The Cadillac XLR is a front-engine, rear-drive, two passenger roadster manufactured and marketed by from 2003 to 2009 across a single generation. As Cadillac's flagship model, the XLR was introduced at the 2003 Detroit Motor Show and began production with model year 2004 — foreshadowed by the 1999 Evoq concept.
Sharing the GM Y platform and manufactured alongside the Chevrolet Corvette in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the two cars also share hydroformed perimeter frame and composite bodywork construction — though each have unique exterior and interior styling, suspension settings and engine. The XLR and was the first production Cadillac with radar-based adaptive cruise control (ACC) and the first to offer both heated and cooled seats.
The Cadillac XLR was marketed as a luxury roadster and offered numerous features either as standard equipment or as options, including a touchscreen GPS navigation radio with an AM/FM radio, CD changer, XM Satellite Radio, full voice control, and a full Bose premium amplified audio system, adaptive cruise control, Bulgari-branded instrument panel cluster, OnStar, High Intensity Discharge (HID) front headlamps, perforated luxury leather-trimmed seating surfaces with power-adjustable, heated and cooled bucket seats with a driver's memory system, luxury carpeted floor mats with embroidered 'XLR' logos, premium aluminum-alloy wheels, and wood interior trim.
The XLR's featured adaptive suspension with magneto-rheological shock absorber fluid for enhanced ride control. The system uses four wheel-to-body displacement sensors to measure wheel motion over the road surface and responds by adjusting the shock damping almost instantly. The shock absorbers are filled with a fluid that contains suspended iron particles that respond to magnetic signals. The system responds by constantly monitoring motion and changing the damping forces at all four corners of the vehicle — to modulate body motion during aggressive maneuvers or on uneven road surfaces.
Where Chevrolet Corvette (C6) was powered by a 6.0L LS2 V8 engine and offered a six-speed manual transmission, the XLR featured Cadillac's 4.6L Northstar V8 (supercharged in the XLR-V) and either a five-speed 5L50 automatic transmission, or a six-speed 6L80 automatic transmission. Optional XLR equipment included polished aluminum-alloy wheels, exterior and interior color options, and different interior trim options.
The XLR featured a silver-painted upper "Egg Crate" (XLR) or chrome wire mesh (XLR-V) front grille, angular front High Intensity Discharge (HID) front head lamps, vertical rear tail lamps, and chrome exterior details. Inside, the XLR featured wood interior trim in addition to the C6 Corvette's aluminum trim, and different seats.
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