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Cadillac XLR vs. Mercedes-Benz SL

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    trimastertrimaster Member Posts: 163
    In terms of weight, acceleration, and everything else this is a better car. It is so many thousands cheaper (XLR-V vs SL55) that you must be hysterical to think the mercedes is better. The same is true for the base cars.

    Its just better, get over it.


    No it's not. I know this is an old thread, but I found it interesting. Here's the latest review from Edmunds:

    http://www.edmunds.com/cadillac/xlr/review.html

    As impressive as it is, the Cadillac XLR roadster is not quite the "standard of the world" -- far from it. Though its styling and Cadillac badge will appeal to those looking to roll up to the valet in something different from the status quo, the XLR comes up short in terms of maximum performance and especially interior detailing when compared to its similarly priced rivals from Germany and Great Britain. Furthermore, the XLR doesn't really offer that much more than a fully loaded Corvette, which is about $20,000 cheaper and 116-hp more powerful.
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    ny3uvl714ny3uvl714 Member Posts: 3
    I've always enjoyed XLR's unique style and sporty driving attitude. :shades:
    The interior and powertrains need more polish to strongly challenge europe's best. XLR's interior is pleasant, but not deluxe enough for 80-100k.
    The engines are strong, but not powerful enough to make the Cadillac stand out from the competition.
    Cadillac had a chance to rectify this for 2009 but chose a mild refresh instead.

    http://www.leftlanenews.com/cadillac-xlr-future.html

    I suspect this mild update allowed GM to skip costly crash certification.
    If XLR received a truly new front, rear end, interior and bigger engines, NHTSA guidelines and crashworthiness would have to be re certified. This costs of millions of dollars per test!

    Too bad GM didn't at least slap some wood trim around the interior. BEFORE YOU FOLK SAY HOW TACKY THIS INTERIOR IS :P - be aware- I don't like the color of this wood or the extra piece on the bottom of the steering wheel.

    http://www.lgtautomotive.com/popup_image.php?pID=1760&image=1

    http://www.lgtautomotive.com/popup_image.php?pID=1760&image=2

    I think with darker richer wood finishes and expensive looking metal/billet pushbuttons instead of grey plastic, a dress up job like this would liven up the XLR interior.
    It wouldn't cost much more than the simple 2009 interior changes and would show some effort on Cadillac's part.
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    jlmartinjlmartin Member Posts: 7
    Before you read my comments regarding some of my comparative evaluations between Cadillac’s XLR and Mercedes-Benz’s SL550, it is worth saying, both of these luxury performance roadsters are world class and depending on your luxury sports car requirements either could be your purchase choice. For my requirements, Cadillac’s XLR ranks #1 for purchase easily over Mercedes Benz’s SL550.

    In my comments on Cadillac’s XLR and Mercedes-Benz’s SL550, I will address my key reasons why Cadillac’s XLR has a commanding purchase preference for my requirements in the luxury performance roadster segment.

    Let’s start with the basics, some of Cadillac’s XLR most advance technologies begin at a very fundamental level with chassis and body design. Cadillac’s XLR utilizes GM’s patented Performance Car Architecture, a pair of hydroformed rails with structural center tunnel, along with advance compound composites used in the XLR balsa floor construction and body panels. Additionally, extensive use of light metal alloys in aluminum and magnesium are designed into the XLR’s cockpit, suspension and roof. The key advantages of Cadillac’s XLR chassis and body design is, it is one of the most rigid, lightest high styled luxury performance roadsters existing in the world today, delivering one of the very best broad ranging dynamic driving experiences available.

    Another real life advantage of advance compound composite body panels are their durability and dent resistance properties when compared to steel or aluminum. In contrast, Mercedes-Benz’s SL550 unitized steel chassis and body panels create a superb rigid design. However, a SL550 similar optioned to Cadillac’s XLR, weighs in as the heaviest of the group and Cadillac’s XLR is the lightest by 400-600 pounds. In fact for comparison, Mercedes-Benz’s SL550 optioned similar to Cadillac’s XLR weighs more than Cadillac’s STS V8. On this design criterion alone, many would consider Cadillac’s XLR a superior design over Mercedes-Benz’s SL550.

