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The Reason The Cadillac XLR Was A Failure

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The Reason The Cadillac XLR Was A Failure

Cadillac XLR-V
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By Alvin Reyes/May 16, 2022 11:39 am EDT

Cadillac adopted the "The Standard of the World" slogan after winning the prestigious Dewar Trophy in 1908, the Nobel Price of car engineering, according to America's Car Museum. The Dewar Trophy is a salute to Cadillac's advancements in precision machining and parts interchangeability. Cadillac won the Dewar trophy again in 1912 for pioneering the electric starter and electric auto lights, further cementing the brand's reputation for producing the world's best cars.

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Cadillac recently unveiled its most powerful SUV, the 682-horsepower Escalade-V, and the brand left a lasting impression with its luscious Blackwing sedans. But if there's one thing missing from Cadillac's portfolio, it has to be the two-door roadster. This brings to mind the fabulous Cadillac XLR that first debuted in 2003.

The Cadillac XLR was the automaker's flagship sports car. It had all the necessary elements to make it great. It even spawned a higher-performance model called the XLR-V and is among the first to wear Cadillac's V badge alongside the CTS-V. Despite this, the XLR made its farewell in March 2009 after a short six-year production run.

Cadillac XLR: Posh Corvette

The Cadillac XLR made its prototype debut as the Evoq Concept at the 1999 Detroit Auto Show. According to Auto Trends, equipped with a rear-wheel drivetrain (RWD) and a retractable hardtop roof, the Evoq made good use of Chevrolet's fifth-generation Corvette platform, and the concept garnered praise for its sleek design and hair-raising performance credentials. It wasn't until 2003 that General Motors debuted the production-intent XLR riding on the sixth-gen Corvette platform and built alongside GM's flagship sports car in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The XLR had the hydroformed frail-rail bones of the C6 Corvette and a V8 engine, although not the V8 you might've expected. While this vehicle was based on the Corvette, the XLR made do with GM's 4.6-liter Northstar V8 with 320 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. And to help balance the weight distribution, the XLR had a rear-mounted five-speed automatic transaxle. The five-speed eventually gave way to a smoother and slicker six-speed automatic gearbox in 2007.

Since we're talking about a Caddy, the XLR was brimming with luxury appurtenances. The standard features list included magnetic suspension, a heated tiller with tilt and telescoping functions, keyless entry, eight-way power seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual automatic climate control, and sumptuous leather upholstery. It also had a navigation system, a DVD player, and alloy/wood trim.

A real hot-rod convertible

Cadillac XLR-V
Bloomberg/Getty Images

Cadillac unleashed the XLR-V in 2005, a car designed to compete with the BMW Ms, Mercedes-Benz AMGs, and Jaguar XKRs in the wild. The XLR-V inherited STS-V's supercharged 4.4-liter V8 engine with a proprietary Roots-type Eaton blower, continuously variable valve timing, and variable free-flow exhausts. Although lower in displacement than the STS-V's 4.6-liters, Car and Driver claims slightly reducing the size of the cylinder bore improved engine durability, allowing the driver to make full use of the updated motor's 443 horsepower and 414 pound-feet of torque output.

With its newfound prowess, the XLR-V was capable of completing the quarter-mile in about 13 seconds and went from zero to 60 mph in 4.7-seconds — not bad even by post-pandemic standards. Furthermore, the blown V8 pumped out max torque from 2,200 to 6,000 rpm, with all of it going to the rear wheels via a 6L80 six-speed automatic. The XLR-V also had updated bones like solid front and rear anti-roll bars, stiffer control arm bushings, and updated magnetic suspension settings to deliver a sportier yet plush ride.

Reality Bites

The Cadillac XLR had a few kinks in its armor. It may have looked better than the C6 Corvette from some angles, but it was a bigger car with a less potent engine, so it was slower than the Corvette. The XLR was also portlier, no thanks to its aluminum folding roof, and it tipped the scales at about 3,840 pounds (1,740 kgs) — that was about 600 pounds (272 kgs) heavier than the Corvette. And with base prices of $75,000 for a standard XLR and $140,000 for the XLR-V, the XLR was a hard sell and made it unpopular among potential buyers.

