(from Cadillac Press Release) Replete
with a dynamic design, advanced technology and a unique blend of luxury
and performance, the Cadillac XLR brings a striking new presence to the
elite luxury roadster class. The vehicle underscores its vibrant visual
statement with a performance-oriented chassis and structure, and an
all-new 4.6L Northstar V-8 VVT (variable valve timing) rear-wheel-drive
engine. This combination makes it the lightest, most powerful vehicle in
"XLR is a luxury roadster with performance car roots," said Jay
Spenchian, XLR marketing director. "Beneath its stunning exterior style,
XLR has a patented performance car architecture that is ideal for a
roadster and serves as a strong foundation for a car designed for great
agility and bona fide luxury."
Under its skin, the XLR offers a harmonious blend of technologies and
materials meant to add pleasure, not complexity, to the driving
experience. Innovative features include a head-up display, adaptive
cruise control, Magnetic Ride Control, StabiliTrak, heated and cooled
seats, keyless access with push-button start and DVD navigation and
entertainment. XLR appears at dealerships in summer 2003.
The XLR is a contemporary expression of
Cadillac's heritage of landmark design and advanced technology. Inspired
by stealth fighter design, XLR takes the ongoing product-driven
resurgence of Cadillac - led by the Escalade SUV and CTS sedan - to an
entirely new level.
Bold and edgy, yet elegant and refined, the XLR's linear, crisp design
creates a dramatic presence and modern icon for luxury and performance.
Yet it still pays tribute to the marque's rich history. The XLR's strong
grille, for example, harkens back to Cadillac's heritage but expresses
itself in a new way. The vertical headlamps, on the other hand, express
the division's current design philosophy.
The XLR offers the ultimate convenience of a retractable hard top.
Compared to soft-top convertibles, a retractable hardtop is quieter with
the top up, more secure and more visually pleasing. Car Top Systems
(CTS) GmbH of Germany, the renowned designer of many of the world's
top-rated convertibles, developed the XLR top. By pushing and holding a
single button, the XLR can convert from coupe to open roadster in less
than 30 seconds.
The top assembly for the XLR is installed as a complete module, and
contributes to the car's overall structural rigidity. The top structure
is made of aluminum and magnesium with composite exterior panels, a
heated glass backlight and glass rear-quarter windows.
The XLR's interior design epitomizes contemporary luxury. Unique
eucalyptus wood and striking aluminum accents combine to provide a
luxurious and inviting environment. The gauges are designed in
conjunction with Italian luxury brand Bvlgari.
The XLR's Northstar V-8 VVT is a
90-degree, DOHC, four-valves-per-cylinder engine featuring an aluminum
block and cylinder heads, and a valvetrain configuration with roller
finger followers. The engine has been extensively re-engineered for the
luxury roadster, and it marks the Northstar's first adaptation to
rear-wheel-drive (RWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) configurations.
Other Northstar firsts on the XLR include four-cam continuously variable
valve timing (VVT); electronically controlled, hydraulically actuated
intake and exhaust cam phasers on all four camshafts for extra control;
electronic throttle control (ETC); low restriction intake and exhaust
manifolds and cylinder head ports; close coupled catalytic converters
mounted directly adjacent to the exhaust manifolds; and a new air
induction system, redesigned for enhanced capacity and noise
attenuation. It also has a more powerful engine control module (ECM) and
high-speed local area network (LAN) communication system dedicated to
engine and transmission control, a new engine-mounting system and more
rigid block structure for outstanding operating smoothness and
The V-8 offers smooth, refined performance throughout its entire
operating range. It is quiet, yet tuned to give the driver feedback from
the environment. It operates even more cleanly and efficiently than its
predecessors, with excellent reliability and durability. The XLR
features the first longitudinal application of the 4.6L Northstar V-8.
The V-8 is mated to the Hydra-Matic 5L50-E five-speed automatic
transmission. Developed to manage the high torque and horsepower of the
engine, it is one of the most technologically advanced transmissions on
any highway or autobahn in the industry. The 5L50-E transmission is a
modification of the Hydra-Matic 5L40-E transmission used in Cadillac
CTS. It offers three performance features normally found individually on
various high-performance American and European luxury sport sedans:
driver shift control, performance algorithm shifting and performance
Another advantage of Cadillac's roadster not shared by the competition
is its rear-mounted transmission. This helps give the XLR a virtual
50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution for superior balance, as well as
providing occupants unusually roomy footwell space.
