2005 Cadillac XLR

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2005 Cadillac XLR
RCR Cadillac XLR Thumb.jpg
Car Details
Make Cadillac
Model XLR
Year 2005
Owner Ali
Episode Details
Episode Link Watch
Season All Bets Are Off.
Air Date June 27, 2016
Credits u/Ianator

We review the 2005 Cadillac XLR and think about how this is a slumlord's idea of a "Rich Person's Car."

A playlist of 'Boomer Mix 2005' can be found on YouTube here.


I want a Corvette C5 but I wanna pay more, go slower and not have an LS.



This is a Caddie and it's a nice car,
One car and one (???) the King of Northstar,
This ain't a Corvette but it's a nice car,
And it's an XLR, mmm hmmm~



2005 Cadillac XLR. This is a Corvette. It's a Corvette! It's a Corvette for an apartment building owner who just sold all of his property, real estate, and wants to throw his money at something as expensive and ridiculous as his Oakley sunglasses.

Cadillac XLR: The car you win if you get the final puzzle right in Wheel of Fortune. Really, you just wanted money but nope! Now you have to pay taxes on the car before they'll let you take ownership and sell it and you probably won't get the original asking price once you do. So enjoy your debt! And sorry but John Oliver isn't around to forgive it this time.

A boomer dreams of owning a Cadillac in the same way he dreams about owning a boat. Because out there, beyond the breakers, her lawyers can't find him. So he has a Cadillac XLR and it has a CD player - *urrrhhh* - and you know he drives this Caddie with a mix CD his nephew made for him by request.

Here's what happened: Uncle Caddie Security Deposit gave his nephew a list of songs written on the back of a used envelope. And the nephew cringed at the tracklist of predictable boomer drivel that he just agreed to assemble.

Here we go. (Caption: Boomer Mix 2005)

Track one: "Life is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane.
Track two: "Thunder Road" by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
Track three: "Hollywood Nights" by Bob Seger.
Track four: "Born to be Wild" by Steppenwolf (misspelled as Steppinwolf)
Track five: "Can't You See" by Marshall Tucker band. Hm, little bit of subtext there.
Number six: "Pink Cadillac" by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. 
Track seven: "Little Deuce Coupe" by the Beach Boys.
Track eight: "Surf City" by Jan and Dean or Brian Wilson depending on how you see it.
Track nine: "King of the Road" by Roger Miller.
And track ten... "Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed?

And- and the nephew looks at his uncle and says, "Do you know what that song's about?" And the uncle says, "Yeah, it's about the wild side of town!" And the nephew pauses for a beat and says, "Yeah. Yeah, that's what it's about."

The automatic shifter is smooth and tapered unlike the C4 which was FLARED LIKE A HORSE'S ERECTION.

Cadillac XLR: For the man who catches a skateboard competition between ESPN channels. He watches it long enough to watch a competitor fall, he tisks, shakes his head and switches to the Golf Channel.

Cadillacs are bona fide classics but the modern Caddies are more overrated than The Martian. But a healthy respect for Cadillacs is as all-natural as Breyer's ice cream or elderly people spooning in the nude. It's as natural as trying Tinder for a week... and then deleting it because what is Tinder, really? It's supposed to be a hookup app but it's become a home to spam bots and women with boyfriends looking for a self esteem boost that their men aren't giving them.

This Cadillac has a 4.6-liter Northstar V8 that makes 320 horsepower and it's built on the C5 chassis. This is the only non-Corvette to be built in a Corvette plant. Moreover, only 15,000 Cadillac XLRs were made. So there's a higher insurance on this Cadillac than on the Hellcat.

But oh man. The Northstar. We half to talk about this. The GM Northstar motor- it's a horrible lump of a powerplant. It's a disgusting engine that no one asked for and no one needed. It's full of more useless procedures than a crooked dentist.

The GM Fist of North Star motor is as bloody as the anime which shares its name. This aluminum block is prone to head gasket failure, block cracking, head bolts backing themselves out and it eats its own belt. Why does this motor even exist? Why have a 4.6-liter Northstar when the XLR could've had the 5.7-liter LS motor?

Al-alright, I- I get it, the Northstar is more 'sophisticated', it's overhead cam instead of cam-in-block and it's four valves per cylinder instead of the LS which was two. But it doesn't add up on paper because everything the Northstar can do, the LS can do better, more reliably and cheaper. Maybe GM was trying to come up with a motor that could go after Ford's, y'know, 4.6-liter Modular? I mean, that was an overhead cam motor as well. But it's like GM were making- were making a motor just to make it complicated.