The final nail (or nails) in the coffin were the Lexus SC430, Mercedes-Benz SL500, Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, and the Jaguar XK8, all drop-top cabriolets in the same price range as the Cadillac XLR. The exotic names may have had (and have) the edge over the Caddy in overall quality, luxury, or all-out performance, but it's hard to argue with the XLR's exclusivity. Cadillac expected to sell 5,000 to 7,000 units of the XLR per year, said Motor1, but the automaker only sold less than 3,700 XLRs annually.

In its final year of production, Cadilac only sold 787 XLRs, and the automaker did not sell the remaining 12 cars until 2011.

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12 Hidden Netflix Features You Probably Didn't Know About

Netflix button on remote control
By Cassidy Ward/Updated: March 7, 2022 1:27 pm EDT

Netflix has become a ubiquitous part of our lives, having replaced the video rental stores of yesteryear and spawned colloquial slang like "Netflix and Chill." Having Netflix on in the background is so common the company went as far as checking in on you every few episodes to make sure you're alright.

It's easy to forget Netflix's humble beginnings as DVD-by-mail service launched in the late '90s — you can still rent DVDs and Blu-ray's from them through a separate subscription, if you're so inclined — and no one could have predicted how successful they'd become, certainly not their competitors.

Despite how completely the streaming service has embedded itself into our lives, there are a number of features the average user may not be familiar with. In order to maximize the value of your monthly subscription fee, we're here to show you twelve lesser-known features you can use to make the most of your binge session.

Remove the "Are You Still Watching?" Prompt

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Binge watching may not be the healthiest habit but we're all guilty of it sometimes. While we appreciate Netflix checking in on us to see if we're still awake, gently prodding us with a digital stick to take a break, get up and stretch, maybe even go outside and step into the Sun, sometimes it's a little much.

If you're going to binge, you're going to binge. The last thing you need is some faceless user interface guilt-tripping you every time you watch more than three episodes in a row. For a service so closely associated with the word "chill," Netflix has a shocking lack of it sometimes. Luckily, there's a solution.

Browser extensions like Never Ending Netflix can override the prompt, letting you watch your favorite show from sunup to sundown in peace. It also offers additional features for streamlining your viewing experience including skipping title sequences and skipping the "Next Episode" countdown.

Did you really watch 28 episodes in a row, or did you just watch one really long movie? That's a question for your therapist and future philosophers, you've got snacks to eat and a body-shaped couch imprint to make.

Host a Digital Watch Party

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Sometimes you want to watch a movie with your friends and family, but you don't actually want to see anyone in person. Maybe there's a global pandemic on, or maybe you're having one of those introvert/extrovert days when you want two contradictory things at once. The human mind is an enigma, and we won't pretend to understand it.

Teleparty — previously called Netflix Party — is a browser extension which allows you to host virtual movie nights. The extension is free and set up is relatively simple. All you have to do is install Teleparty, pin it to your toolbar, open the video you want to watch, and start your party. Once you hit play, everyone in the party can watch the same content at the same time and there's even a chat window in a sidebar to make it feel a little closer to actually watching a movie together with your friends.

As of earlier this year, Teleparty added support for additional streaming services including Hulu, Disney+, and HBO, and they're planning to add more services in the future.

Customize Your Subtitles

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If you spent your younger years going to loud concerts and turning up the volume too high in your headphones, you might be experiencing some hearing loss and prefer to hit the subtitles when you watch TV or movies. Subtitles aren't just for the deaf or hard of hearing, though. Surveys suggest a growing number of people prefer to have the subtitles on regardless of their hearing status and that's especially true among young people.

Streaming also gives viewers access to content from other parts of the world they might not previously have had access to. Netflix has a growing library of foreign language content, from indie foreign films to manga. We don't want to get into the subs vs. dubs debate, that's a conversation for another time, but we do want to make sure you know how to get the most out of your subtitles.

Netflix's subtitle preference menu offers a number of customization options. You can choose from seven different fonts, three text sizes, and eight colors. There are also five options for shadows, and the ability to add a background or window, to make the words pop a little more clearly on the screen.

You can preview any combination of these options in the preference menu. Unlike some of the other features in this list, these preferences aren't limited to computer viewing. They'll show up on any supported device.

Turn Your TV Into an Audio Experience

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From the silent films of early cinema up through the modern day, television and movies have largely remained a visual experience. The nature of the medium has had a tendency to alienate, however unintentionally, those with visual impairment, but not anymore.

