2009 Cadillac XLR Performance

$18,224 - $18,224

2009 Cadillac XLR Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Cadillac XLR was new.


Performance: 7.9

Test drivers report that the XLR is powerful, fast and comfortable to drive. Some test drivers, however, wish it offered a more visceral sports performance.

  • "The XLR drives much like a Corvette fitted with slippery all-season tires." -- Car and Driver
  • "As fast as the 2009 Cadillac XLR is when pushed, those expecting a Corvette in formal wear will be disappointed. Acceleration is certainly quick, but the XLR's soft suspension tuning results in noticeable body roll during hard cornering and plenty of nose dive under heavy braking." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

Reviewers praise the 2009 XLR for its powerful engine and quick acceleration. Equipped with a 4.6-liter V8 engine, it produces 320 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 310 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm. What's more, the XLR's engine is mated to a standard six-speed automatic transmission with Driver Shift Control, which allows for clutchless manual operation. According to Cadillac, the XLR has a top speed of 155 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. The EPA estimates its city/highway fuel economy at 15/24 mpg.

  • "The XLR is a fairly spirited performer, as the 0-60-mph dash takes less than 6 seconds, while high-speed running on the highway is hushed and effortless. Full-throttle shifts result in little hesitation, and the sound of the engine at full song is as good as or better than any V8 in its class." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2009 Cadillac XLR's powerful NorthStar V8 jumps to life with the muffled burble that only a V8 engine can produce. Slip the transmission into gear and the XLR pulls away from stop signs with relentless authority. The XLR accelerates smoothly, with a nice, linear progression that continues to build well past any legal speed limit. There seems to be an inexhaustible supply of low-end torque, always on tap when you need to pass, merge or dart across a busy intersection." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Acceleration for passing is close to stunning, and the XLR is also quick from a standstill." -- Cars.com

Handling and Braking

Overall, test drivers are satisfied with the XLR's handling dynamics. Edmunds, however, criticizes it for prioritizing comfort over sports performance.

In addition to a rear-wheel drivetrain, the XLR's handling is aided by a StabiliTrak stability control system, All-speed Traction Control, four-wheel disc brakes with an Anti-lock Braking System, and Magnetic Ride Control, which allows drivers to adjust the vehicle's shock absorbers. Furthermore, the XLR boasts a near 50/50 front/rear weight distribution.

  • "Ride comfort beats most sports cars by a mile, and steering is tight and impressively precise." -- Cars.com
  • "At high speeds, the XLR feels absolutely in its element, returning a marvelously level and controlled ride. Credit the XLR's Magnetic Ride Control Suspension, which adjusts the shock absorber settings at a rate of one thousand times per second and delivers an exemplary combination of ride comfort and handling response." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "With a platform that borrows heavily from the Corvette, the XLR would seem to be a likable marriage of coddling luxury and sporting performance. Sadly, it seems that the sport genes are somewhat recessive in this case. Though swift and generally a respectable handler, the XLR is not exactly a Corvette in a tuxedo. Thanks to suspension tuning that prioritizes ride comfort, the XLR is more at home on boulevards than back roads.  ... Nor is the XLR strong enough against its chief rivals to contend for luxury roadster supremacy." -- Edmunds

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