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Cadillac XLR vs. Mercedes-Benz SL

24

Comments

  • I don't think I've ever represented what a magazine has to say as proof of their credibility. In the past I've made a few citations because you seemed to assign credibility to content on coated stock. Sometimes a writer gets something right! Point is, when someone points out that the Cadillac is light and feels agile and then they criticize the interior and the brand image, at least I know they have taken the time to holistically present their view of the car. When someone writes about MB technology, quantified performance, and brand value (mostly to the unthinking and unimaginative today) but they ignore the ruined kinetics of the car due to brontasaurus mass in a 2 seat sporting GT, and the extra cost and engineering all that extra mass requires just to tame it, then I know they are willfully not analyzing the car holistically.

    They might still say, "The MB SL is wildly overweight in its class but we like it anyway." Then I can say it's an honest review and the writer's priorities are woefully misordered.

    Anyway, no I did not ever think magazine reviewers of any employ were worthy of influencing my perception of a vehicle. And yes, the current SL is antediluvian with respect to its designers' nonchalance about useless mass. I wouldn't want to be associated such lack of progress.

    Phil
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Never did I say that the XLR-v is a sports car. If I wanted a sports car, I would have bought a Z06. Still might add one. I said the V is a sporting GT and it is the leader in architecture, design and agility in its class, not least because it is designed to avoid the useless bulk of the SL.

    Again the same ole same ole, and yet this advantage hasn't shown up anywhere. Why is that? It doesn't exists because someone at GM didn't take advantage of it. Ok you say the mags are wrong I could respect that if, and only if you hadn't praised them before when the tested the XLR by itself and found it to be a good car. Now just because they didn't put it ahead of the SL or any other car in the class, now they're just wrong. You can't have it both ways.

    If you look at my posts, I wrote repeatedly that the XLR-v is a sporting retractable hardtop GT. My position is entirely consistent. You're misrepresenting the facts.

    Actually you are because for the fact that XLR weighs less hasn't turned up any advantage in handling. You're the one trying to turn a slight weight advantage into something heaven sent and it has proven to be anything but that.

    At a quarter ton heavier, comparing the SL to a beached whale is an insult to the whale. It's 500 pounds of lack of engineering imagination any way you cut it.

    Wrong again, the exact weight difference is 380lbs, not a 1/2 ton, yet another inaccuracy you've given here and to say that SL has a lack of engineering imagination is really ridiculous. The SL has more featurs than the XLR to begin with such a a pop-up roll over protection system that adds weight and yet they've managed to "engineer" it to handle better than the lighter, gussied up Corvette known as the XLR. Imagine that.

    You're bench comparing the opinions of magazines that are packed with as much bias as you'll find on any internet board. I've actually driven the cars. When you do, you can come back and talk about winning or losing comparos. I'm in a position to say, and my verdict is XLR-v leads this class of car. And yes, it is the most sports-car like of the category, which is one of the reasons it wins for me.

    Sure and until then keep thinking that you're found something superior when the industry experts are saying otherwise and as far as C&D goes they didn't even think enough of the XLR-V, a 100K top of the line Cadillac to put it over BMW or Jaguar either, so Mercedes is about the least of your worries. Cadillac ain't superior, heck they ain't even at the front of the class. They're bringing up the rear as most GM cars do.

    The only reason I find most of what you say to be bunk is because you think that the XLR is superior in every way and there is no car in this class that is superior in every possible way over the competition, such a notion is absurd and this bs about weight and what not is really special because it hasn't turned up anywhere. If what you say were true wouldn't someone else agree with you about it? The mags can't be smart and all-knowing one minute, but they next they're cluess.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I don't expect a magazine to decide what car is right for you, my issue here is that you're making a 380lb weight difference to be the world and that is somehow turns the XLR into some type of superior sporting machine when it doesn't.

    Put aside who won what for a moment and just look at what is being said about the handling between the two cars. Your weight advantage theory just hasn't held water.

    Sure the SL is heavier and could stand to be lighter, but if you can't see the effort that MB put into making the car drive smaller than it really is then there is no point it talking to me about how light a Cadillac is either. The SL's weight has been dealt with using their ABC active suspension and they've done a superior job at it.

    Now as to what feels more agile that is arguable for sure, but this nonsense about the SL not beng able to handle or that is someone this poor handler and the Cadillac is so much better is just plain BS, regardless as to which car won the overall comparo.

    All the while you seem to have forgotten that this class of car isn't decided upon by dynamics like sports cars are, that is why even if the XLR were a superior handler (which it isn't) it still wouldn't top the SL. The XLR is cheaply made and doesn't come anywhere near feeling like a 100K car.

    M
  • You miss my point. I've already said it's evident MB had to put additional engineering into the car to manage its weight. To make it "drive smaller" as you put it. Which of course also adds a little further weight. This doesn't impress me when it would have been much more creative to design the car to avoid that weight in the first place. That 380 lb difference, which grows to 500 lbs. with the SL55, is the additional mass of adult males in a two seat car!!!

    The GM active suspension is at least the equal of MB's, so no points for DCX, especially since the GM method is simpler, lighter and more elegant from an engineering point of view.

    I never said the MB doesn't handle or can't put up the numbers. I said the experience is degraded by the weight and that ruins the kinetics from the driver's perspective, relative to the Caddy. Yes, the SL keeps the tires planted. No, it doesn't feel as composed doing it. The only small definciency that Caddy V has experientially is the very slight sideways bump in a potholed or bumpy curve, which is a characteristic of every Corvette with a transverse-glass-leaf suspension. I kinda like it. Feels fun and doesn't actually disturb the car's stability. I'll take that over a car you can feel fighting to manage its own mass.

