Did you know that you could buy a luxury car with Corvette genes -- a hardtop convertible, no less? If not, you're not alone. No one else knew, either. They didn't sell, so the car has been cancelled.
It's the Cadillac XLR. A luxury hardtop convertible built with a Chevrolet Corvette chassis with a 4.6-liter V8 that carried it from zero to sixty in about five and half seconds, the XLR was GM's attempt at a true luxury sports car. But, Edmunds Inside Line reports, "The most expensive vehicle in the luxury brand's lineup, has been killed." The last XLR "will roll off the line in Bowling Green, Kentucky sometime this spring, making 2009 its final model year." Poor sales led to the decision. "Cadillac sold just 1,250 XLRs in 2008, a 28 percent decline from 2007 sales." Public awareness of the model was always low, with the "high water mark for its sales" coming in 2005, when Cadillac sold 3,730 XLRs - fewer than expected even at its peak.
Autoblog laments the loss. "We've driven the XLR -- the supercharged V-Series -- and we like it a lot. Rare and stylish enough to still turn heads, fast enough to paste a wide, goofy grin on your face, and comfortable enough to let you cruise for hours on end -- as good as it was, the XLR (and its V-Series counterpart) never quite got the formula perfected. It was doomed to perpetual also-ran status in its category compared to the benchmark set by the Mercedes-Benz SL." The Corvette the car was based on also boasted a few things to XLR did not - namely, "better engines, manual gearboxes," and a much lower price.
That price, Edmunds notes, had been growing higher in recent years. "When it was introduced, the Cadillac XLR was priced around $76,000, but prices rose steadily. For 2009, Cadillac only sold the XLR in its most expensive packages. The 2009 Cadillac XLR Platinum starts at $86,200, including an $840 destination charge. The 2009 Cadillac XLR-V starts at $104,200, including shipping."
Still, a luxury Corvette with eye-catching bodywork had its fans. Jalopnik called it "the brightest side we've ever seen of platform prostitution."
The silver lining for car shoppers is that the price of the last remaining XLRs is likely to come down. Buyers tend to shy away from discontinued models, so if you've always wanted a Cadillac built for white-knuckle driving, the next few months might be the best opportunity you'll ever have to own one. Research the best car deals with U.S. News' car rankings and reviews.