Car design is a tricky thing. Go off the deep end and you’ll end up with cubist art on wheels. Style too conservatively and you risk penning a car that looks antiquated at its debut. It’s a delicate balance.
The Cadillac XLR landed somewhere in that mix. While some loathe the design and interior materials, others embrace its aggressive hard-cut lines. We’d like to think there are a few cars of its day that have fared much, much worse over the past decade. Interested? This slick 2005 XLR is up for sale on eBay.
Cadillac had a mission in the early 2000s: prove its “standard of the world” pedigree with an all-new flagship model. The XLR was it; however it wasn’t exactly all-new. Cadillac knicked the Y-body platform from underneath the C5 Chevrolet Corvette and crafted the XLR’s angular body around it.
It would be wrong to call it a simple cut-and-paste job because the XLR had some unique features and a panache all its own.
In line with its luxury appeal, the XLR adopted a power-retractable rooftop, 18-inch alloy wheels, a techy touch-screen infotainment system, and adaptive cruise control.
GM’s new Magnetic Ride Control also found a home underneath, allowing the Cadillac to smooth out road ripples. Consequently, turn-in and road-holding weren’t what you’d call “Corvette tight” though.
Cadillac replaced the Corvette’s racy V8 with a more demure 4.6-liter Northstar V8. As a result, the XLR wrangled up 320 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, much less than the contemporary Corvette’s 400 horsepower figures.
Thrill seekers would have to wait for the hot-hot 443 horsepower XLR-V for that much get-up-and-go from a Cadillac roadster.
Sure, it’s not one of the top 10 GM vehicles of all time, perhaps it doesn’t even crack the top 50. But there’s something special about the XLR, and of all the mid-2000s vehicles to bear the Cadillac crest. We’d take this one first … or an XLR-V.