Whether you're experiencing vision loss, or you just want to enjoy your favorite shows and movies without being tied to a screen, Netflix offers audio descriptions for a large and growing selection of their content.

You can access this feature through a browser, a phone app, or on your television. Once you've started a show, simply navigate to the Audio and Subtitles menu — it looks like a speech bubble — and select Audio Description.

Now a narrator will add brief descriptions of actions and settings between lines of dialogue to paint a picture of what's happening on screen, transforming a traditionally visual medium into and auditory one. If you're a fan of audiobooks or radio plays, this might be for you.

The translation isn't perfect, but no adaptation from one medium to another ever is. Still, it's great for experiencing content you're already familiar with in a new way while you're otherwise occupied, and it offers an enhanced experience for people for people who might otherwise have to rely on the dialogue alone.

Delete Your Viewing History

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We're living in a world of ever-decreasing privacy. It sometimes feels as though every move we make is laid down inside our digital permanent record. The GPS in your phone tracks where you go each day, all of your internet searches and online traffic are catalogued and codified, and the embarrassing things you posted to Twitter, or Facebook, or Myspace, when you were a teenager live on the internet forever.

The same is true of your Netflix viewing history. The streaming platform uses that information to serve up new content you might be interested in, but that doesn't mean your roommate, partner, or parents need to know about it.

There are a number of reasons you might want to remove a title from your viewing history. Maybe you don't want your roommate to know you've been watching the same guilty pleasure on repeat for two weeks. Maybe you don't want your partner to know you watched the latest episode of your favorite show without them. Either way, Netflix has you covered.

By visiting the viewing activity page, no one ever need know what you've been watching. Simply go to your history, click the icon to hide the offending content from your viewing history, and it will be removed from your records within 24 hours.

It's important to note, however, that doing so also removes it from the recommendation algorithm. So, Netflix won't offer you similar content unless you watch that title again.

Password Protect Your Profile

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It's not uncommon for people to share a single Netflix account with friends and family. Sharing an account can be convenient but it can also be annoying, especially if someone else's viewing habits are interfering with your streaming experience.

Some of that can be alleviated by creating separate user profiles but there's nothing to stop another user — your kid, for example — from accessing your profile and watching content you'd rather they not be exposed to. There's also nothing to stop them from watching 156 episodes of Pokémon in a row and messing up your recommendations.

Except that there actually is something to stop them. Everyone knows a password is protected to access the account, but you can also pin lock your profile so that other users sharing your account can't access it.

Open up Netflix in a browser and hover over the arrow in the top-right corner, then click Account. Scroll down to the Profile & Parental Controls section and select your profile. There, you'll find a Profile Lock option which allows you to set up a pin code for access.

You'll never have to deal with your sibling messing up your watch history again, and you can also avoid some of the viewing history deletions from the previous section. With only four digits your privacy and algorithmic integrity is secured.

Add Ratings From Trusted Sources

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With so much new content dropping all the time, it can be hard to know what's worth watching and what you should avoid. Recommendations from friends and family go a long way, but only if you have similar tastes and even then, you can burn through a season quickly, leaving you searching for something new.

In the age of the internet there's no need for you to make those decisions alone, almost anything can be crowdsourced and finding content recommendations is no exception. There are a number of reputable review aggregator sites like Metacritic and IMDB which provide ratings scores from professional critics and viewers. Getting to that data, however, means looking up movies or TV shows one at a time. Luckily, there's an easier solution.

The Trim browser extension lets you incorporate ratings information from IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, and Metacritic without having to pull out your phone or open a separate tab. Ratings appear right on the Netflix home screen at a glance. It also allows you to fade out selections based on minimum rating scores and release date, making finding your next obsession that much easier.

Download Videos to Watch Offline

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Streaming allowed us to do away with bulky physical media collections and access an endless supply of movies from our phones, computers, or televisions. The only catch is it requires a secure internet connection in order to work.

That's all fine if you're at home or have access to a reliable wireless connection while you're out and about. What happens if your power or internet goes out? What about if you're on a road trip, travelling through remote areas where wireless connections can be spotty? Losing access to the internet also means losing access to your entertainment. Netflix has a workable solution and this one doesn't require any extensions; it's built into the service by design.

