[FoRK] the 5-second press conference (XLR-V)
rohit at commerce.net
Fri Mar 25 16:12:48 PST 2005
March 24, 2005
Best Performance by an Automaker: Cadillac, for the XLR-V Press
By JIM McCRAW
Introduced on Wednesday: 2006 Cadillac XLR-V
What's the point? Cadillac's XLR roadsters have been somewhat
sluggish in accelerating out of showrooms, so the company is raising
the ante with an ultrahigh-performance version.
Is it real? The XLR-V is a genuine production car and a logical
addition to Cadillac's V-series of "factory tuner" models.
The company line: Cadillac has been promoting the Corvette-based XLR-V
on its CadillacUnder5.com Web site, the name referring to the car's
0-60 m.p.h. time. So when Robert A. Lutz, vice chairman of General
Motors, introduced the car to the assembled journalists, he delivered
his message in less than five seconds prrobably setting a record for
brevity in the process. The Web site offers selected entries from an
online contest for videos on the subject of Cadillac performance all
with running times of less than five sseconds.
The view from here: The XLR-V joins the CTS-V and STS-V as the newest
member Cadillac's fleet of performance cars, and we like the design
execution of the XLR-V best of all. The fine mesh grille sets the
V-Series car apart from its sibling, and the 19-inch alloy wheels work
well with the origami sheet metal of the XLR.
What makes it tick? The XLR-V is powered by a supercharged,
440-horsepower version of the Northstar V-8 (120 horsepower more than
the regular XLR), backed by a new 6-speed automatic transmission that
offers manual or automatic shifting modes.
How much? How soon? Because Mr. Lutz's press conference was so brief,
no details regarding showroom availability or pricing were made
available. But it is a 2006 model and will probably be at least $5,000
more than the XLR, which has a window sticker of about $75,000.
* 440-horsepower Supercharged Northstar V-8 Engine
* Rear-Mounted Hydra-Matic Six-Speed Automatic Transmission
* Handcrafted Leather-wrapped Interior
* Adaptive Forward Lighting System
* V -Series Design Cues Throughout
NEW YORK – The 2006 Cadillac XLR-V – the newest addition to the luxury
nameplate’s growing family of high-performance V-Series vehicles –
establishes a new benchmark for the ultra-luxury class of
high-performance roadsters in power, performance and personal
Like its mainstream XLR sibling, the XLR-V combines distinctively bold
styling with contemporary luxury, ingenious technologies,
rear-wheel-drive performance, and near 50/50 weight distribution for
enhanced balance and vehicle dynamics – yet it does so on an entirely
* Equipped with a supercharged Northstar engine and rear-mounted
six-speed automatic transmission, the high-performance luxury roadster
effectively delivers 0-to-60 performance in under 5 seconds;
* Exterior and interior appointments clearly identify the
two-seater as a V-Series family member, including application of a
signature wire-mesh grille, larger 19-inch wheels at all four corners,
and ebony wood and aluminum accents throughout the interior;
* Chassis refinements enable surefootedness on the street or the
track and include larger brakes, stabilizer bars, wheels and tires, a
performance-calibrated Magnetic Ride Control (MR) system;
* An Adaptive Forward Lighting system, a first-time application on
a Cadillac, which automatically adjusts headlamp direction up to
15-degrees for improved night driving vision.
Like XLR, the XLR-V will be built at GM’s state-of-the-art,
award-winning Bowling Green assembly center.
Supercharged Northstar engine
At the heart of the XLR-V is the new, 4.4-liter version of the
Northstar engine outfitted with a positive displacement intercooled
supercharger. The dual overhead cam (DOHC) V-8 engine delivers the
highest horsepower rating of any Cadillac engine to date.
Called the Northstar V-8 SC (supercharged), the engine produces 440
horsepower (328 kW) at 6400 rpm and 425 lb.-ft. (576 Nm) torque at 3600
rpm (power and torque figures estimated) – and the engine’s power is
underscored by its ability to deliver 90 percent of its peak torque
between 2200 and 6000 rpm.