Compared to the Mercedes-Benz SL500, Jaguar XK8 and Lexus SC430, the XLR
is not only the lightest vehicle at approximately 3,650 pounds (1,656
kg), but it also boasts the longest wheelbase, widest track, lowest
height and most horsepower.
The story starts with the XLR's backbone,
upon which the car's dynamic capabilities depend. Based on GM's new
performance car architecture, this unique and patented structure
comprises steel hydroformed perimeter frame rails, enclosed structural
"tunnel," aluminum cockpit structure and balsa-cored composite floors.
Providing rigidity without bulk, and with exceptional resistance to
torsional and bending forces, this architecture is the basis for the
XLR's outstanding ride and handling characteristics.
The suspension system makes the XLR a true luxury roadster with the
handling qualities of a performance car. To this end, the design uses
double wishbones at each corner, combined with transverse-mounted,
composite leaf springs front and rear. The system is designed to
maintain firm control over wheel motion, while delivering a composed and
compliant ride quality. During normal driving, the chassis exhibits
comfortable and confident handling characteristics; when pushed harder,
the car remains stable and secure with outstanding road holding. The XLR
achieves a maximum lateral G-force of more than 0.9. The XLR runs on
Michelin ZP tires with advanced "run flat" technology that eliminates
the need for a spare and provides outstanding overall tire performance.
Magnetic Ride Control
The XLR also is one of the world's first
vehicles to be equipped with Magnetic Ride Control - electronically
controlled, magnetic-fluid based real-time damping. The system uses four
wheel-to-body displacement sensors to measure wheel motion over the road
surface and responds by adjusting the shock damping at speeds
approaching one millisecond. That's five times faster than previous
"real time" damping systems. The secret is the magneto-rheological fluid
contained in its dampers, replacing traditional mechanical valves.
Suspended in this fluid are tiny iron particles that respond to an
In the presence of a charge, the iron particles align themselves into
fibrous structures that almost instantaneously create precise and
wide-ranging damping characteristics. With sensors reading the road
surface at a rate of 1 inch at 60 mph (25.4 mm at 97 km/h), the system
responds by commanding constant changes in damping force at all four
corners. The goal is to maintain tire contact with the road surface and
to keep the body on an even plane, with smooth, well-controlled body
motions even during aggressive maneuvers or on uneven road surfaces.
Adaptive Cruise Control
The XLR will be among the first vehicles
with adaptive cruise control (ACC). While not a substitute for full
driver attention, this system greatly expands the convenience of cruise
control. ACC uses a radar sensor mounted at the front of the car to
detect objects in its path. If the lane ahead is clear, the system will
maintain the set speed, just like conventional cruise control. When a
vehicle is detected in the same lane in front of the car, the system
will adjust vehicle speed to help maintain a constant following
distance, set by the driver.
If a vehicle or object in the path of the car is stationary or moving at
significantly slower speed, the system provides visible and audible
alerts to the driver. ACC is set by a conventional stalk-mounted control
but is monitored through a graphic representation in the head-up
Comfort and Convenience
One of the XLR's foremost convenience
features is Keyless Access. Keyless Access makes XLR a truly "keyless"
car. A driver can simply keep the fob in a pocket or purse to operate
the doors, trunk and ignition. The fob communicates with the XLR's
computer control system via radio antennas under the car's bodywork. The
system is intuitive and hassle free.
The doors are opened by touching a pad located in openings at the
rearward edges of each door. Once the pad is pressed, the doors unlock
and open if the fob is within a 1-meter radius. To operate the ignition
the driver presses a button on the instrument panel. The same button is
pressed to stop the engine. As a safety feature the engine will not
start unless the fob is in the car and the brake pedal is depressed.
The XLR's seats are both heated and cooled in the back and the cushion.
A 7-inch color touch screen mounted in the upper center console gives
driver and passenger access to DVD navigation; a nine-speaker
world-class Bose audio system with a six-CD in-dash changer and digital
signal processing modes; XM Satellite Radio (continental U.S. only) and
DVD entertainment (available in Park position only). The XLR also is
equipped with OnStar and a head-up display that projects key driver
information onto the windshield.
The XLR traces its roots to the Evoq concept car. Cadillac stunned the
automotive world with the audacious Evoq, unveiled at the 1999 North
American International Auto Show. The XLR began production in spring
2003 on a dedicated assembly line at General Motors' Bowling Green
Assembly Plant in Bowling Green, Ky. Shipments to Cadillac dealers are
slated to begin by mid-year 2003.