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ART & SCIENCE

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Tue, Jan 23, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

© All photos by Harvey Schwartz

ART & SCIENCE By Harvey Schwartz

Is $100,000.00 a lot to pay for daily transportation? You bet, unless you are among the growing number of millionaires living in America. Sales of premium motor vehicles with prices stating at $100,000.00, is up 17 percent from last year. Is the new super-high-performing and very luxurious Cadillac XLR-V hard-top convertible worth it? If the sum of its parts is any indication, it is close. This new model from Cadillac can hold its own against its closest competition, the Mercedes-Benz SL AMG that costs thousands of dollars more.

The new XLR-V ultra-luxury, high-performance roadster is a landmark in Cadillac's long history, and is the quickest, most agile and most exclusive Cadillac ever offered. This supercharged XLR-V combines technology with hand craftsmanship that harkens back to Cadillac's origins as a custom luxury coach builder. The XLR-V's styling is uniquely Cadillac using their signature Art & Science architecture with vertical stacked front HID lamps and rear LED lamps, sharp creases and facets, similar to a stealth fighter, and flared fenders. Styling modifications create a bolder character in keeping with its performance capabilities, yet communicate refined elegance. These modifications include the polished wire mesh in front of the upper and lower front grilles, an aggressively sculpted hood that makes way for the supercharger, new 10-spoke aluminum wheel design with sterling silver finish, unique V-series and supercharged badges, and four, 3in. wide, polished stainless steel exhaust tips. Under the hood lies a 4.4-liter DOHC VVT 32-valve, all-alloy V8 engine that is hand assembled to exacting standards at GM's Performance Build Center in Wixom, Michigan. Each engine is built from start to finish by a single expert craftsman. This potent V8 engine puts out 443 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 414 pound-feet of torque at 3,900 rpm. The air-to-water supercharger is fitted to the top of the engine and set with 9 psi of boost. The engine's power is underscored by its ability to deliver 90 percent of its peak torque between 2,200 and 6,000rpm.

The engine is mated to one of the most technologically advanced automatic transmissions in the industry, GM's 6L80. It uses clutch-to-clutch operation and an advanced integrated 32-bit transmission controller to deliver smooth, precise shifts, automatically, or you can shift yourself, letting each gear approach redline for optimum acceleration. Its wide 6.04:1 overall ratio spread enhances performance and fuel economy. The XLR-V's double-wishbone suspension was developed and tuned on several of the world's most demanding racetracks. Chassis enhancements were in order to handle the higher levels of horsepower and torque, and they include larger, stronger brakes, recalibrated Magnetic Ride Control shock absorbers, larger front and rear stabilizer bars, stiffer lower control arm bushings, larger 19 x 9-inch wheels and Michelin high-performance tires, a power steering fluid cooler and a higher-capacity fuel pump. The aluminum intensive independent double-wishbone suspension features cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite leaf springs and a 28.6 mm hollow stabilizer bar up front. The rear features cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite leaf spring and a 23.6mm hollow stabilizer bar. The ride is always controlled utilizing this proven suspension, the same as found underpinning the C6 Chevy Corvette. It's rock steady at triple-digit speeds, and sure-footed dicing it up in the curves. The Magnasteer power-assisted rack & pinion steering system works well giving excellent feel for the road that's boosted just right for slow city traffic and parking. I feel good feedback from the road at very high speeds.

Quickly and safely slowing the XLR-V down from speed are terrific brakes. Heavy-duty, power-assisted, cross-drilled, 13.4-inch vented rotors clamped with dual-piston calipers up front, and cross-drilled, 13-inch vented discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear, and a good linear pedal all work together very well. Braking control is enhanced with standard ABS. Traction control also helps keep you on your chose path, but it can be shut down to let the rear hang-out in steep curves. Luxury, comfort and safety permeate inside this super roadster's cabin. The roomy interior features very comfortable and supportive power-adjusting bucket seats that are wrapped with soft leather, French stitching and perforated suede inserts. Extensive use of leather wrapped surfaces, created by craftsmen who cut, wrap and sew leather around components individually. Kinetic aluminum accents adorn the steering wheel, Bvlgari-designed instrument panel and doors. Each door is also wrapped with leather and perforated suede inserts. The center console, cupholders and gated shifter are cover in exotic Zingana wood. Storage space is found in the deep glove box, lower doors, center storage bin, and there is a storage door between the seatbacks. The steering wheel is power tilt/telescopic for the perfect position and the Bose Premium Surround Sound Audio system comes with two speakers at the top of each seatback. The Cadillac Navigation system and OnStar give you point-to-point directions when needed. All windows are express up/down and a central locking system can be programmed. There is two position memory, heated/self-dimming side mirrors, rain sensing intermittent speed wipers/washers, and cruise-control. You start the engine by pushing a dashboard mounted button. Also standard are map lamps and thick-cut pile carpeting with custom floormats.

Standard safety features include Next Generation front seat belts, side airbags, three-point safety belts with load limiters and pretensioners, front/rear crush zones, and steel beams in each door. The convertible hardtop takes about 25 seconds to raise or lower. It is perfect in all climates and adds extra quietness to the luxury cabin, while increasing security when away. Is the XLR-V worth 100 grand? It is close and you'll have to be the judge. Take one out for a test drive and feel the power and enjoy the luxury of this limited edition Cadillac. SUMMARY JUDGMENT The ultimate expression of Cadillac's Art & Science architecture.

© Words and pictures by Harvey Schwartz For more information on Cadillac products, go to www.cadillac.com. More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be found at www.autofotos.com SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2007 Cadillac XLR-V Price of vehicle: $100,000.00 Engine type: Supercharged 4.4 liter DOHC, all-aluminum V8 with VVT Horsepower: 443 hp at 6,400 rpm Torque: 414 lb-ft at 2,200 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/rear-wheel-drive Transmission type: Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed, electronically controlled, automatic overdrive with torque converter clutch, clutch-to-clutch sequential shifting Front suspension: Short/long arm double wishbone, cast aluminum upper & lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite leaf spring, Magnetic Ride Control shocks, 28.6 mm hollow stabilizer bar Rear suspension: Short/long arm double wishbone, cast aluminum upper & lower control arms, transverse-mounted leaf spring, Magnetic Ride Control shocks, Magnetic Ride Control shocks, 28.6 mm hollow stabilizer bar Wheels and tires: 19 x 8.5-inch front/rear aluminum alloy wheels, P235/45ZR19 front, P255/40ZR19 rear Pirelli Run Flat high-performance tires Brakes: Front: 13.4-inch cross-drilled rotors with high-performance brake pads, dual-piston calipers Rear: 13-inch cross-drilled rotors with high-performance brake pads, single-piston calipers ABS enhanced front and rear Overall length: 177.7 inches Overall width: 72.3 inches Overall height: 50 inches Wheelbase: 105.7 inches Curb weight: 3,804 pounds EPA mileage specs: 16 mpg/city, 19 mpg/highway 0-60 mph: 4.8 seconds

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