The Northstar V-8 SC generates 120 horsepower (90 kW) and 115 lb.-ft.
(156 Nm) of torque more than its naturally aspirated counterpart, while
its specific output of 100-horsepower-per-liter makes it one of the
world’s highest specific output production V-8 engines.
However, the Northstar V-8 SC used in the XLR-V is more than just power
and torque. The DOHC engine includes variable valve timing that enables
outstanding top-end performance while maintaining the expected
refinement and quality associated with a luxury marque.
The aggressive torque curve enabled by the choice of a supercharged
engine gives the XLR-V acceleration capable of placing it firmly in the
under-5-second-club for 0-to-60 time – a signature capability of
The refined shift feel is enabled by careful electronic calibration of
both the engine and transmission. During shifts, power is
instantaneously lowered, then ramped back up carefully to make gear
changes virtually unnoticeable.
Air induction & exhaust
The air induction system on the XLR-V was redesigned to address
packaging needs created by the larger engine and addition of the
These modifications increased the flow of air to the engine by 30
percent, funneling it from the front air intake over the radiator and
to the supercharger via two ducts, which converge into one prior to
reaching the supercharger so only one mass air flow sensor is required.
The system was designed to be as free flowing as possible, bringing in
the maximum amount of air to the supercharger. Each duct has been
carefully tuned to minimize supercharger whine and resonance in order
to achieve the most pleasing intake sound quality.
The exhaust system features a unique muffler design, which effectively
combines the construction of a more conventional muffler with a
high-performance flow-through design. In order to keep sound levels at
a pleasant, throaty pitch during everyday driving on streets and
expressways, the exhaust is routed through a series of internal
chambers that muffle sound levels . During more aggressive driving, a
vacuum-actuated Pierburg valve in the muffler opens to allow straight
exhaust flow-through. There are some perforations in the pipe to allow
some dissipation into the other muffler chambers, but the overall
effect is to reduce backpressure and increase power.
Six-speed automatic transmission
The Northstar V-8 SC is mated to the all-new Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed
automatic transmission – the first use of General Motors’ new six-speed
automatic in a rear-mounted configuration.
The 6L80 – the only transmission offered on the XLR-V – is one of the
most technologically advanced automatic transmissions in the industry,
using clutch-to-clutch operation and an advanced integrated 32-bit
transmission controller to deliver smooth and precise shifts. In
addition, a wide 6.04:1 overall ratio spread enhances performance and
The 6L80 also incorporates a host of advanced driving enhancement
features, including advanced Performance Algorithm Shifting (PAS),
Performance Algorithm Liftfoot (PAL), and Driver Shift Control (DSC).
PAS lets the electronic transmission controller override the automatic
gear selection during closed throttle high lateral acceleration
maneuvers, rapidly downshifting with the release of the torque
converter clutch for smooth powering up when the throttle is reopened.
PAL minimizes transmission upshifts during closed throttle driving and
cornering to maintain the correct gear and alleviate “busyness.” Driver
Shift Control allows the driver to sequentially shift gears manually
via the gearshift lever.
Performance-tuned chassis systems
Chassis modifications found on the XLR-V when compared to its
mainstream sibling include larger brakes; recalibrated Magnetic Ride
Control (MR); larger front stabilizer bar and the addition of a rear
stabilizer bar; stiffer rear lower control arm bushings; larger wheels
and tires; a power steering fluid cooler; and a higher-capacity fuel
The most noticeable change is in the braking system to assure strong
stopping power and smooth, confident brake operation, coinciding with
the increased power and handling capabilities of the XLR-V.
To achieve this, chassis engineers turned to J55 brakes, essentially
the same application used in the Z51 Corvette with larger cross-drilled
rotors and high-performance brake lining. Front rotors are 13.4-inches
(340.4 mm) in diameter; rear rotors are 13.0-inches (330.2 mm). The
thickness of the rotor cheeks on both the front and rear has been
increased for added thermal capacity. The brake system incorporates
dual-piston front calipers, and single-piston rear calipers.
