Cadillac XLR R.I.P.

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
cadillac xlr r i p

Terminating Caddy’s XLR SL fighter is a no brainer. The brand shifted just 83 of the two-door drop-tops in September (vs. 111 last year), bringing the year’s total to… 1039. While that’s only 4961 units away from Caddy’s annual sales goal for it’s over-priced, under-developed sports car, Left Lane News (LLN) quotes “inside sources” who say the model will be killed off “in a few year’s time.” The XLR is based on the ‘Vette, due for a 2012 re-do. “Not long ago, we flatly asked GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, ‘when the new C7 Corvette arrives, will the Cadillac XLR be along for the ride?’ ‘That is way too specific,” said Lutz.” Yeah, lay off, will you?

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  • Serpico Serpico on Oct 03, 2008

    The XLR was only bought by young drug dealers in my neck of the woods. Who would pay over $100K CAD for this garbage.

  • Phil Ressler Phil Ressler on Oct 03, 2008
    The XLR was only bought by young drug dealers in my neck of the woods. Who would pay over $100K CAD for this garbage. Me. 54, MWM, educated business professional. Sounds like you might not have driven one. I cross-shopped everything in the category and XLR-V won on the merits. $100K US. Where I live, the drug dealers buy AMGs.... Phil

  • Phil Ressler Phil Ressler on Oct 03, 2008
    The XLR has all the grace and style of the box that the Corvette came in. At that is the problem, there is NO style to a box on wheels! A highly subjective comment. You see what you see, but the XLR bears no resemblance to a box. It uses a design aesthetic that features creases over curves. To those who appreciate it, it looks sensational, ultra-modern and distinctive. When you have a really good look at the XLR you can see that the problem for GM was trying to wrap luxury styling queues around the low slung platform of the Corvette. It did not work out very well. What Cadillac ended up with was a “door stop” with a plastic grill attached to the front. To make matter worse it appears that Cadillac was content to include an interior that didn’t even “look” as well conceived as that in the 1980s Allante in its day. The SL isn't low-slung? I far prefer the short overhangs and stout angularity of the XLR over the 90s squished curviness of the SL, for example, and its 90s Camaro-like overhangs. My grill is metal. The XLR looks like a $40,000 car not something that would cost you a good $75,000. I have yet to see a $40,000 car that has anything remotely close to XLR's emotional projection and distinctiveness. More should. In the future if GM/ Cadillac are going to make claims about competing with the SL they should understand that the customers do expect them to mean it! This is a very low volume category. Mercedes sells around 5000 SLs annually, +/- in the US. If in a seriously deflated market Cadillac sells a thousand, that's not bad for a segment in which the defining leader has had an entrenched model continuously offered for over 40 years. Every XLR owner I know actively *prefers* the XLR/XLR-V over comparable SLs or the Lexus SC. The XLR is a true alternative. It offers the segment a lighter, more sporting variant on the retracting hardtop dual seat GT than the bloated SL or the marshmallow Lexus. Cadillac's effort on this car as a first-gen elbow into the segment was serious. The product communicated they meant to be taken seriously. "Meaning it" means persisting through at least three generations of such a car to find your footing and grow from there. It takes years for a newcomer to credibly establish a model as radical as the XLR in such an intrinsically conservative market. The car is a great start. The failure here is not in the car itself -- it won thousands of customers in a market of merely thousands. The failure is in the corporation's lack of persistence to see the task through. It's not a one-model-generation task. I'll be unhappy to see the car canceled, but glad GM conceived and made such a distinctive, pleasurable vehicle. Phil