    An additional key design benefit for the XLR other than weight savings is in Cadillac’s design decision to use advance compound composites for the XLR body panels. Cadillac’s XLR exterior design is simply breathtaking. In fact, some of the exterior styling of the Cadillac XLR is so exotic in their crisps lines, it would be virtually impossible to perform this in metal.

    When one does a visual walk around of Cadillac’s XLR and you see its gorgeous lines are uninterrupted, not even door handles intrude on the XLR exterior styling, it does create a formidable impression. GM’s engineers integrated all antennas within the composite body panels, again enhancing the exterior clean styling and modern design. In contrast, Mercedes-Benz’s SL550 displays traditional door handles and power antenna mast that exemplifies its more classic look in exterior design. In comparison to Cadillac’s XLR exterior design, the SL simply does not reach a level of exotic design in my view. Instead, the SL exterior design strikes me as a beautiful, sleek Mercedes-Benz coupe, not an exotic luxury sports car. Cadillac’s XLR exterior lines set a standard in contemporary exterior design and for my requirements; Cadillac’s XLR achieves a level of exotic style and design and is my first preference over any comparable luxury performance roadster.

    Lets transition to Cadillac’s interior, Cadillac designers and engineers have achieved an interior design in the XLR that exemplifies modern understated sophistication. This modern theme continues from the XLR’s exterior styling into its design of its interior. The XLR interior looks like no other, it is fresh and contemporary in its style with a mix of authentic soft and rich materials designed in such a way to enable a complex array of features and advance technology to feel simple and serene in its operation. No other luxury performance roadster so vividly creates such a wonderful experience with its understated graceful interior design as Cadillac’s XLR.

    Another design benefit, Cadillac’s XLR comes fully optioned which offered their designers and engineers a clear advantage by designing Cadillac’s XLR full complement of features and advance technology into the XLR’s exterior and interior without compromise. This is one of the key interior design advantages of Cadillac's XLR over the Mercedes-Benz’s SL550 that I evaluated. When you compare Mercedes-Benz's SL for example, the standard features with Cadillac's XLR are optional with Mercedes-Benz's SL550. This is not a problem per say, but as you add the optional features to the SL, some are integrated very well and others drastically change the appearance of the interior's operational controls and switch work, creating a more complex feel and in some cases it has an add-on appearance, feeling like an afterthought in its design. When I evaluated these performance luxury roadsters, Cadillac’s interior design is the most modern interpretation with minimal buttons and switchgear with some of the highest level of advance technology and features.

    Let’s continue on with advance technologies where Cadillac’s XLR strikes a powerful contrast to Mercedes-Benz SL550 in systems integration. Incorporating the world’s most advance technologies into useful and easy to use luxury, performance and safety features is one of the key indicators of superior engineering and the ultimate recognition of excellent design. And in my evaluation of Cadillac's XLR and Mercedes-Benz's SL550, both are world class in this regard. However that said, there are differences in Cadillac’s design approach versus Mercedes-Benz. In my case, again Cadillac’s XLR is my preference over Mercedes–Benz’s SL550.

    Some of the key applied technologies that enable an authoritative design for Cadillac’s XLR are in its advance body and chassis technologies with MRC (Magnetic Ride Control), Magnasteer and Stabilitrak systems integration. Advance Telematics designed by OnStar offering some of the most innovative features on the market today. Image information technology in the color Head Up Display (reconfigurable four color display), Driver Information and LCD Touch Screen Displays. Infotainment systems with its incorporation of Cadillac’s XLR advance seat design which utilizes Bose’s Personnel Surround Sound with True Space technology formulated to the XLR’s specific acoustic environment. These seats incorporate ceramic materials to offer another exclusive technology of cooled versus ventilated seats. And a real enrichment to some of these advance features in comparison to Mercedes-Benz’s SL550, is that some are exclusive in how Cadillac’s designers and engineers integrated them seamlessly into the XLR.

