR Review
What's New for 2007
Other than the debut of a six-speed automatic transmission, a pair of color-themed special editions (Passion Red and Platinum) and the extension of the powertrain warranty to five years/100,000 miles, the Cadillac XLR rolls into 2007 essentially unchanged.
Yet another entry by Cadillac to show the world that it is serious about competing with the top European luxury brands, the 2007 Cadillac XLR roadster is stylish, loaded with luxury features and more than fast enough for most folks. Though based on the platform used for the current Corvette, the XLR is not a simple case of badge engineering. The Caddy is tuned to be more of a GT than a hard-edged sports car.
For example, rather than the Vette's 6.0-liter, 400-horsepower V8, the XLR uses a 4.6-liter, 320-hp V8. The use of lightweight components (such as aluminum suspension pieces and composite body panels) keeps the XLR from being a pudgy two-seater. Magnetic Ride Control, an adaptive suspension system that instantly firms up or softens the suspension based on driving conditions, is standard. Aggressive, angular styling and a cockpit accented with warm eucalyptus wood accents give the XLR the appropriate upscale presence, while a retractable hardtop roof allows the comfort and security of a coupe when the top is raised.
As impressive as it is, however, the 2007 Cadillac XLR is not quite the world standard just yet. Though its distinct styling and Cadillac badge will hold some appeal for those looking to roll up to the country club valet in something different from the status quo, the XLR comes up a little short in terms of maximum performance and interior luxury trimmings when compared to cars like the Mercedes-Benz SL500 and BMW 650i. But if those qualities aren't top priority for you, or you're not overly enamored with the Lexus SC 430 or new Jaguar XK, this Cadillac roadster is certainly worth a look.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Cadillac XLR is a two-seat luxury roadster that features a retractable hardtop. For '07, Cadillac is offering it in base, Passion Red Limited Edition and Platinum Edition trim levels. The base XLR comes with most of the luxury features you'd ever want, including 18-inch alloy wheels with run-flat tires, adaptive xenon HID headlights, eight-way power and heated leather seats, Bose audio (with satellite radio and a CD changer), OnStar telematics, a navigation system, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and starting, adaptive cruise control and a head-up display. Opt for the Passion Red Limited Edition XLR, and in addition to a bright red paint job, your roadster will come with chrome wheels, a chrome grille and an individually numbered plaque that identifies its birth order in the 200-unit production run. Available with either Liquid Amethyst or Raven Black paint, the XLR Platinum Edition adds a bit more kit, including unique 15-spoke wheels, different wood and metal cabin accents, special door sill plates and "Platinum" exterior badging.
Powertrains and Performance
A muscular yet refined 4.6-liter V8 powers the XLR. A six-speed automatic (that allows manual-style shifting) sends the V8's 320 hp and 310 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. The XLR is a spirited performer, as the 0-60-mph dash takes less than 6 seconds, while high-speed running on the highway is hushed and effortless. Full-throttle shifts result in little hesitation, and the sound of the engine at full song is as good as or better than any V8 in its class. Braking performance is equally impressive, with a stop from 60 mph taking just 118 feet, and with no fade evident after successive panic stops.
Antilock disc brakes, run-flat tires, a tire-pressure monitor and stability control are all standard, as are side airbags that offer head as well as thorax protection. Rear parking sensors are also included.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2007 Cadillac XLR boasts an upscale cabin complete with eucalyptus wood trim and aluminum accents in addition to leather seating. Clean-looking but certainly not bland, the XLR's interior is modern and warm. State-of-the-art technologies abound: A head-up display shows information (such as speed, fuel level and audio status) on the windshield, while "adaptive" cruise control automatically keeps a preset distance between the XLR and the car in front of it. The touchscreen, mounted high in the center stack and boasting large displays, helps keep the dash uncluttered by eliminating the need for numerous single-use buttons. Fit and finish is excellent, save for a few pieces of metallic trim that seem snapped on, rather than cleanly integrated. The XLR's power-operated top can go from closed to open (and vice versa) in about 30 seconds.
As fast as the XLR is when pushed, those expecting a Corvette in Cadillac's clothing will be disappointed. Acceleration, though certainly quick, is not as forceful as the Corvette's, and the XLR's soft suspension tuning results in noticeable body roll during hard cornering and plenty of nose dive under heavy braking. The Magnetic Ride Control shocks are standard equipment, but even with their split-second adjustability, the XLR still feels less willing to tackle the turns than the more athletic Mercedes SL. On less serpentine roads, the XLR roadster hits its stride, delivering an undisturbed ride with effortless, arrow-straight tracking afforded by the precise steering. At highway speeds, wind buffeting is somewhat intrusive with the top down, but not so much that it detracts from the XLR's otherwise exemplary all-around performance.