  • RRMIANO RRMIANO on Feb 19, 2010

    I have never replied to anything that I’ve read from strangers on the internet. I am currently a 50 year old chemistry and physics professor. My father and 14 uncles sacrificed several years of their youth dealing with the Germans and Japanese in an all-to-easily forgotten conflict known as World War Two! Some of these young men, my uncles, never returned. So when I hear contemptible comments comparing the XLR to German and Japanese automobiles I'm concerned that my ostensibly learned "autophillic" colleagues have become blinded and slavishly obsequious to some insignificant “baubles”, “bells” and “whistles” found on some foreign automobiles. Granted, the XLR, like every other automobile will have some minor misgivings depending on the individual pessimistic purveyor of imperfection, otherwise referred to someone with too much time on there hands. Or to use the vernacular of some of my students “they ain’t got nothing to do!” Might I submit the possibility that those obsessed opponents of Cadillac's unique attempt to produce a real "head-turner" have either never experienced the sheer elation of driving the XLR or are injudicious to the fact that such covetous comments announce to everyone the "sour-grapes" psychology characteristic of aberrant adolescent insolence. One might pettifog my juxtaposition of patriotism and automobiles, but aren't we all fortunate for the ability to buy and drive any automobile we desire...or at least afford? Just never forget the thousands of very young men who died on foreign soil in some God-forsaken fetid and festering jungle or in some frozen foxhole as they called out for their mother with their last breath! I will concede that the influx of foreign automobiles in the late 1970’s forced the American manufacturers to "wake-up" and build pride and quality into their products….a painfully slow process that continues to this day. While I am not an ardent devotee of General Motors as a perfidious, profiteering conglomerate, it just seems blasphemous to compare such a unique American automobile against indistinguishable "cookie-cutter" banausic foreign cars. I like my XLR! I especially like the bumper-to-bumper warranty. It isn’t a fast automobile. It doesn’t belong on a racetrack or drag strip. I believe that for a production road-car it performs very well. Yes it’s fun to “whip around” curves at speed, but it never crosses my mind that some other automobile is capable of pulling 0.2 more “g’s” around the same curve. I teach physics. I’m certain I could install an accelerometer to measure straight line and lateral acceleration or deceleration….maybe I’ll get bored one day. And yes, there should be proximity sensors for parking in the front of the automobile. It just seemed like a “no-brainer” to at least allow the cruise control “GAP” sensors to engage under 5mph. Another thing that amuses and humbles me is watching the mechanical choreography of the hardtop as it operates. Maybe I’m just simple-minded but I’d be very interested to know the story of it’s conceptual engineering, development and the individuals responsible for the reasons why it operates in that specific manner. Although I desperately desired the XLR-V, I would have felt like a fool to pay an additional $20,000 for a mere 123 extra horsepower. Also, the 19” tires for the XLR-V literally cost twice as much as the 18” tires on the XLR. I would certainly rather have seen the XLR available with a computer-controlled version of the all aluminum ZL1 power plant from the 50, 1969 COPO Camaros built. Perhaps that 750hp optional “beast” of an engine from the Corvette would have interested a few more customers. I know I’ll never live to see an American automobile with a V-12! If I do live to see this fantasy come to fruition, the shock would kill me anyway. Then again, I do enjoy the 23mpg average. However, once you hear the exhaust-note of a short-stroke V-12 when the chorus of acceleration resonates as the sections in the orchestra of engine, clutch and close-ratio transmission increase an octave with each short-throw of the shifter until the staccato of the twelve piston choir envelops the senses and enraptures the heart as man and machine meld and interfuse through the intangible amalgam elicits the primal response of the virtuoso to soothe the mind, body and senses as synchronize in harmony with the rhythm of the road. I own only GM automobiles not because of some convoluted loyalty. I do not own any clothing or accessories with any corporate logos. I consider it foolish to pay a company to use me as a walking advertisement. I own GM automobiles because I understand them. I have absolutely no problems with Ford and Chrysler, they build some impressive products. But my conscious will not allow me to own a foreign automobile. One might propose that I am "stuck in the past", "world war two is ancient history". Learn about this history to which I refer! It’s important! There is no way anyone can discount my historic position as it applies to the American automobile! I in no way harbor the least bit of animosity against anyone from another country, after all that’s “who” America is. But some of you folks just hit a nerve that prompted a virtual involuntary compulsion within me to compose this rather ranting and scathing, tirade. Drive the automobile you like. It just seems childish to essentially say “my car is better than yours because….” If you feel compelled to comment about a particular automobile, let it be constructive. Offer a solution. It is often a good thing to disagree about something like disappointing features of an automobile. Just use a little diplomacy. Remember that negative comments serve only to illicit defensive behavior and further disagreement from the person or party you address in a negative manner, tone or expression. It doesn’t take a mental giant to merely whine and complain. Don’t “bitch” over the internet about your disappointment in the automobiles produced. It takes a massive grass-roots movement to get a contemptuous corporation like GM to build automobiles with the quality features we desire and do away with the undesirable characteristics we abhor. But I guess it has to start somewhere. The grossly over-paid “fat-cat” GM executives are so insulated and isolated from the customer and customer feedback that it is not only inequitable and incredulous I believe it borders on criminally immoral! They drag their feet and only “react” rather than lead, just like our congressmen and senators. We could be driving some awesome automobiles. Just talking to the “average Joe” about improvements to an automobile is often insightful, especially considering how the automobile is used and the niche it serves for the individual. And the oil companies’ lobbyists not only dictate to a great extent what we drive, foreign or domestic, but “big oil” discourages, hinders, impedes, resists and obstructs the advancement in automotive technology that would give us better automobiles in every respect. Believe me! I have proof! I was a laboratory technician and chemist for years at one of the major oil companies. I know the facts concerning the impudence and insolence perpetrated by the oil companies against everyone who drives anything that uses petroleum! Don’t ever let me get started about the ethanol B.S. the oil companies are forcing us to use. Maybe a computer-controlled engine can adapt to the trash the oil companies are forcing us to use, and it will only get worse…that’s a fact! What about people who have proudly worked so hard to keep-up their muscle-car? Most of these engines WILL be beaten to death by premature detonation from the absence of the necessary tetraethyl lead these engines were designed to use. Despite all attempts to retard the ignition timing and re-jet that big, beautiful Rochester Spread-Bore or a tri-power 389 Pontiac will serve to only “neuter” all the muscle from the muscle-car and burn even more copious gallons of the crap that is available at the fuel pump. Insurance and oil companies are the “hidden-in-the-open” dictators of this country. But I’ll spare you all that drama. I really need to write a “tell-all” book about those no-good b*#?+s. Sorry ‘bout that. Hey guys, I sure do miss those 455cid big-block Buicks! Can you imagine the specific-power potential if adapted to current technology? I can only dream. Well if you’ve read this far I thank you for your time and I apologize if I p*@*# you off or bored the crap out of you. I just really love the American automobile….well at least a specific few anyway!

    • Joseph Joseph on Aug 27, 2022

      I rarely reply to anyone’s comments but after reading your entire comment, you sir, are one of the few people I would like to sit down and talk about cars and American industry with. Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time and so eloquently expressing most of nay feelings as well.