The Best of the Best 2003: Coupes - Cadillac XLR

I approached the Cadillac XLR with high expectations, imagining that the engineers on GM’s most prestigious project would have gone to great lengths to deliver a car capable of competing with some very stiff competition: the Mercedes-Benz SL, the Jaguar XK, and the Lexus SC. It surpasses each on a number of counts. The XLR, estimated to sell at $75,000, is easily the best-handling car of the four—it is 400 pounds lighter than the SL, for example—with a perfect 50/50 weight distribution thanks to a Ferrari Maranello–style rear-mounted transmission. Acceleration and braking are superb, as is the novel Magnetic Ride Control suspension.

 

The Evoq-inspired body design—controversial to be sure—should be applauded in a world of me-too retromobiles. And as with the best convertibles, a fully retractable hard top obviates the vulnerable canvas of yore.

Ultimately, convincing an SL owner to take a serious look at the XLR is Cadillac’s biggest challenge, but this car can certainly stand on its own merits. The XLR’s design, performance, fit, and finish are equal or superior to its competition.

Cadillac, www.cadillac.com

The German carmaker has made changes to increase the car’s performance and bring greater tech...
The car’s design is based on that of the 1967 33 Stradale, which is valued at over $10 million...
Photo by Mercedes-Benz USA
Based on the road-going GT sports car, the GT3 was developed to comply with FIA GT3 race...
The Aero 8’s improved comfort, convenience, and safety should make for Morgan’s best open-air...
With a new, contemporary design, this is not your grandfather’s Continental…
Photo by Olivier Staub
Robb Report takes the new and improved three-wheeler for a spin on the roads of Malibu, Calif.…
Performance and style have perhaps never converged so beautifully as they did in European...
In May, the home of the American automobile will host three days of films, discussion panels, and...
Photo by ALPINA Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH + Co. KG
The refreshed coupe turned heads at the New York International Auto Show...
With Formula-1 aerodynamics and a powerful engine, this so-called “daily driver” offers flagship-...