[FoRK] the 5-second press conference (XLR-V)

Rohit Khare 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 

  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 
different level:

    * 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 
V-Series vehicles.

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 
fuel economy.

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 
refinements include:

    * 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, 
restrained elegance;
    * 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 
side dash.

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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