    And the result, Cadillac’s XLR displays a painstaking, highly integrated, easy to operate intuitive design in contrast to Mercedes-Benz’s SL550 more complex looking, old world styled design that can be complicated in its operation and does not integrate its features as we
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    jlmartinjlmartin Member Posts: 7
    Continued... well as it should in my view. This is where Cadillac’s XLR interior design excels in that Cadillac’s XLR has some of the most advance features available in this segment, but its interior remains an inviting experience that is pure in its uncomplicated modern design elegance.

    I have mentioned before, for my requirements, Cadillac’s XLR is my #1 purchase choice over Mercedes-Benz’s SL550. In fact, based on my most recent comparative evaluation, Jaguar’s XK Coupe (with Aston Martin’s Vantage coupe as my preferred exotic sports car) has replaced Mercedes-Benz’s SL550 as my # 2 purchase choice from a style and design perspective. Mercedes-Benz’s SL550 is the least attractive to my tastes and with their 2009 styling updates; Mercedes-Benz's SL550 is no longer on my final purchase list.

    In my examination, Cadillac’s designers, engineers and builders have created a stellar luxury performance roadster in the XLR that is exotic in its design.

    JLM
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    ny3uvl714ny3uvl714 Member Posts: 3
    .... is where Cadillac’s XLR interior design excels in that Cadillac’s XLR has some of the most advance features available in this segment, but its interior remains an inviting experience that is pure in its uncomplicated modern design elegance.

    You dont get it do you? :confuse:

    I agree that the XLR interior neatly intergrates its advance features.
    However, at 80-100k the interior design looks unfinished.
    XLR's interior motif looks like it belongs in a 45k SRX or the 30k first generation CTS.

    Back in 2003 I felt the XLR was sharp, but not impressive enough to compete strongly against luxury imports.

    Sales figures of XLR have proven what i knew 5 years ago.

    The standard $80k XLR should have the current 443hp XLR-V engine and equipment

    The $100k XLR-V should add the 550hp supercharged CTS-V
    engine paired up with an automatic.

    Both should have an ultra luxury interior copied directly from Cadillac’s Sixteen concept.

    This may seem like overkill, but during the last 20 years Cadillac has lost much prestige and money. :sick:
    To regain prestige, Cadillac must go above and beyond what the competition is doing at the same price.
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    jlmartinjlmartin Member Posts: 7
    I do get your point, we simply do not agree. For my comparative evaluation Mercedes-Benz's SL550 should offer more than an interior that looks like a coupe, a nice coupe, but so common and familiar. And again when you option the SL550 to the level of Cadillac's XLR, the SL550's interior becomes a sea of buttons and for my requirements that does bode of a better interior design, but less. Mercedes-Benz’s SL550 is my least favored interior design of what I have evaluated. I very much wanted to like and purchase Mercedes-Benz's SL500 over Cadillac's XLR, but every time I compared these two wonderful luxury sports cars, Cadillac's XLR simply impressed me as the better design.

    I wish Cadillac all the sales success, but quite honestly I do not select my luxury performance roadster on who sells the most cars, but instead on the best designed luxury sports car, bar none. Cadillac's XLR was my first preference in 2005 and I purchased it over Mercedes-Benz's SL500. Now, fast forward to 2008 and my mission is to replace my 2005 Cadillac XLR with a new luxury performance roadster. So I evaluated Jaguar's XK convertible and Mercedes-Benz's SL550 and I prefer the styling of the new Jag over the SL550. But the Jaguar XK is missing some key features, and advance technology. Jaguar does not offer a hardtop convertible only a softtop and telematics are not offered at all, which is surprising when you consider Jaguar's XK is latest platform to hit the market. So, the Jaguar's XK is eliminated early and now this leaves again a purchase decision for 2009, Cadillac's XLR or Mercedes-Benz's SL550

