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PERFORMANCE | 9 out of 10
The ride is still considerably better than that of the Corvette
Car and Driver
Disabling StabiliTrak might have upped the level of excitement
Cadillac has given each V8 a personal touch
With tighter handling and greater straight-line speed, the 2009 Cadillac XLR-V surpasses the stock XLR in every performance category.
The "special motor” in the Cadillac XLR-V is “a supercharged, 4.4-liter version of the highly regarded Northstar DOHC V-8," says the Detroit News, adding that it "delivers an ample 443 horsepower and 414 pounds-feet of torque—enough to rocket this sled from rest to 60 in about 4.9 seconds." Cars.com says, "The performance-packed [Cadillac XLR-V] is fitted with a supercharged 4.4-liter V-8 that develops 443 hp at 6,400 rpm and 414 pounds-feet of torque at 3,900 rpm."
"Cadillac has given each V8 a personal touch, with each being built from start to finish by a single craftsman," making it "responsive and quick, eager to leap to attention at the slightest tap of the throttle," says Edmunds about the 2009 XLR-V. The car is "viciously quick...courtesy of this Cadillac's supercharged V8, which will send you hurtling from zero to 60 in less than 5 seconds," notes Edmunds. Car and Driver reports it’s “able to purr around at lower engine speeds as befits a luxury marque, then snarl to the redline with almost shocking ferocity.”
Cars.com adds, the "six-speed automatic transmission incorporates Performance Algorithm Shifting and Performance Algorithm Liftfoot systems, along with Driver Shift Control for manually selected gear changes." The Detroit News reports that the 2009 Cadillac XLR-V's engine "drives the rear wheels through a new Hydra-matic six-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift capability." The transmission “provides almost intuitive response to a driver's inputs,” Car and Driver says.
The EPA estimates for fuel consumption in the 2009 Cadillac XLR-V are perhaps a bit better than you might expect for such a dedicated performance model: 15 mpg in the city, 22 mpg highway.
The 2009 Cadillac XLR-V offers "tenacious grip in the corners and excellent brakes [with a] standard StabiliTrak stability control system [that] keeps things in proper alignment," says MyRide.com, adding, "disabling StabiliTrak might have upped the level of excitement." Car and Driver states “the ride is still considerably better than that of the Corvette with which this car shares so much platform architecture.” Cars.com notes that the XLR-V has "a rear stabilizer bar and a larger front stabilizer bar" than the standard XLR. Edmunds reports a "memorable and engaging ride," but suggests that "you'll find more refined and engaging driving dynamics in its European competition ... quite simply, you can do much better when spending this much money." This is despite the "magnetic ride control, which automatically adjusts the suspension to compensate for issues like pavement conditions and vehicle speed" as telegraphed by the Detroit News. Automobile gets a chuckle when it says the XLR-V’s steering is “like a late-in-life Marlon Brando having a root canal: weighty but numb.”
The 2009 Cadillac XLR-V is enormously satisfying to drive fast, but in tight corners, the lack of steering feedback keeps it from being an A+.