    This class of car is certainly a sporting class of cars and dynamics in motion are among the criteria for success. Certainly very high for me and others who own the V. If I only cared about cruising, there are Buicks to buy along with the myriad Mercedes choices. How about a Buick with a V8?

    As I said, I am still waiting for this allegation of cheap build to evidence itself in my V. Relative to everything else that costs $100K, the V feels like a hundred Large to me. The Jag XKR doesn't handle well enough for $100K. The Aston V8 Vantage isn't quick enough for its price. The Mercedes SL feels too ponderous and pretentious. The wonderful Maserati Grand Sport's clunky transmission undermines its price with every shift. Uh...let's see.....the XLR-v has leather, wood and plastic inside just like everything else put to shame by the Italians. And none of it seems to be wearing in the slightest. It runs in the 4s right out of the box. stops and turns on a dime. Stone cold reliable. Gets as much attention as any car I see here in L.A. at any price. Comfortable. Sports car dynamics. But the plastic surrounding the nav screen and a few buttons come up short in some people's eyes? Hmmm....in a world where every competing car is imperfect in a meaningful way, I think I can hack the 6 square inches of untextured plastic and enjoy my car while Cadillac revises the cabin on v2.0.

    Phil
  • If you look at my posts, I have cited the quarter-ton difference in weight as being relative to the more peer-correct SL55. The nearly 400 lbs. against the SL550 is bad enough and not "slight."

    Didn't I cover the mags? I'll cite them for people who seem to respect them. I won't for people who don't use them as "evidence." I've explained how a writer gets my respect and attention, and it isn't the conclusion but how they get to it and whether they are holistically evaluating the car in question.

    I also never said the XLR-v is "superior in every way." I've said it is on balance the best car of its car in its class. Nobody in the class has a perfect polar graph of selection attributes.

    The Maserati has easily the most beautiful interior in the class, the loveliest paint, and it has a fab naturally-aspriated Ferrari-derived engine (my preference over supercharging), but it also has a cloth top, a clunky tranny, a strange driving position, and spotty service distribution. I almost bought one.

    The Jag and Aston have the second best leather in the class, lightweight aluminum structures, and rich British interiors but both are down on power, handling is too soft, and structural rigidity on convertibles (which are cloth tops) trails the Cadillac.

    The Lexus loses in every respect. There isn't a single redeeming aspect of the car I'd prefer over the XLR-v.

    The Mercedes SL55 has more displacement and a large torque advantage set in a dated but torsionally-stiff architecture with long overhangs, short wheelbase, and a quarter ton of excess weight that reflects a lack of design imagination. Interior materials are high quality. Interior design is overwrought and functions are obscured by poor ergonomics. Its suspension technology is the only one in the class to approach GM's in efficacy. The Mercedes is monstrously overpriced and is common as dirt where I live.

    The SL550 shares the traits of the 55 AMG, but sheds some ponderous weight though it is not engineered to drive as sharply as the AMG. Both have a nice transmission.

    On balance, the V's only area of real, common, criticism relative to the class is the interior. I don't agree it is meaningfully deficient, and I am here to tell you it works and wears just fine, and makes the right impression on people who get in the car. Let Maserati loose on the V interior, and all the carping about the car would go away in a flash. The V's interior ain't a reason not to choose the car now, however. No doubt the next version will be better still.

    And by the way, other people do agree with me. The XLR/XLRv owner boards are full of people who bought the car for the same reasons I did, after having owned MB, Lexus, Jag, et al. And most of them never owned a Cadillac before, many never having previously owned an American car, either

    Phil
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The GM active suspension is at least the equal of MB's, so no points for DCX, especially since the GM method is simpler, lighter and more elegant from an engineering point of view.

    Well that is IYO, and it doesn't give the XLR any advantage in handling either. If this was true, that suspension combined with the weight savings should enable the XLR-V to run rings around the competition and it doesn't. Period. No points for GM and the handling advantage still winds up on the competitor's car.

    I never said the MB doesn't handle or can't put up the numbers. I said the experience is degraded by the weight and that ruins the kinetics from the driver's perspective, relative to the Caddy. Yes, the SL keeps the tires planted. No, it doesn't feel as composed doing it. The only small definciency that Caddy V has experientially is the very slight sideways bump in a potholed or bumpy curve, which is a characteristic of every Corvette with a transverse-glass-leaf suspension. I kinda like it. Feels fun and doesn't actually disturb the car's stability. I'll take that over a car you can feel fighting to manage its own mass.

    And what I'm telling you is that no one has found anything to support this advantage you keep talking about. These are professional drivers who have been testing cars for years and they all say the same thing regarding the handling of the SL and the XLR, one is good and the other is better, the latter being the SL. This nonsense about how the XLR feels and what not isn't enough to put it over the SL and the others in this class because the rest of the car is lacking.

    This class of car is certainly a sporting class of cars and dynamics in motion are among the criteria for success. Certainly very high for me and others who own the V. If I only cared about cruising, there are Buicks to buy along with the myriad Mercedes choices. How about a Buick with a V8?

    Here we go again, you're missing the point. Of course dynamics are a point of reference in this class, but the XLR falls down on its face in other areas which you'll all of sudden dismiss. The feel of the materials, design and quality of the XLR/V say cheap GM car, not 100K blueblood. That is why the XLR-V could have the best handling in the world and still come up short, heck it already outrun the SL550, 650i, and XK yet that didn't carry as much weight as the details, which is where GM is clueless still.