    For my comparative evaluation, I reviewed Mercedes-Benz's SL550 again and for 2009 there are some styling changes for the SL550, but less appealing than the previous year, in my view. I will give credit the new front end looks more aggressive and less common compared to last year’s model, but it looks less refined. The rear exhaust design is refine and simply gorgeous. In order to evaluate what Cadillac has to offer in the XLR, I attended the 2008 Cadillac XLR Rendezvous III in Bowling Green KY. This annual Cadillac XLR owner event was the world preview of Cadillac's 2009 XLR. From a styling perspective, Cadillac's designers created changes that are subtle but stunning. From the new Cadillac XLR Platinum front end to the functional vents to the absolutely gorgeous rear end and exhaust design, Cadillac has somehow enhanced the beautiful and exotic styling of the XLR. So again from my perspective Cadillac's XLR offers a more modern, exotic exterior design.

    Power remains unchanged for Cadillac’s XLR and Mercedes-Benz’s SL550 for 2009 and both offer competitive performance to each other in driving experience. But again, Cadillac offers the better design with the XLR ‘s Performance Car Architecture and Magnetic Ride Control which translates to a luxury sports car that is quiet, smooth riding, but handles your favorite twisty roads with precision. Mercedes-Benz’s SL550 is just as quiet, smooth riding and handles your favorite twisty road with precision. The difference between the Cadillac XLR is it feels better to drive than the Mercedes-Benz’s SL550 to my taste. I strongly suspect it is the 400-600 additional pounds the SL550 has to carry, which again I evaluate as the lesser design when compared to Cadillac’s XLR.

    After attending the 2008 Cadillac XLR Rendezvous III event and returning home to Connecticut, I called my Cadillac dealership and informed them I would be replacing my 2005 XLR with a 2009 XLR model. For me, I simply want to purchase the best designed luxury roadster that meets my requirements and Cadillac’s 2009 XLR is my first preference.

    JLM
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    laurasdadalaurasdada Member Posts: 4,778
    I appreciate your thoughts on this topic. Of course, you are absolutely correct in your reviews/opinions and I envy that you are able to purchase such lovely toys!

    Former Ct. resident here. Did you drive the XLR year round? I'm guessing not...

    '21 Dark Blue/Black Audi A7 PHEV (mine); '22 White/Beige BMW X3 (hers); '20 Estoril Blue/Oyster BMW M240xi 'Vert (Ours, read: hers in 'vert weather; mine during Nor'easters...)

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    jlmartinjlmartin Member Posts: 7
    Hi laurasdada,

    Thank you and I actually do drive the XLR all year but not as much when snow falls except when the streets are clear. Driving the car all year long is a real benefit in my view.

    JLM
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    ny3uvl714ny3uvl714 Member Posts: 3
    Im disappointed but not surprised that our Cadillac XLR has been cancelled as of February 2009.

    I've enjoyed Cadillac convertibles for 34 years, ever since Grandma drove me to the beach with the top down way back in 1975. It was the weekend after she bought her new Eldorado and my first ride in a convertible. Eight years later I turned 16 and Grandma gave me the Eldorado.

    Currently own an 04 XLR and a 93 Allante and love them both. Having followed Cadillac for most of my life and being painfully aware of its recent history, I've always felt our XLR needed more refinement and marketing support to avoid following in Allante’s footsteps as a short lived one generation car.

    When the XLR came out I caught a lot of flack for my first post:

    4-10-2003 Next Generation Northstar Needs MORE POWER!!!

    I am pleased to see Cadillac going after the 2 seat hi-lux market segment with its XLR.
    I am displeased that Cadillac still thinks it can get away with putting in merely adequate horsepower in a flagship model.
    The pretty but flawed Allante had only 200 hp until 1993(last year of production), its competitors featured 300+ hp V8 and V12 engines. Cadillac’s balky manual top, FWD and modest performance made Allante seem half assed.
    This time Cadillac has: correct for its segment RWD and an automated convertible hardtop. Unfortunately 315 hp is not enough when you pay $75,000! Currently 400+hp is the class standard.

    Again someone is asleep at the wheel.

    WAKE UP CADILLAC!!! In order to regain market share you have to WONDERFULLY OUTDO THE COMPETITION while providing the same price point.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Despite Cadillac's shortsightedness I bought my XLR anyway and enjoy it daily.

