Cadillac is planning a big move upmarket.
The large, powerful Elmiraj coupe concept revealed last week is just the latest example that the resurgent luxury automaker has aspirations to play in the premium segment, selling cars in the $100,000 range.
But it’s been there before, and not that long ago.
In 2004, Cadillac introduced the XLR sports car. Based on the platform of the fifth-generation (1997-2004) Chevrolet Corvette, the retractable roof two-seat convertible was aimed squarely at the likes of the Mercedes-Benz SL and was powered by the brand’s signature Northstar V8.
The XLR debuted with a price tag above $76,000, with the high-performance XLR-V cresting $101,000 by the end of the model’s run in 2009, putting it squarely at the top of Cadillac’s lineup.
Sales were strong the first few years, but crashed with the economy and General Motors’ financial problems, leading to its cancellation. It’s aging chassis no longer able to compete with the modern machines coming out of Europe.
But now GM has an all-new Chevrolet Corvette to play with that features a cutting edge aluminum frame, high-tech active suspension and a level of refinement better than ever before.
With this in mind, at the launch of the 2014 Corvette, we asked its Chief Engineer, Tadge Jeuchter, if a Cadillac XLR comeback could be in the cards.
“This is a Corvette, it’s optimized for the Corvette market,” Juechter said. “There’s no intent to offer any other nameplate, aside from the Corvette.”
We'll take that as a "no."
You can watch the rest of our interview with Tadge Juechter at the top of this story.