    As I said, I am still waiting for this allegation of cheap build to evidence itself in my V. Relative to everything else that costs $100K, the V feels like a hundred Large to me. The Jag XKR doesn't handle well enough for $100K. The Aston V8 Vantage isn't quick enough for its price. The Mercedes SL feels too ponderous and pretentious. The wonderful Maserati Grand Sport's clunky transmission undermines its price with every shift. Uh...let's see.....the XLR-v has leather, wood and plastic inside just like everything else put to shame by the Italians. And none of it seems to be wearing in the slightest. It runs in the 4s right out of the box. stops and turns on a dime. Stone cold reliable. Gets as much attention as any car I see here in L.A. at any price. Comfortable. Sports car dynamics. But the plastic surrounding the nav screen and a few buttons come up short in some people's eyes? Hmmm....in a world where every competing car is imperfect in a meaningful way, I think I can hack the 6 square inches of untextured plastic and enjoy my car while Cadillac revises the cabin on v2.0.

    Yeah let me guess, every other car has flaws except the XLR? Right? You kill me with all this about other cars yet you can't see the glaring cheapness of the XLR's interior. Driving the car for 8K miles doesn't prove anything IMO, any 100K can stand up to 8K miles of use. You've got to be kidding if you think that 8K is some type of milestone that proves quality!

    Now wait a minute, you've driven the XKR to know that it doesn't handle well enough for 100K or are you going by something you've read? I honestly feel for you if you think a XLR feels like a 100K car.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    If you look at my posts, I have cited the quarter-ton difference in weight as being relative to the more peer-correct SL55. The nearly 400 lbs. against the SL550 is bad enough and not "slight."

    Yet the SL gets the nod in handling. Go figure. Either someone is harping about nothing or the entire industry doesn't know what they're talking about.

    The Lexus loses in every respect. There isn't a single redeeming aspect of the car I'd prefer over the XLR-v.

    The only thing we agree on! The SC430 is for the pinky-ring set.

    I also never said the XLR-v is "superior in every way." I've said it is on balance the best car of its car in its class. Nobody in the class has a perfect polar graph of selection attributes.

    Your last sentence contradicts the first one. The XLR-V isn't even close to being the best car in this class, as it can't even beat a base SL550.

    The Mercedes SL55 has more displacement and a large torque advantage set in a dated but torsionally-stiff architecture with long overhangs, short wheelbase, and a quarter ton of excess weight that reflects a lack of design imagination. Interior materials are high quality. Interior design is overwrought and functions are obscured by poor ergonomics. Its suspension technology is the only one in the class to approach GM's in efficacy. The Mercedes is monstrously overpriced and is common as dirt where I live.

    Gotta love personal opinon on design passed off as some type of flaw. Just say you don't like the SL and this would make sense. Again your cited weight advantage hasn't proven squat in handling prowess in favor of the XLR. Gotta love the "common as dirt" comment too, i.e. Cadillac doesn't and can't sell anywhere near as many XLRs so I'll knock the Benz for being a commercial success. I love it when people who champion slow selling cars try to hint or imply that they are somehow more exclusive when the truth of the matter is the car in question is 10 or 10 times a sales dud! Exclusive is when you can sell more, but won't or when you only build a set number and that is it. GM could crank out XLRs all day long if the market warranted, but it doesn't so please spare me the hint or implication that the XLR is somehow exclusive when the reality of the matter is very few people want or would even consider a 75-100K Cadillac. The Caddy name doesn't warrant or carry nearly enough clout to sell a 100K car in any real numbers today.

    The V's interior ain't a reason not to choose the car now, however. No doubt the next version will be better still.

    IYO. Wait till next year or next time, a classic GM defense. GM never delivers a complete car, it is always wait until next time, which by then the competition will have moved the goal post.

    And by the way, other people do agree with me. The XLR/XLRv owner boards are full of people who bought the car for the same reasons I did, after having owned MB, Lexus, Jag, et al. And most of them never owned a Cadillac before, many never having previously owned an American car, either

    Seeing as how they sunk 75-100K into a market lagging American car they literally have no choice but to tell themselves this, otherwise they'd have the worst case of cognitive dissonance in the recorded history.

    M
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    The initial quality study is very important and gives a good reflection on the cars build quality. Depending on which magazine write up you read the Cadillac XLR is raising a lot of heads. I believe it was Car & Driver last year that had it being barely edged by the Mercedes with four cars being tested. The Cadillac is a tremendous car in every way and you have to get over your bias toward American cars. Cadillac uses a better quality plastic than Mercedes does as far as the noxious fumes that it doesn't give off. Other than that plastic is plastic and few people really notice the differences which are very minor.
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    The XLR is considered a sports car as much as the Mercedes is, but just not in the same sence as a Corvette, Porche or Lotus; keep in mind that these cars are also considered roadstars like the Miata, Solstice, and M3.

    A sports car is classified as a two seater with rear wheel drive.
  • You continually cite magazines. I've already said I think what they think is irrelevant. The thing is, you haven't driven the XLR-v. You may not have even driven a contemporary SL. WHEN you actually drive these cars under varying conditions, you might have something worthwhile to say about this weight and handling issue. Until then, you're putting a skidpad number up against real-world experience. It's pointless. Driving the two cars contradicts what the magazines are writing. I experience no handling advantage for the Mercedes. Quite the opposite, the handling advantage conclusively rests with the XLR-v.

    More to the point, it would be impossible to build a sports car from the SL platform. It's stupidly heavy. Yet the light-for-class XLR-v is built on a platform that with the luxury stuff deleted and bigger stickier rubber added becomes a 3100 lb world-class sports car. The XLR-v comes from the factory tuned to a specific state of compromise. If you want to shift that mix this way or that, it's easy to do, and you'll be doing it with a quarter ton advantage over the porky SL55.