Netflix allows you to download select movies and episodes to your phone or computer for offline viewing. It requires a little advance planning but is a perfect solution if you find yourself without a good connection.

Downloading isn't available for every title and there are some limitations to the amount of time you can keep a title once it's downloaded, but a well-planned stockpile should get you through a connection drought.

The process is simple, just open the app on your phone and navigate to the title you want. If it's available for download, you'll see a button just below the play option. Once it's on your device you can watch to your heart's content, or until it expires. Never pay for an internet connection on an airplane again.

Request a Title

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The nature of streaming services means that titles come and go. Something you intended to watch might disappear before you get the chance, or it might never have been available at all. Relying on streaming services means being at the mercy of whatever content they've negotiated licensing agreements for. It's sort of like being at a friend's house and only being able choose from what they happen to have on the shelf.

If you find that there's something you'd really like to see, but it isn't available among its more than 15,000 titles, don't despair. You can help Netflix decide what to add to the platform by requesting a title.

Decisions about which titles they acquire are complex and often involve a number of factors including existing rights agreements. They also take regional tastes into account, and that's something you can impact, by sending them your wish list.

Netflix provides a simple form for sending requests. It's unlikely that an individual request will result in the sudden appearance of your favorite underappreciated movie or show, but every flood is made of single drops of water and enough request could move the needle.

Casting your vote for new content could alert Netflix to shifting tastes and it doesn't cost you anything to make your voice heard.

Use Category Codes to Find the Perfect Watch

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Netflix has thousands of titles available but only a fraction of them are presented on your homepage. The interface takes your viewing activity into account when deciding what to populate, but it's still only a small glimpse into the deep collection of content available. Your next favorite show might be hiding beneath the rubble where you'll never find it, at least not without help.

Sure, you can search for titles one at a time and hope to get lucky, or you can make the job easier by whittling down the choices to precisely what you're looking for with category codes. Netflix categorizes all of its content with tags and each of those tags has an associated code. The trick is knowing what they are. Lucky for you, the collective knowledge of the internet has compiled a comprehensive list of Netflix's category codes.

If you want an action movie, you'll find everything Netflix has under code 1365. If that's not specific enough, you can drill down into subgenres. How about an action comedy? You'll find them with code 43040.

Open Netflix in a browser and replace the number string at the end of the URL with the code of your choosing. Voila, the user interface will refresh with only the sort of titles you're looking for. Suddenly, a suite of previously hidden content is at your fingertips and the more you use this trick, the more your ordinary homepage will reflect your tastes.

Let Netflix Roulette Choose For You

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When we were kids, we were happy to watch the same movie on repeat for weeks or months at a time. Having only a small collection of VHS tapes or DVDs to choose from meant figuring out what your favorites were and sticking with them.

Streaming services have the opposite problem. The sheer number of options can be overwhelming, and you can easily find yourself scrolling and scrolling until your food goes cold and your eyelids grow heavy, paralyzed by indecision.

When that happens, it's time to take yourself out of the equation entirely and leave the decision up to someone — or something — else. In this case, a computer. Netflix Roulette is a fun tool by Reelgood which allows you to select a genre, IMDB score, and a number of other options before hitting a randomizer which decides what you should watch.

If you're feeling especially brave you can leave all of those options blank and choose from everything Netflix has to offer. Creating an account opens up the options even wider by allowing you to incorporate content from other streaming services like Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Disney+, and more.

Life requires plenty of difficult decisions, choosing your entertainment doesn't have to be one of them.

Become a Beta Tester for the Newest Features

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The above features should go a long way toward enhancing your Netflix prowess and making you the master of your own personal streaming domain. However, if you find that they aren't enough to satisfy your viewing experience, you can sign up to become a beta tester and get access to all of the newest features before anyone else.

Netflix is constantly working to improve their user interface but, like any company feeling out a new version of their product, they benefit from feedback before a full rollout. Signing up to be a beta tester gives you the option of being the guinea pig for new features before they become available to the wider customer base.

Log into your Netflix account on a browser, hover over the arrow next to your profile picture in the top-right corner and select Account. Under Settings, you'll see an option for Test Participation. Toggle the switch to the On setting and you're off to the races.

You may not see any immediate changes but when Netflix is ready to test a new feature, you'll be among the first users to experience whatever the future of streaming entertainment has to offer.

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