Get the Vin # and go to a GM dealer and have them run a warranty history on the car. The problem areas are the top and the headlamp sockets. There have been many upgrades for the top. Also there was a recall for the headlamp wiring and sockets. One more thing don't be scared if you see alot of warranty work was done on the car because you will know that the problems have been fixed or upgraded.
I just bought a 04 Red XLR 3 weeks ago. I was a long time Corvette owner having owned 23 Vettes and wanted a change. I have been in love with the XLR since it came out and wanted one. The car is C6 Corvette chassis and I can tell you that it is a refine Corvette. It rides better than the Vette and has more comforts too. In the area that I live in there are tons of C5-C6 Vettes but only 5 XLR's that I know of. This car has gotten more looks and questions than any of the 23 Vette I have owned.
I can say that after 3 weeks of owning the car I will buy a newer one down the road maybe a V-car next time. Just to tell you how much I like this car, my last Corvette was a 04 yellow six speed and I drove it about 2,500 miles a year. I have put 1,100 miles on the XLR in 3 weeks. I just can't stop driving it.
'04-'05 (5-speed) trannys were fine. CTS used a version of this unit. '06 introduced the 6-speed, which has been reliable as well. I've written up several posts on this site describing the various issues to be aware of, so I won't repeat them here. Search is your friend.
It's a great time to buy a used XLR. Unless you have a Tech 2 or deep pockets for routine maintenance, buy a GMPP warranty (the only one that covers the top) if you're buying an older XLR that's near the end of its warranty period. These are expensive cars to maintain, so don't let a low(er) initial purchase price fool you. Headlights are a grand apiece! There's a lot more to go wrong with the car due to its complexity, so if you can't afford to maintain it, don't even think about owning one. You'll end up being miserable and feeling like a guy dating a PITA supermodel. It just isn't worth it. Even simple trim parts can be hard to come by as well, --now that production has ended
Ensure the vehicle is loaded with the most recent software version, and is only serviced by a certified XLR tech. (Not every dealer has one.)
Download a pdf version of the owner's manual and build a checklist (while familiarizing yourself with the car's many feature as well) to take with you when you look at the car. Check every single switch, button and feature for proper operation.
DO NOT expect a car salesman to know any details about the car's operation. Most are clueless beyond starting the engine and moving the top.
DO have the vehicle's service history printed up so you know what you're getting yourself into. It's just a car. Be prepared to walk away if it's got issues. (See supermodel ref above.) Just like houses, there are more XLRs than buyers.
The N* and the rest of the powertrain in XLR has been fairly reliable. Early models had a lot of bad radiators and power steering pumps. Fixed in early '06 with upgraded V parts.
Since you've already got a CTS-V like me, you already knowthere's a world of difference between the two. Once I had both parked in the garage, the CTS-V was a driven less. A LOT less. There's no comparison in features and comfort. The CTS-V may be a tad faster, but I can generate tickets in the XLR just as easily. The HUD should be an option in every car GM makes. I'm almost ready to sell my '04 CTS-V (20k mi) since I'm tired of the stick. Maybe get a CTS-V Coupe after the initial first-adopters discover all the bugs and generate some depreciation for me.
If your Dad gets a non-V XLR, spring for the "V's" rear sway bar. The kit can be had for less than $200 and installed in the time it takes to belch off the effects of a few beers. Totally transforms the ride. Shame on GM for not including it on all XLRs.
There are only two XLR-specific forums on this site. Most of your questions can be answered if you parse the threads. --I read every post I could find before I made the decision to buy, and learned a lot in the process, --both good and bad, about this car.
That being said, the number of XLR-related pages here pales in comparison to most of the other models on this site. Probably due to the fact that a lot of the initial buyers were older and aren't into car forums. The CTS-V section boasts as many threads in a week as the XLR section does in a year. Google "XLR Forums" to discover other sites, learn as much as you can, and contribute here to boost it's popularity and usefulness to other members. The more you help others out, the more you'll learn in the process. Some forums are more social and others more technical; all are educational.
I don't think he'll drop in on XLR-V, it'll be an XLR as he lives in the desert and forced induction and 120 degrees is not a good mix. Myself, I'm hoping for a lower level CTS-V with an LS3. I don't need 550hp and don't want the issues I've had over the years with forced induction. I like my normally asperated pushrod motors. That being said, the '06 XLR I drove on Sunday was pretty sweet and the pricing on these cars is very reasonable ($27,000 for a certified w/GM warranty 47,000 mile '06). The reality is that it really doesn't matter if the XLR has some issues, it'll be warranty and he's only going to drive it until the C7 Corvette arrives in '13. I just don't want him to have a car that spends to much time at the dealership.
It's done, 2005 (I think the color is called) Crimson over a Tan/Grey interior, polished wheels, bald tires, Nav, heads up blah, blah, blah... 30,000 miles, in stunning condition is sitting in his garage.
Unless you have a lot of spare money after the purchase, i would only buy one with a warranty. There are a lot of low mileage nice looking xlrs out there with no warranty, all at about the same price. One time in the dealership without warranty would have bought you a newer model with a warranty.
my dad is talking about buying an xlr, he want's a fun convertible to keep him busy until the new c7 corvette hits the road.
Which years should he avoid?
Problems to consider?
He'll probably spend $30,000 - $40,000, he's probably doesn't need the v. I've heard about transmission issues on the early cars but never tried to confirm that.
Any comments would be appreciated.
I'm going to look at a red '04 with 11,000 miles on it next week. This will be the first i've looked at or driven.
Get one with a warranty only, unless you have tons of spare money. Also purchase the extended warranty. I would never get one older than 2007. It has the six speed trans and the new light system. YOU DO NOT NEED THE V UNLESS YOU WANT IT FOR STATUS OR DRAG RACING. WHEN YOU STEP ON THE GAS WITH THE 320 HP ENGINE IT EXPLODES AND THERE IS NO STREET THAT YOU CAN STAND ON IT WITHOUT GOING TO JAIL.
"Explodes"? The performance is brisk and the handling is excellent for what it is, but "Explodes" is more that a bit of a stretch here, adequately powered would be more appropriate. I think the XLR was underated, super nice car but certainly not a muscle car without the blower. If I didn't have a Corvette, I'd consider owning one.
I thought he was nuts buying one without warranty, but the quality seems high and so far so good.
Kooop, if you have any issues with the car just run it by me, I'll tell you what to do.
I probalby work on more of them than anyone in the country.
I have had some real headaches on them but I have most of it down pat.
They have lots of small issues but only a couple of big ones, and only big in that they cost a lot of money to fix.
Some are prone to coolant leaks, some check engine lights. They all seem to have top issues now and then but I can usually pin down the source of the problem in less than 5 minutes and fix them in about 20.
There are other instances but...
Anyway, I'm easy to reach.
Enjoy! