With the 2004 Cadillac XLR, Cadillac came one step closer to forgetting past mistakes and reclaiming its title of "Standard of the World." XLR was Cadillac's chance to get it right. Its previous foray into the two-seat luxury-performance realm fell embarrassingly short with the 1987-93 Allante, an American-Italian amalgam of front-wheel drive, quiet styling, and undistinguished performance.
The 2004 Cadillac XRL sought to combine performance and style in a 2-seat
luxury coupe, a feat at which Cadillac had previously fared poorly.
For the XLR, Cadillac reached straight for GM's best performance platform, that of the 2004 C6 Corvette. With a state-of-the-art chassis, rear-wheel drive, and more than 300 horsepower, it was well prepared for battle. And its controversial, edgy "Arts and Science" design guaranteed XLR distinction from its Lexus, Mercedes, and Jaguar competition.
XLR was first seen on auto show stands as the Evoq concept car in 2001. Its champion was swashbuckling auto executive Bob Lutz, who joined GM in 2001 to breathe excitement into the company. The production version debuted in spring 2003, the boldest example yet of Cadillac's edgy styling theme.
The interior of the 2004 Cadillac XRL was understated and distinguished.
Sharing the Corvette's basic chassis but trading the 'Vette's pushrod V-8 for Cadillac's own "Northstar" double overhead-cam V-8, the XLR secured its upscale performance credentials. Assembled alongside Corvette in Kentucky, XLR featured a longer wheelbase for a better ride, a retractable hardtop for coupe-like comfort, and instruments designed by Italian watchmaker Bulgari.
XLR helped pioneer the move to bolder design and return to rear-wheel drive by GM's flagship division. It was a key element in Cadillac's quest to reclaim its title of "Standard of the World."
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