2009 Cadillac XLR-V Review


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2009 Cadillac XLR-V Overview

Having received a much-needed redesign, the performance-oriented 2009 Cadillac XLR-V convertible coupe cuts a distinguishing profile on the highway. Backed up by a monster engine, advanced handling technology, and luxury creature comforts, the rear-wheel-drive two-seater delivers high-end looks with down and dirty performance.

Both front and rear fascias get updates this year. The new mesh grille seen in the other V-series Cadillacs now adorns the front of the XLR-V, along with upgraded foglights. Chrome side vents bring the XLR up to date with what has become a Cadillac signature. The rear fascia also gets a makeover, with larger exhaust tips. Inside the two-passenger convertible, a new faux suede Alcantara headliner and leather hand-stitched dash lend an air of elegance. The layout is compact and convenient, and although its 42 inches of legroom is generous, passengers may feel a bit cramped, especially with the top up. If so, it takes only the push of a button to retract the hardtop in 30 seconds. Doing so cuts the 11.6-cubic-foot trunk down to 4.4 cubic feet, however, and storage space is not the XLR-V's strong suit.

Where the Corvette-based 2009 XLR-V excels is in acceleration performance and precise handling. A 4.4-liter supercharged Northstar V8 purrs under the hood, matched with a 6-speed shiftable hydramatic transmission that provides fluid gear transitions. Though falling short of the 550-hp V8 in the CTS-V, the powertrain delivers 443 hp and 414 lb-ft of torque at 3,900 RPM. If the 14/21 mpg disappoints, its 0-60 times of 4.6 seconds keep drivers on their toes, if not in their seats.

Not yet tested for safety, the 2009 XLR-V comes with a full complement of equipment, such as dual front-side airbags, traction and stability control, and ABS brakes. Being the sportier version of the XLR, it boasts a stiffer suspension, larger shocks and springs, and Brembo brakes for a more responsive, if somewhat more jarring, driving experience. Added technology provides additional safety, with the new version of Onstar, adaptive lighting, and adaptive cruise control all standard. The Magnetic Ride Control feature adjusts the suspension according to road conditions that it monitors with sensors. The convenient heads-up display projects driver information onto the windshield to prevent drivers from taking their eyes off the road.

Bluetooth becomes standard for the 2009 XLR-V, becoming another in a long line of upscale creature comforts. Heated and cooled seats, a full array of power accessories, remote entry and remote start, a navigation system, a 6-CD changer, and a DVD player keep both passengers and driver happy.


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