Pick of the Day: 2004 Cadillac XLR

What happens when Cadillac tries to make its own Corvette?

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XLR

In 1999, Cadillac unveiled its Evoq concept car to raving reviews. Unlike so many concept cars that have come and gone – and mostly forgotten but for the pages of publications like ours – Cadillac actually decided to build and market the car.

The Pick of the Day is a 2004 Cadillac XLR advertised by a dealer in Wichita Falls, Texas, on ClassicCars.com.

XLR

The overwhelming positivity for the design of the two-seat roadster Evoq concept, and the public’s appetite for sporty roadsters, convinced Cadillac to throw its hat in the ring with a luxurious and powerful car that would be compared to the Corvette. As a matter of fact, the car would be built on the same assembly line in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The XLR was produced from 2003-2009 for a total of 15,460, although new-car sales continued into 2011 for 2009-titled cars as sales projections were never met, which makes this car relatively rare. By comparison (and perhaps a stretch), the same could be said for Plymouth Superbirds, which failed to meet projections – only to become seven-figure, cherished collectibles.

XLR

The Corvette and the XLR would both have the all-new hydro-formed perimeter frame and composite bodywork construction. The similarities are clear, but these certainly are very different cars. This Xenon Blue on black interior looks and feels like a Cadillac. The bold, rigid lines were as recognizable on the XLR as on the CTS Sedan, whereas the Corvette of the day had much more rounded edges.

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The XLR was the first two-door convertible Cadillac produced since the Allante, a future classic in its own right. Like its predecessor, the XLR would be powered by a 4.6-liter NorthStar V8 making 320 horsepower and featured a retractable hard-top and heads-up display. The comfortable interior sported Bulgari-designed analog instruments, engulfing the occupants in luxury and style.

XLR

Other pioneering features for Cadillac were adaptive suspension, radar-adaptive cruise control and a touchscreen radio/navigation head unit. The 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution gave the XLR superior handing, which made it fun to drive.

The dealer says there are 109,441 miles on the odometer and is asking $14,900 – a far cry from the nearly $80,000 price tag when new.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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19 COMMENTS

  1. I rode in a Corvette/XLR road rally a few years ago in the NC Mountains. Corvettes and Cadillacs from all over the SE and Midwest converged in the Asheville area for a long weekend. Drivers swapped cars and we hit most of the curves on some lesser know parkways and roadways. A few times we were sideways. Became good friends with a couple from FL and tossed them the keys to my ZR1 with 315 F1 Eagles on the rear. I hammered down on their ’06 XLR. What great time and an awesome handling Caddy!

    • Great Story Brian! Nice to hear a Corvette guy give this car props. I think it may be one of the most under-appreciated Caddys ever made. I think this car is due as a collectible.

  2. Have 2 questions at this time-
    How many miles are on the XLR ?
    Looking to get the VIN # so I could check the service records.

  3. I remember these. Back in the early 2000’s they were really cool and really fast for the time. If I remember correctly, you could actually get these with a stick. I remember cuz I thought then that that was the first time I ever saw a Caddy with a manual trans. Correct me if I’m wrong. anyway, I’m sure someone’s gunna grab the one real soon.

    • The CT5-V and ATS-V sedans have/had available manuals. The XLR had a 5-speed 5L50 automatic and the Supercharged XLR-V had a 6-speed 6L80 automatic. I was fortunate to drive an ATS-V six-speed at Willow Springs Raceway a couple of years ago during the Motor Press Guild’s Track day, with several OEMs represented — and the Caddy was my favorite car of the day!

  4. $5K-$6k max….. Northstar was an engineering and design nightmare…. engine has to be swapped out for Chevy engine of that era as the Northstar is unworkable…. otherwise a nice car…..

    • Well the car already has over 109 thousand miles on it, my xlr has 67 k on it no troubles. I think a lot has to do with maintenance and the way people drive. You can’t find any xlrs cheap unless it has a lot of problems.Great car to drive !!

  5. Can you get 2 sets of golf clubs in the trunk of the XLR? what is the overall gas mileage of this XLR>? Would you consider shipping included in the asking price? shipping to Wa state

  6. Don’t know ’bout that, Ronald. Ran a couple of Northstars, one in a Bonneville GXP, one in an ElDorado.
    Not ever a problem; Bonnie had 280,xxx miles when I sold her. Other than plugs, oil/filter changes, and the air filter, the Northstar performed as advertised, for far longer than I would have credited. The screen print wore off the radio control buttons before the motor was tired.
    The Eldo rusted out underneath. The buyer intended to put the Northstar/transaxle in the back of a ’68 Corvair. I never heard back. But it had 130,xxx; given my experience with the Bonnie, I’d guess he had at least 100k with which to work.
    Always liked GM/Caddy’s “Art & Science” creased and folded styling, but for the money and maintenance, as well as rarity, I’ll take the CTS-V wagon with the crunchy but indestructible Tremec please, thank you oh so much.
    Still, a sweet cruiser in a beautiful color.

  7. I don’t know about that, Ryan. You had two Northstars, no problems. I had one Northstar and had problems. That’s one of three, using limited-sized samples, as you are. It was the well-known blown head gasket (and fallout) and it cost $2,000 to get it fixed. The problem is common enough that GM makes a repair kit for it, sold to the few places than do the fix. There is a shop in my suburb (of Chicago) that fixes it and gets Northstar-disabled Caddies trucked in from surrounding states.

  8. Well the car already has over 109 thousand miles on it, my xlr has 67 k on it no troubles. I think a lot has to do with maintenance and the way people drive. You can’t find any xlrs cheap unless it has a lot of problems.Great car to drive !!

  9. For some reason I always thought the XLR had the Corvette motor? Still, 320+ hp in a 2-seat Caddy? For under $15k? I’m in!

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