To perfectly pigeonhole the XLR, think of GM’s new premium roadster as Cadillac’s SL500.
Like its Mercedes rival, the XLR’s a flip-top, two-seat V8-powered convertible that’s so well equipped there are no options… beyond choosing the colour.
Cadillac’s second attempt at dethroning the SL – remember the late ’80s Pininfarina-styled Allante? – begins with look-at-me edgy styling, largely taken from Brit designer Simon Cox’s 1999 Evoq concept.
The plastic body, with folding steel hard-top, slots over the very rigid C6 Corvette platform and gets the excellent 4.6-litre 326bhp Northstar V8, much modified for this longitudinal application, driving through a new five-speed automatic.
Double wishbone suspension and the quickest-acting adaptive dampers ever prove that Cadillac has put some serious engineering muscle into the car. According to Cadillac’s figures, the XLR’s 1653kg undercuts the SL500 by an impressive 180kg.