    Plainly, the XLR-v feels more incisive and gives me more information about the tire-road interface than the SL. Everything about the car is more communicative. It's not my fault if this isn't obvious to magazine jockeys. Want to really make the point? Put Corvette rubber on a V. Drive one, please, before you use someone else's opinion again to justify your own bias.

    "...because the rest of the car is lacking." This is not my experience.

    Now, I agree with you that 9,000 miles doesn't prove the long-term reliability of the V. But given the role of infant failure of componentry in gizmo-loaded luxury cars as a class, it's a good harbinger. Having put well over 100,000 miles on a prior generation Corvette, without so much as an upholstery scuff, I have confidence in the long-term stalwartness of the V. The basic durable goodness of the platform is routinely evidenced in harder-driven Corvettes in larger numbers. The long-term questions TBD are in the small-displacement supercharged engine and the top's mechanism. I'm expecting my car to be in my hands well into 6 digits.

    Haven't driven the new platform XKR (not sure it's shipped yet) but have driven the current XK. Extrapolating from that experience, and having driven the two cars in last gen and knowing that version's R difference, I don't think Jaguar's convertible handles like I expect 100K worth of car to handle. It has other merits to justify its price however. All these cars, even at 100K, are specific compromises.

    So having driven everything I can think of in this peculiar class of retractable hardtop luxury sporting GTs, plus the ragtop contenders adjacent to this category, every one is imperfect and every one makes a specific impression. On an absolute basis, none of these cars are worth $100,000, but that's a reflection of prevailing conditions. But in a world where an SLK 55 AMG starts at $61,000, a Lexus SC costs $70K, an XLR is $74K, a Jag is similar, and a Mercedes SL is $92K, yes the XLR-v is worth its price. No one thinks the XLR, XK or SC are too expensive for the market. For another $25K over the those, you get a hand-built semi-racing grade engine with added 123hp, bigger brakes, material upgrades in the interior, better transmission, larger wheels with more aggressive rubber, greater performance in every parameter. Sure, it's worth $100K in that context. Anyone who thinks it isn't worth $100K is essentially saying the brand is their issue, not the car. I don't have a problem with a $100K Cadillac at all. I didn't buy the car to make an obvious point about personal wealth. I bought it for its competence, power, comfort, fit, feel and intrinsic progressive emotion, compared to the other more flawed entries in its class, along with being the most agile performer lacking the ponderous dynamics of the SL and SC.

    Phil
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    A Cadillac that falls on its face, give me a break. These are all excellent cars and discrimination against one brand because it doesn't meet your needs or you admire another auto is uncalled for. You may find more to your liking on the Mercedes forum.
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 2,487
    Wow, what a flurry of activity! I guess summer's over and folks are back to the keyboard...

    Anyway, Phil, what kind of real-world mpg are you getting with your V? And thanks for the write up...

    I think I'm much further away from grabbing my mid-life crisis car as the evil wife has announced that she wants to buy a lakefront home in New Hampshire or Vermont within the next year or two. Actually, so would I. God's Country are the Northern New England states. Dropped my skis off at the shop for a tune up, looking forward to Ma Nature making up for the dearth of snow last winter this year.

    '13 Jaguar XF, '11 BMW 535xi, '02 Lexus RX300

  • Yeah, I had a busy summer and wandered in here to see if the Mercedes brigade was still pissing on the V's shoes. I thought of it when I saw the odo roll past 9,000 miles.

    Real world mileage? I live in L.A. I often have an entire tankful of fuel consumed at an average speed of 26 mph when I can't arrange driving time outside of the expanding "rush hour" on our freeways and city streets. When I have a tank like that, I get 16 mpg. On a tank of solidly mixed off-peak freeway and on-peak city streets driving, I get 19/20 mpg. And when I have been able to track mileage on sustained highway runs at speed, I get 24-26mpg. Example: I recently finished a meeting in south Orange County after midnight and had to drive home on the northwest side of Los Angeles. It was 88 miles. Knowing I'd have clear running, I filled up before I left, and then topped off at destination. 88 miles at average speed of 82 mph yielded 25.2mpg.

    I...uh....can also say that I know exactly how to drive mileage down to 12 mpg, but doing so is a deliberate indulgence of unfriendly acceleration.

    I'm happy with the mileage given 443 hp in a 3800 lb. car.

    A couple of weeks ago, I was helping a friend evaluate cars. I have to say that if I were more cash limited and wanted a mid-life crisis machine, the only other car today under $100,000 that can match the XLR-v's sheer charisma and presence is the Shelby GT500, especially in coupe form. Simple, competent, poised, sensational. Otherwise, when you buy that lake house, sneak in a just-off-lease XLR-v in 2007/8.

    Phil
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The initial quality study is very important and gives a good reflection on the cars build quality.

    True and I don't think I've ever said that MB was perfect in this regard. However this year JDP changed the criteria because MB went from 5th to below average and that didn't happen due to a sudden drop in quality either.

    Depending on which magazine write up you read the Cadillac XLR is raising a lot of heads. I believe it was Car & Driver last year that had it being barely edged by the Mercedes with four cars being tested.

    Must be a magazine not published here on earth. No issue of Car and Driver has ever said anything near that, in fact it was just the opposite. The XLR has lost each and every time it faced the SL and not by a small margin. In this recent comparo they pretty much said the BMW 650i barely edged out the XLR, not the SL. The XLR hasn't raised that head of anyone that matters, buyers. GM has a huge supply of XLRs and they are simply put, slow sellers.

