From its debut in 2003, only minor cosmetic changes – namely new dark eucalyptus wood interior trim and the replacement of the thunder grey exterior color with blue steel – occur in 2005. With so much of the Cadillac XLR in tact, it’s a good thing this is a rabidly cool car. The two-door gets plenty of eye-contact, whether it’s being presented as a coupe or as a convertible. (Transforming the XLR from hardtop coupe to open air roadster requires only the push of a center console-located button. The top, made of aluminum and magnesium with composite exterior panels and side glass, retracts in 30 seconds.) The high-tech items on the car include a heads up display to project the vehicle’s speed on the windshield, and a push button ignition start. The no-key ignition is a neat concept. But in order to start the vehicle, you still need to carry on person (or purse or briefcase) a key fob. It’s pretty easy to imagine someone carrying the key fob – after using it to unlock the doors – stashing the fob in the cupholder during the drive, then exiting the vehicle without the fob. In that instance, the car becomes a very easy theft target.

XLR can crunch the 0 to 60 mph numbers game in less than 6 seconds. With a 4.6-liter Northstar V8 (producing 320 horsepower at 6400 rpm and 310 pounds-feet of peak torque at 4400 rpm) inside a 3,647-pound car, no wonder the car can move f-a-s-t. The XLR also provides a 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution, which helps make it very nimble on the curves. While the speed sensitive steering is a nice appointment, the steering has a bit more “play” than necessary for a luxury roadster. The rear wheel drive car is flush with standard fare, including adaptive cruise control, ultrasonic rear park assist, Bose AM/FM/6-disc CD changer with DVD navigation and voice recognition, 18-inch run flat Michelin tires, and 4-wheel independent suspension with magnetic ride control. The V8 with five-speed automatic transmission notches fuel per gallon estimates of 17 city and 25 highway. Cadillac XLR’s MSRP is $75,835.