That's it. The only reason the Northstar motor exists is to move pamphlets. The people who were interested in cars that had- for some reason people thought that, "Oh, cam-in-block motors, oh that's amamrmrmrm that's, arhm- I'm a sophisticated American, I- I like things that aren't old tech. Ah, GM Northstar, finally they're gettin' with the times."

But this motor doesn't work. It only looks good in a pamphlet. "Oooh, a Cadillac 32-valve engine. Yeah, take that, Europe!" And initially, in the days, this *was* a good motor but it didn't have the lasting endurance that the LS motor does.

Granted, the Cadillac XLR does provide a comfortable drive. It is more comfortable than a Corvette C5. Nothing that's gonna blow your mind, but very welcoming. And there's freedom here. Like rubbing one out after you move out of your parents' house, get your first apartment and realize you don't have to worry anymore about someone walking in on you. That kind of freedom.

And it has a kind of elaborate folding roof... that takes a while... You're supposed to look at the Cadillac XLR as the 'gentleman's Corvette' although it's hard to know who this gentleman is exactly. Like mine and the Roman's mutual attraction to art majors, the XLR defies any attempt to explain the enthusiasm for it. I mean, you can be enthusiastic for this car because you're not gonna see another one of these. And to see one that's running and doesn't have any problems, well, that's even rarer. And this one has no problems. The Northstar is working. The block didn't crack. So there you go.

If you can afford a 2005 XLR, you could just buy a C5 or a C6 outright. Sure it has Corvette-esque qualities but it feels like the only reason it exists is to give you a Corvette without the Corvette name. In a way it makes sense if you wanna be a Corvette guy without any of the popular conceptions, both wrong and otherwise, of actually being a Corvette guy.

Say what you will but historically the word 'Cadillac' carries more cultural weight than 'Corvette'. 'Cadillac' doesn't conjure up images of aftermarket exhausts that sound like you're emptying a sack of nickels down a rusty drain pipe. 'Cadillac' doesn't call to mind the thought of guys whose- their idea of decorating their car is to airbrush their own car onto the engine cover. No one is going to paint flames on the side of an XLR. No one is going to have a Looney Tunes theme going on with the floor mats. Or bros who curb stomp watermelons to recreate the elevator scene from Drive.

'Cadillac' was your grandpa. It calls to mind an old man who loved his car because it was the second big purchase he made after the war. And he took care of the car, waxed it every Sunday and let you have a go in an empty parking lot when you were twelve. And when you accidentally backed your Pontiac Sunfire into it when you were seventeen, you had your first real panic attack because you blew it. You were grandpa's favorite but now you're a lost cause and how could grandpa ever love you again when you just destroyed his first love?

But when his anger faded he simply clasped you on the back and said, "Let's get to work." And you spent a weekend underneath the car unbolting the chrome bumper, searching junkyards for the same-year replacement bumper and sitting zenlike with a random orbital buffer making that replacement bumper shine like new and winding back the clock. Because car repair can be frustrating but for some people it's the only real measure of control they really have over their lives.

And so it was, with you and gramps passing tools back and forth and talking about pussy. And bare knuckle boxing. And rock'n'roll. And how this car will be yours someday. Grandpa's gone but every time you hear the word 'Cadillac', you're back in that garage and nothing else in the world matters.

That's Cadillac. And this isn't. This is an experiment. An admirable experiment but it was a failure. Cadillac may produce some sort of concept car like this again and shove it into production for a little while but it's hard to break out of that big boat '60s mode. Because that's what we want from Cadillac and we don't want this because in our mind's eye Cadillac never was this.

I get it. The XLR is for a much younger crowd. This really isn't for boomers who just view youth as a terminal condition. Then again, it isn't for the newly minted drivers who just got their first big paycheck from working at Dorney Park all summer.

No. The Cadillac XLR is for the Gen X professional. Someone in his early 40s. Someone who's in between deciding what they want to do with the rest of their lives and coming to the realization that inertia has already decided for them.



One time there was a car,
It was an XLR,
And it went by the name of Cadillac.

Displacement four-point-six,
Not made for getting chicks,
But did I mention it's a Cadillac?
ey dude, I wonder what a C5 goes for,
With a brand new LS motor,
Yet, you'll never quite forget,
This gentlemen's Corvette,
The car that's known as Caa-dill-laaac- *cough* augh, uugh...