    Cadillac uses a better quality plastic than Mercedes does as far as the noxious fumes that it doesn't give off. Other than that plastic is plastic and few people really notice the differences which are very minor.

    Not! GM uses the same plastics in the XLR as they do their other cheapo cars. I give the XLR credit for being something no other American brand can touch, but that isn't saying much since Chrysler and Lincoln have nothing even remotely similar. The problem is that GM doesn't sweat the details and a 100K is all about the details.

    You look at GM's new Kappa twins, the SKY and Solstice. I had to stop and look at one up close on a dealer lot because I couldn't believe how sloppily the top fits on these cars when the top is raised. Whoever signed off on that should be fired, but hey that it typical GM. They'll introduce something with great potential and even get the engine right, but then muck it up in cheapo details.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The XLR is considered a sports car as much as the Mercedes is, but just not in the same sence as a Corvette, Porche or Lotus; keep in mind that these cars are also considered roadstars like the Miata, Solstice, and M3.

    The XLR is no sports car and neither is the SL, they are GT cars. Big difference.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You continually cite magazines. I've already said I think what they think is irrelevant. The thing is, you haven't driven the XLR-v. You may not have even driven a contemporary SL. WHEN you actually drive these cars under varying conditions, you might have something worthwhile to say about this weight and handling issue. Until then, you're putting a skidpad number up against real-world experience. It's pointless. Driving the two cars contradicts what the magazines are writing. I experience no handling advantage for the Mercedes. Quite the opposite, the handling advantage conclusively rests with the XLR-v.

    True, but who should I believe as far as the XLR goes? A biased person who has the car and thinks it is so superior to everything else in the class or the professional reviewers? Not just one, but all of them say the same thing about the XLR. I have driven the current SL a many times, thank you. This nonsense about handling and weight is the about most ridiculous thing I've seen harped about for a long time. When is it going to sink in that even if the XLR were a superior handler (which it isn't) that handling is not the sole criteria for buyers with these cars! So what if the XLR is a better handler, it still is skinny-tired and very much an aquired taste for many and it doesn't have an interior worthy of it's sticker.

    You keep harping about handling yet you'll then turn around and say that these are not sports cars. Which is it going to be? If you're going to make the case for the XLR and it's handling advantage (which no one else has found) then that is ok, but that doesn't outweight the rest of what is wrong with the car, especially the 100K version of it.

    More to the point, it would be impossible to build a sports car from the SL platform. It's stupidly heavy. Yet the light-for-class XLR-v is built on a platform that with the luxury stuff deleted and bigger stickier rubber added becomes a 3100 lb world-class sports car. The XLR-v comes from the factory tuned to a specific state of compromise. If you want to shift that mix this way or that, it's easy to do, and you'll be doing it with a quarter ton advantage over the porky SL55.

    So what? Mercedes didn't set out to build a "sports car" from the SL platform. I mean really is it that bad to the point where we have to debate shoulda/woulda/coulda been built from the SL platform. Now the XLR is a sports car again?

    Plainly, the XLR-v feels more incisive and gives me more information about the tire-road interface than the SL. Everything about the car is more communicative. It's not my fault if this isn't obvious to magazine jockeys. Want to really make the point? Put Corvette rubber on a V. Drive one, please, before you use someone else's opinion again to justify your own bias.

    Ok, to you, no one else. Fine, but that doesn't put the XLR over the SL. Seconldy why do I have to put Corvette rubber on a XLR? They aren't going for the same market, yet another "wait until next year" type apology. My bias didn't set in until I saw the reviews of the car because honestly I thought (initially) the SL would really have some competition, but it doesn't in either the market or on the road, at least not from Cadillac.

    Now, I agree with you that 9,000 miles doesn't prove the long-term reliability of the V. But given the role of infant failure of componentry in gizmo-loaded luxury cars as a class, it's a good harbinger. Having put well over 100,000 miles on a prior generation Corvette, without so much as an upholstery scuff, I have confidence in the long-term stalwartness of the V. The basic durable goodness of the platform is routinely evidenced in harder-driven Corvettes in larger numbers. The long-term questions TBD are in the small-displacement supercharged engine and the top's mechanism. I'm expecting my car to be in my hands well into 6 digits.

    Putting 100K on a Corvette has what to do with the XLR? I don't expect any car to have problems relating to it's structure nowadays. The XLR has more things to go wrong than a Corvette every had so if you can put 100K on a XLR and nothing goes wrong, bravo. Until then the previous mileage racked up on car as bascially simple (relative to the XLR) is matterless.

    Haven't driven the new platform XKR (not sure it's shipped yet) but have driven the current XK. Extrapolating from that experience, and having driven the two cars in last gen and knowing that version's R difference, I don't think Jaguar's convertible handles like I expect 100K worth of car to handle. It has other merits to justify its price however. All these cars, even at 100K, are specific compromises.

    So in other words your bias is there before you've driven the thing? How hypocritical is that? The new XKR shares absolutely nothing to do with the last generation car, nothing. Totally new chassis/platform etc, only the engines carry over so some of your own "until you drive it" advice would be in order for you here! I fully expect the XKR to trounce a XLR-V in handling if not in a straight line.

    Anyone who thinks it isn't worth $100K is essentially saying the brand is their issue, not the car.

    Bingo! Cadillac hasn't built anything in the last 30 years that even comes close to putting them in the position to ask 100K for one of their cars. You're right it is a brand issue that is supported by a car that simply doesn't feel like a 100K car.

    No one thinks the XLR, XK or SC are too expensive for the market.