Magnetic Ride Control on the XLR-V has been recalibrated to account for
the enhanced handling characteristics the roadster’s surpercharged
performance demands. The system seeks to keep the body on an even plane
at all times, giving drivers a comfortable ride by dramatically
reducing disturbances to the vehicle body.
The MR recalibration – combined with a stiffer front stabilizer bar,
the addition of a rear stabilizer bar, and stiffer rear control arm
bushings – subtly changes the driving characteristics of the XLR-V when
compared to the standard XLR. Another V-Series staple is a four
channel/four-selection mode chassis control system (StabiliTrak),
enabling the driver to switch between four stability settings,
including a "less-governed" performance mode for the performance
Wheels and tires have been increased in size for enhanced
sure-footedness, to 235/45R-19 on the front and 255/40R -19 rear. The
tires are Pirelli run flats.
Cooling strategies for high performance
To meet the increased demands of the XLR-V powertrain and power
steering systems, a number of enhancements were made in the cooling
systems to assure the vehicle can realize its full performance
potential while meeting all the expectations for refinement and
sophistication expected in an ultra-luxury roadster. These enhancements
* Auxiliary engine oil cooler (EOC);
* Auxiliary transmission oil cooler (TOC);
* Large auxiliary cooler inlet and outlet openings;
* Dedicated supercharger radiator;
* Power steering fluid cooler, which consists of a tube wrapped
with wire bristles, giving it an appearance similar to a hairbrush.
Unlike more traditional finned coolers, the bristle design allows air
to flow through the cooler from all directions, creating more efficient
and effective cooling;
* Louvers have been added in the wheel liners behind the auxiliary
coolers to exit air from the coolers and to help improve brake cooling.
V -Series styling modifications
Styling modifications have imparted a more aggressive character to the
XLR-V in keeping with its enhanced performance capabilities, while
retaining an aura of refined elegance. Exterior and interior design
* Polished wire mesh upper and lower front grilles, a V-Series
* Aggressively sculpted hood instantly marking the XLR-V as a
supercharged-powerhouse. While the dome is enclosed and does not bring
additional air into the engine, its function is to make room for the
* New 10-spoke aluminum wheel design with sterling silver finish;
* Unique V-Series and Supercharged badging that subtly proclaims
the XLR-V’s pedigree, including “XLR-V” and “Supercharged” badges on
the front fenders, doors and deck lid;
* Four polished stainless steel exhaust tips;
* Black finish brake calipers with machined V-Series logo;
* Three exterior color offerings: Infra Red, Black Raven and Light
* Zingana Wood, an ebony-hued wood with a distinctive grain, is
used on the shifter knob, cup holder area, steering wheel, and on
portions of the door and center console;
* The upper portion of the interior is ebony with either shale or
ebony as the dominant lower color, maintaining a sense of quiet,
* Ebony leather with French stitching wraps interior components
throughout, from the top of the IP, and roll hoops to the door trim,
arm rests, center console and steering wheel;
* The soft, supple leather seats with French stitching are either
all ebony or shale with matching perforated suede fabric inserts on
both the seats and accent trim on the door panels;
* Aluminum accent pieces throughout the interior, from the sill
plates to the center stack trim plate surrounding the radio and
steering wheel accents, are in a new Kinetic pattern;
* V -Series badging highlights the instrument cluster and passenger
Adaptive Forward Lighting
The XLR-V is the first Cadillac to be equipped with AFS, an advanced
forward lighting system that uses sensors to determine speed and
steering wheel angle input in determining how fast and how far to turn
the headlamps for improved night driving vision.
Using a stepper motor and controller, the system is capable of turning
the headlamps from straight ahead to 15-degrees inboard and 5-degrees
outboard on each lamp, which work in tandem.
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