For 2007, Cadillac’s luxury roadster receives a six-speed automatic transmission in place of 2006’s five-speed; OnStar features a turn-by-turn navigation service; and there’s a redesigned key fob. New packages include an ultra-luxury Platinum model and Passion Red Special Edition model; on the outside, Red Passion replaces Blue Steel, while inside, Cashmere interior trim replaces Shale.

Sharing its platform with the Chevrolet Corvette, the XLR carries a 4.6-litre Northstar engine, enhanced this year with a six-speed automatic transmission originally seen on the XLR-V. Its lightweight retractable roof, made of aluminum, magnesium and composite exterior panels, contains a heated glass backlight and glass rear quarter windows, and takes less than thirty seconds to complete its travel at the push of a button.

The XLR comes in a single trim line, and features Xenon headlights with washers and automatic control, fog lights, LED taillights and third brakelight, heated mirrors with driver’s side auto-dimming, rear parking assist, rain-sensing wipers, automatic dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, HomeLink garage door opener, head-up display (HUD), tire pressure monitoring system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, OnStar, DVD-based navigation system with multilingual voice recognition, XM Satellite Radio, memory/personalization package, express up/down windows, leather-wrapped wheel with audio and cruise controls, power tilt and telescopic steering column, cargo net, perforated leather heated and cooled seats with eight-way power adjusters, Bose six-CD stereo, Magnasteer speed-sensitive variable-assist steering, Magnetic Ride Control, and keyless access system.

The Platinum package, first seen on a special Escalade model, includes Liquid Amethyst or Raven Black exterior paint, chrome grille, 15-spoke 18-inch polished wheels, unique badging, unique door sill plates, and wood and metal accents. The Passion Red Special Edition, built as a limited-edition series, has a chrome grille, 18-inch chrome wheels and numbered sill plate.

The XLR-V starts with the XLR, but adds a hand-assembled, 443-hp supercharged V8, mated to a six-speed transmission, for a zero-to-100 km/h acceleration time of less than five seconds. Chassis enhancements include larger brakes, recalibrated Magnetic Ride Control, larger front stabilizer bar, the addition of a rear stabilizer bar, stiffer rear lower control arm bushings, larger wheels and tires, power steering fluid cooler, and higher-capacity fuel pump.

Unique XLR-V styling cues include polished wire mesh upper and lower front grilles, sculpted hood, 10-spoke aluminum wheels, four polished exhaust tips, black-finish brake calipers, and unique badging. Inside, there are extensive leather-wrapped surfaces, perforated suede fabric seat inserts, and wood and aluminum accents.

The most expensive model in Cadillac’s line-up, the XLR is a powerful performer; its rear-mounted transmission helps give it a near 50/50 weight distribution, while steel hydroformed perimeter frame rails, aluminum cockpit configuration and composite floors provide strength while keeping weight down. Like the Corvette, the XLR returns impressive acceleration while remaining very easy and comfortable to drive, and the XLR-V simply makes everything better. Should you want a sports car without the kidney-belt ride, this Cadillac is a contender.

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