    Not true, obviously buyers think the XLR is too expensive going by its lacklust sales performance, then again it could be the whole thought of sinking 100K on a Cadillac that won't be worth half that in a few years. In short Cadillac's comeback wasn't yet up to the level of being able to charge 100K for anything yet. All the the other cars have proven themselves to some degree, especially the SL. I share you're dislike of the SC430 as a GT car, but the car reeks of quality build, construction and materials, that is what puts it over. The previous Jaguar XK, while totally an antique until this new 07' model came along, was so gorgeous to the point where it could sell on looks alone.

    I can't take any of your dynamics argument seriously if you're going to say this:

    ..lacking the ponderous dynamics of the SL and SC..

    The SL is a lot of things, but ponderous it isn't one of them and to place it on the same level as the sedan-like driving SC430 tells me you simply don't like the SL because this claim is just plain untrue and ridiculous. The SL can run rings around a SC430 and you know it.

    M
  • You just don't like paying attention.

    1/ I'm not biased. I came to my decision about the XLR-v over the rest of the class BEFORE I bought it. I did so based on an objective survey of the class, driving each car under nearly identical real-world conditions. I was prepared to buy any of them, except for the SC. So yeah, you can believe me at least as much as a bunch of jaded magazine jockeys who are perpetually blinded by brand.

    2/ Handling matters as much to a GT's competence and suitability as a sporting car as handling matters to a pure sports car. The difference is that you tolerate some compromises to get more comfort and amenities in the GT for extended travel. But WITHIN the class, handling is as important a criterion for selection. A retractable hardtop GT roadster/coupe is a peculiar multi-function GT, but you still want it to handle and be agile.

    3/ I never said the weight and handling advantage of the XLR-v is the only reason to buy the car. It's a big reason. I did plainly say that the useless extra mass of the SL is the elephant in the room, and that the XLR-v has the best balance of compromises of any car in the class. It has the most progressive, dramatic and impactful aesthetic design, best interior ergonomics, best architecture, best mass-efficiency in its platform, and is competitive in every other area.

    4/ The XLR/XLR-v are built on a sports-car-derived platform and inherit those advantages. This doesn't make them sports cars, but does help to make them more sporting GTs -- especially the V.

    5/ You don't have to put Corvette rubber on your V, but the option exists, just as people put bigger wheels/tires on their SLs and every other car in the class. Point is, Cadillac could have spec'd tires tilted more to ultimate handling/stopping. They did not, because they chose to use the quietest run-flat to both preserve GT properties and give drivers the security of not having to change a tire on the freeway. Any owner who wants to shade the factory's chosen balance of factors is free to do so. In practical driving, the Eufori's grip will exceed the gumption of most drivers. Conventional performance rubber will certainly transmit less road rash NVH into the car.

    6/ Corvette is the platform basis, the body panel basis, the ancillary systems basis, and the automatic transmission is now the same between the two cars. From a reliability standpoint, the top mechanics, the DOHC hand-built SC engine and the engine management computer are the primary differences where things can go wrong. Corvette platform experience is a good harbinger of the V's integrity. But time will tell for sure.

    7/ I'm going to drive the XKR with an open mind of course. Note that I said I have driven the current XK, so I know what the platform characteristics are. I also know the difference between the prior XL and XK-R, and Ford's approach this time is very much the same, in terms of engineering differences between the new versions or XK and R. Having driven the base car, and being thoroughly familiar with the results to the "R" upgrade approach, it's not hard to extrapolate some expectations. The new XK aluminum platform is an excellent upgrade over the old platform. But modern Jags are shaded more toward comfort than sports traits than I think they should be. The XK-R will be in the $90sK like the last one. Will it be worth that? In the context of what cars cost today, sure, but not for its handling as its strong suit. Perhaps they will surprise me. In any case, there are other reasons for some folks to prefer that car.

    8/ The prior damage to the Cadillac brand had no bearing on my willingness to pay the price, because the car itself earns its place. I'm happy to be part of rebuilding the brand perception. No one considering a $100K car really cares financially whether it cost $10K less or $10K more. I can't imagine the V costing less than $90K retail in any sustainable scenario for Cadillac, so 90, 94, 98, 100K -- who cares? It's the most holistically advanced car in the category. It's worth it.

    9/ Yes, the SL runs rings around the SC even without a driver present. The SL and SC certainly have different dynamics, but both are indeed ponderous, though differently. Forgetting the design for a moment, the SC is both fat and sloppily sprung. It's aggressively un-incisive. Not a serious car in the least. The SL is a serious entry in the class, sure. It is made ponderous by virtue of the fact that compared to the lighter V, you can feel all its dynamics management systems constantly fighting the weight. Yeah, the tires stay planted. But the pendulum effects of that extra quarter ton....well, there's no getting away from it. It feels needlessly heavy in any situation other than straight-line travel at steady speed.

