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First look: Cadillac XLR gets V power

Greased lightning: The supercharged Hydra-matic XLR-V promises supercar performance.

General Motors blesses its Cadillac XLR roadster with a 330kW blown V8

8 Apr 2005

CASH-STRAPPED General Motors has already launched 16 new models at motor shows this year, but that didn’t stop the world’s largest car-maker unveiling four more in New York.

Biggest news is a supercharged V8 version of the Cadillac XLR roadster, a model that could become the flagship of an Australian Cadillac range if Holden can make the business case for local right-hand drive conversions work.

Like the 298kW 5.7-litre LS6-powered CTS-V sedan, the first V-series XLR promises sub-five-second 0-100km/h acceleration.

But the XLR-V does it with a 328kW/576Nm supercharged 4.4-litre Northstar V8 with a rear-mounted 6L80 Hydra-Matic six-speed auto – 90kW and 156Nm more than the standard rear-drive XLR’s 4.4-litre DOHC V8 and more than any factory Cadillac before it.

If eventually sold here, the ultra-fast, ultra-luxurious two-seat, steel-roofed convertible – which also features hand-crafted leather, GM’s first adaptive lighting system and 19-inch wheels – would be priced above $150,000.

GM also used New York to announce production SS versions of both the 2006 Chevrolet Malibu and Malibu Maxx sedans, complete with a 180kW 3.9-litre VVT V6 and specific styling including segment-biggest 18-inch wheels.

While the front-drive SS Malibu offers Hydra-Matic 4T65-E four-speed autos, the Nurburgring-tuned 2006 Chevrolet TrailBlazer SS – also unveiled in New York as GM’s first SS-badged SUV – offers HSV’s 6.0-litre LS2 V8, sub-six-second 0-100km/h performance and lower ride height.

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