    Last summer I felt XLR was endangered and received disagreement for this post:

    6-19-2008

    Back in 2003 I felt the XLR was sharp, but not impressive enough to compete strongly against luxury imports.
    OF COURSE I GOT LOTS OF GRIEF from folks with their heads in the clouds or worse.

    Sales figures of XLR have proven what i knew 5 years ago.

    The standard $80k XLR should have the current 443hp XLR-V engine and equipment

    The $100k XLR-V should add the 550hp supercharged CTS-V
    engine paired up with an automatic.

    Both should have an ultra luxury interior copied directly from Cadillac’s Sixteen concept.

    This may seem like overkill, but during the last 20 years Cadillac has lost much prestige and money.
    To regain prestige, Cadillac must go above and beyond what the competition is doing at the same price.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I caught even stronger disagreement when I spelled out my concern about the XLR's future:

    6-20-2008

    What no one seems to admit here is that Cadillac has lost tons of prestige and sales and is now playing catch up in its own domestic market.
    To regain that credibility, GM must go over the top with its newest Cadillac models. Yes the XLR weighs less and looks better at the curb than the europeans. However it is not over the top enough in performance or interior presentation to stand high above the competition. For XLR to succeed and continue production, just being competent wont cut it. Class leading road performance, reliability and interior decor are crucial. Without these attributes and generous amounts of smart advertising /promotion/PR , Cadillac will continue as an also ran in its own home market and the XLR will go away . I want Cadillac to be #1 in the US luxury market.

    I am passionate about American cars, especially Cadillac and have always been concerned for the jobs of those making American cars. I have never bought an imported/import branded car. My XLR despite its shortcomings has been a very good car, it would have been a pleasure to buy another one.

    What puzzles me are the negative or strongly dissenting forum responses to my pointing out areas where our cars could stand some improvement.

    Is it that some of our folks here are in denial, just like GM has been for so long?
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    jlmartinjlmartin Member Posts: 7
    Greetings All,

    I share agreement in the opinion Cadillac required more advertising of the XLR, due to the segment of this market is very limited and I view this to be the weak link for XLR sales, not the product itself. That is not to say more power and improvements are not required to remain competitive and superior in this segment of luxury performance roadsters. That said, recently I evaluated Cadillac's 2009 XLR Platinum, Jaguar's XK Convertible, Mercedes-Benz's SL550 and Aston Martin's Vantage Convertible to replace my 2005 Cadillac XLR. All of these luxury performance roadsters are world class products.

    From a pure design perspective, there are only two luxury performance roadsters that reach to the level of exotic and they are Aston Martin's Vantage Convertible and Cadillac's XLR Platinum. I simply adore both of these designs and for different reasons they are my first place picks. Cadillac’s XLR Platinum advance engineering, technology, systems integration and features are superior. The Aston Martin’s Vantage Convertible detail interior craftsmanship, palate selection of color and materials are superior. But clearly the performance design of Aston Martin’s Vantage Convertible is more in line with Cadillac’s XLR-V. However, both give up a small measure of ride comfort and overall refinement for the performance advantage. This brings me back to Cadillac’s XLR Platinum. It embodies all of the best attributes of an exotic designed sports car GT coupe, luxury performance roadster and one of the most advanced technology sports cars produced on the planet.

    I have decided to replace my 2005 Cadillac XLR and the best luxury performance roadster for my requirements is the 2009 Cadillac XLR Platinum. I placed my order with my Cadillac dealer and we take delivery today. For my requirements, I simply want the best the world has to offer in a luxury performance roadster and Cadillac’s 2009 XLR Platinum gets the sale.

    JLM
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    hongkong8hongkong8 Member Posts: 1
    Porsche 911 Cab Versus SL55 AMG Looking for some help on a tough call. I am looking to buy either a used 2005, 911 (997) Cab or an SL55 AMG. The car is for that little extra escape and therefore I am looking for some fun as well as a level of comfort. Does anyone have any helpful thoughts or experiences with either?
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