    Let's put this weight issue into further perspective. NONE of your vaunted magazine writers would agree that more weight is a good thing when you can engineer less. They all diss mass in cars they don't like. And then they don't hold DCX's feet to the fire. Cadillac delivers a retractable hardtop luxury 2-seat GT at 3810 lbs, using a hydroformed perimeter box-tube frame with rigid spine and torque tube. It surrounds this stiff driveable chassis with modern lightweight, ding-resistant, composite body panels. Jaguar delivers a ~3800 lb. cloth top convertible using an aluminum unibody with subframes, very modern manufacturing too. Maserati gets in there with steel. Mercedes saddles their short-wheelbase/long overhangs steel body car with 400 - 500 pounds more. Nice paint though. Imagine how good the SL could be if MB exercised the imagination to engineer that quarter ton OUT of the car and get down to the new class weight? If undercapitalized Jaguar can make the investment and "the world's on my shoulders" GM can innovate, why not DCX? Heck, I want to see the XLR-v get lighter too! Let's get Corvettes down to 2800 lbs., and XLR-v down to 3200 lbs. with all the luxury stuff. I didn't like the overwrought cabin of the SL, and the brand itself doesn't appeal to me. But if the car itself had been best-in-class in enough categories, I might have bought it. The big sore thumb of the SL's ponderous extra mass was distracting and disturbing to appreciation for the car. And I have to draw a line somewhere: any reasonably advanced automobile company ought to be able to keep a 2-seat perfrmance GT roadster under 4000 lbs. When you're looking at a 2 seat GT that packs the weight of a Lincoln Town Car, something's gone very wrong in product planning.

    Anyway, I live amongst a sea of SLs and I experience them first-hand routinely. Nothing about an SL prompts a single regret about owning a V, but owning the V confirms for me every day that I made the right decision.

    Phil
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    1/ I'm not biased. I came to my decision about the XLR-v over the rest of the class BEFORE I bought it. I did so based on an objective survey of the class, driving each car under nearly identical real-world conditions. I was prepared to buy any of them, except for the SC. So yeah, you can believe me at least as much as a bunch of jaded magazine jockeys who are perpetually blinded by brand.

    This I can buy, that you actually drove them all and decided what was best for you, never doubted that.

    Handling matters as much to a GT's competence and suitability as a sporting car as handling matters to a pure sports car. The difference is that you tolerate some compromises to get more comfort and amenities in the GT for extended travel. But WITHIN the class, handling is as important a criterion for selection. A retractable hardtop GT roadster/coupe is a peculiar multi-function GT, but you still want it to handle and be agile.

    And the SL has been judged by everyone but you to have equal or better handling than the XLR, period. This nonsense about how much better the XLR feels and handles hasn't helped the car at all in the marketplace because buyers of 100K GT are lookig for the whole package. Something you seem to completely miss. You act as though the SL can't handle and that my friend is BS, especially that about the SL and the SC having anything in common as far as dynamics. For what most people buy these cars for the Jaguar and Mercedes top the Cadillac without question. Want something more serious than the XK or SL550, the XKR and SL55 are waiting. Cadillac has no advantage on these cars except for weight, but the thing is none of these cars are true lightweights. The XLR being light for it's class is the same thing as when the mags say a heavier car handles good for it's weight. Either way you're spliting hairs.

    I never said the weight and handling advantage of the XLR-v is the only reason to buy the car. It's a big reason. I did plainly say that the useless extra mass of the SL is the elephant in the room, and that the XLR-v has the best balance of compromises of any car in the class. It has the most progressive, dramatic and impactful aesthetic design, best interior ergonomics, best architecture, best mass-efficiency in its platform, and is competitive in every other area.

    However in reality of marketplace and the type of buyer that usually goes for one of these cars they're looking for features and luxury not just some far-fetched notion about the XLR's handling being superior. That about the XLR's interior is your opinion, no where else have ever seen anything to support it either. The interior is the weakest link of any GM car! Where have you been? This about a different design ethic is just hilarious. A Jaguar has the same thing, but it ain't cheaply made. When oh when will that sink in? You can be different in every way regarding inteior design/function/layout etc, but the materials need not be of the cheapo variety as in the XLR. Period.

    The XLR/XLR-v are built on a sports-car-derived platform and inherit those advantages. This doesn't make them sports cars, but does help to make them more sporting GTs -- especially the V.

    Yet this has yet to amount to anything real advantage in either the market or to the press. Talk about much ado about nothing.

    You don't have to put Corvette rubber on your V, but the option exists, just as people put bigger wheels/tires on their SLs and every other car in the class. Point is, Cadillac could have spec'd tires tilted more to ultimate handling/stopping. They did not, because they chose to use the quietest run-flat to both preserve GT properties and give drivers the security of not having to change a tire on the freeway. Any owner who wants to shade the factory's chosen balance of factors is free to do so. In practical driving, the Eufori's grip will exceed the gumption of most drivers. Conventional performance rubber will certainly transmit less road rash NVH into the car.

    A grand excuse plain and simple.

    Corvette is the platform basis, the body panel basis, the ancillary systems basis, and the automatic transmission is now the same between the two cars. From a reliability standpoint, the top mechanics, the DOHC hand-built SC engine and the engine management computer are the primary differences where things can go wrong. Corvette platform experience is a good harbinger of the V's integrity. But time will tell for sure.

    What modern car is going to have trouble with body panels? All the other stuff that is shared between them I'm fully aware of which is one reason why a XLR is simply not worth 75K not to mention 100K. Secondly the XLR has a few extra features like a folding hard top and those ridiculous electronic door latches that could prove troubleseome, not saying they will, but those are some of the differences between the XLR and the Vette.

    I'm going to drive the XKR with an open mind of course. Note that I said I have driven the current XK, so I know what the platform characteristics are. I also know the difference between the prior XL and XK-R, and Ford's approach this time is very much the same, in terms of engineering differences between the new versions or XK and R. Having driven the base car, and being thoroughly familiar with the results to the "R" upgrade approach, it's not hard to extrapolate some expectations. The new XK aluminum platform is an excellent upgrade over the old platform. But modern Jags are shaded more toward comfort than sports traits than I think they should be. The XK-R will be in the $90sK like the last one. Will it be worth that? In the context of what cars cost today, sure, but not for its handling as its strong suit. Perhaps they will surprise me. In any case, there are other reasons for some folks to prefer that car.

