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S54 M Coupe vs Cadillac XLR-V, S54 M Roadster

Scott and Vicki are fortunate enough to own an 2001 M Coupe, a 2001 M Roadster, and a 2006 Cadillac XLR-V which is a little bit of both. Here’s how they think they compare:

This article is not technically a "Roadster Comparison" but we still thought that readers would find it interesting. What is our impression after living with both the S54 Coupe and Roadster? How do they compare to the Cadillac XLR-V which is both a roadster and a coupe as it has a retractable hardtop that offers structural support?

The things that all of these machines have in common are as follows: They are all unique, rare, super cool (in my opinion), holding their value, affordable, fast and fun.

We also have a 2006 Dodge Magnum SRT-8 that fits the same description but as a sport wagon it is too far away from the spirit of this article to be included. You do not want to drive any of these cars if you are concerned about being the only black sheep in a herd of sheople.

We call our M Coupe “Max”. The gentleman that we purchased it from named it that for some unknown reason and we thought it fit. I was thinking along the lines of Max being the short for Maxwell Smart. This is a love it or hate it type of car but it always made a huge impression on me and when Vicki brought it up one day, I knew I needed to find out more. If you are reading this then you likely know the technical details of the car so I won’t waste time on that. It is 1 of 2 in its configuration and we want to thank Mr. Martin profusely for helping us find it. We absolutely love Max and would not have gotten it if Jon had not brought it to our attention.

We call the Cadillac “Vinnie”. We let the gentleman that we purchased Max from drive it to the bank during the transaction. When he got out of the car he said “that is the coolest caddy ever, its name is Vinnie.” We laughed really hard but honestly the name fit so we have continued to call it that.

The XLR-V’s came off the same line as the Vettes in Bowling Green, Kentucky for four years, 2006-2009. There were slightly over 2,000 produced in total. The 443HP/414FP supercharged Northstar was individually hand built by one “superstar” builder. 0-60 in the mid 4′s. It rides on the Vette’s MagneticRide system. The fenders, bumpers and rear quarter panels are made from the same material as the old Saturns (flexible non-dent). The hood, doors and trunk lid are made of fiberglass (Vette). The retractable top is made of a magnesium/aluminum alloy for lightweight and structural integrity up top.

I fell in love with the XLR-V the first time I saw it in Car and Driver but never thought we could afford one. Poor Vinnie was universally maligned in all of the publications for one reason, price. It was up against the Mercedes SL550 and everyone agreed that for $100,000 you should buy the German instead. This resulted in the Caddy having very slow sales (rare) and the value “dropping like a Cadillac.” Although the car was really only maligned for its original price, it has never gotten the respect it deserves in all other ways. They can be had now for less than half of the original price in new condition which is a steal in my opinion.

We call the M Roadster “99″ as in “Agent 99.” This is not really to say that the Roadster is more feminine than the Coupe but it just seemed like a logical choice as Max’s sidekick. 99 is a pristine little gem. Again, Mr. Martin was instrumental in us finding this car. If you are reading this you know what an amazing contribution that Jon has added to the M car community. So which one do we love the most? We love them all equally. Vinnie is the car we drive if we are trying to impress for business or otherwise. It is the fastest of the three but not the quickest or the most fun to drive. 99 is the most fun to drive. The exhaust note sounds much better in the roadster than the coupe especially with the top down and is addicting. It also seems to be a bit quicker than the coupe. Max kind of falls in between the two. It is exhilarating to drive and is very versatile with the third door. It also is impressive in its uniqueness, rarity and cool color combination. If you are trying to decide between the M Coupe and the M Roadster you can’t go wrong with either. It all comes down to your priorities. The coupe is more unique, versatile and rare. It has better 360 visibility than the roadster with the top up. It has better structural integrity for those who actually test the limits of their cars. It also has the benefit of not having a top that wears out. The roadster is slightly more mainstream but super cool nonetheless. It is slightly more exhilarating to drive especially with the top down. Roadsters can generally be found in better condition with lower miles and lower prices. I value the coupe ever so slightly more because of the rarity and coolness of the color combination. If the roadster had the same color combination I think they would be equal. To each their own of course!

Vicki and I would love to hear from the few owners of those S54 Coupes and Roadsters that are Titanium Silver over Laguna Seca Blue/Black. Mr. Martin might pass along our contact info to you if you are interested. Sadly we are saying goodbye to Agent 99 for now based on budgetary considerations. We plan on being back into an M Roadster within the next couple of years though as we are going to miss “her” greatly. (See the listing here)


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Jon Martin
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