    Again you haven't driven the car so all this about the previous version is matterless. WOW! Wait a minute you'll condem the Jaguar based on what Jaguar/Ford has done before, but I'm supposed to believe that GM has totally changed their normally laggard ways when turning a Corvette into a Cadillac? That is pretty rich don't you think? Hypocritical, very hypocritical!

    The prior damage to the Cadillac brand had no bearing on my willingness to pay the price, because the car itself earns its place.

    Apparently not, but it hasn't earned anything and Cadillac certainly hasn't. They just stopped building junk just a few years ago.

    cont....
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    No one considering a $100K car really cares financially whether it cost $10K less or $10K more. I can't imagine the V costing less than $90K retail in any sustainable scenario for Cadillac, so 90, 94, 98, 100K -- who cares? It's the most holistically advanced car in the category.

    True, 94, 98 or 100K wouldn't make a difference, but when you have a Cadillac to cost that much it certainly does because the brand doesn't have the reputation to command such money anymore. The regular 75K XLR is expensive enough compared to other Cadillac, but 100K is ridiculous for any Cadillac or GM product IMO and apparently buyers feels the same way since Cadillac can't catch any of the other cars in this class in sales. 80, 90K whatever over 65-70K is too much for a Cadillac that will drop like a rock at resale time.

    Yes, the SL runs rings around the SC even without a driver present. The SL and SC certainly have different dynamics, but both are indeed ponderous, though differently. Forgetting the design for a moment, the SC is both fat and sloppily sprung. It's aggressively un-incisive. Not a serious car in the least. The SL is a serious entry in the class, sure. It is made ponderous by virtue of the fact that compared to the lighter V, you can feel all its dynamics management systems constantly fighting the weight. Yeah, the tires stay planted. But the pendulum effects of that extra quarter ton....well, there's no getting away from it. It feels needlessly heavy in any situation other than straight-line travel at steady speed.

    What? The only part I agree with here is that about the SC430. Now their different types of ponderous? Again, the weight advantage the XLR has hasn't showed up likely due to it being under tired to begin with.

    Let's put this weight issue into further perspective. NONE of your vaunted magazine writers would agree that more weight is a good thing when you can engineer less. They all diss mass in cars they don't like. And then they don't hold DCX's feet to the fire.

    That is because all the cars in this class are somewhat heavy and they aren't sports cars! Plus, plus, plus the weight of the SL has been largely checked due to various engineering solutions. I get the XLR is lighter, but it is a lightweight in features and build quality compared to the SL and none of the other cars in this class had the option of taking a true sports car and fattening it up with wood and leather. You act as though GM has made some type of break out innovation when they've been doing platform sharing for years!

    No one but you cares about the SL's extra weight once they drive it and your continual harping about this is just plain ridiculous when the XLR has faults that you just dismiss with some excuse about it having a different design "asthetic". Specious.

    M
  • Now the problem here is that you say the XLR-v is cheaply made, and I'm telling you it isn't. When you have driven the car, you can then detail with some measure of credibility how the car is cheaply made. So far, you have only asserted over and over that others say the car is cheaply-made. You haven't said how you, personally, experience this or arrived at this conclusion.

    Now, we do know a lot about the platform because it is shared with the Corvette. Between the two cars, Corvette and XLR/XLR-v, I haven't ever read anything indicating that the structure, engine, transmission, brakes, body, or any other system in either car is "cheaply made." The only, ONLY, references to cheapness in the car have been about the interior. This is a canard.

    Yes, there are differences between the various class-competitors' interiors. These differences are minor, with the exception of the Maserati, which puts everyone else to shame. If you're not buying a Maserati, or let's also add the Aston V8 Vantage, then you're in the same realm of plastic/wood/leather/metal in all these cars. From a design and ergonomics standpoint, I prefer the masculine straightforwardness of the Cadillac. The materials are fine. Fit and finish of the interior on my car are fine. I don't see the problem. Can everything be further improved? Sure, this is true for every car in the class. Even the Maserati can stand an upgrade to some of its switchgear. In my car, everything works, everything feels good, plastics are fine, there is 360 degrees of leather, wood and metal are used appropriately. I don't see any aspect of this car that is "cheaply made."

    Mercedes has trouble delivering working electronics. Jaguar gets criticized for the "cheapness" of using some Ford switchgear and materials. Cadillac gets painted with a "GM interiors suck" brush by people who pay no attention to what's actually in the XLR-v. Frankly, I prefer to have electronics that work, presented in straightforward clean design, through materials at the touch points that feel honest, luxurious and last.

    You will understand the weight advantage of the XLR-v when you drive one. It has been amply detailed for you here.

    The Corvette, by the way, has the electronic door latch actuators too. The system is reliable, but a mechanical safety override is at your fingertips by the seat. I didn't say anyone in the class has "trouble with body panels." I pointed out that Cadillac uses lightweight composite panels and these have the added advantage of resisting dings compared to metal.

    On the Jag, you didn't assimilate my point. I don't condemn Jaguar for anything. They always produce an interesting beautiful car. I don't prefer the tuning of modern Jags on the handling/comfort axis. The relevance of the old platform to the new is that Ford's formula for R-ifying the standard XK is the same now as then. Supercharge the engine, larger wheels/tires/brakes, retune the suspension elastomers, spring rates, dampers, add appropriate cosmetic distinctions and you have an R. Pretty easy to guage where you'll end up if you've driven the base car and are waiting for the new R.

    Whatever you think about GM, no one considers the Corvette a laggard car, and no one has said the XLR-v, which is derived from Corvette, is junk.

    Phil
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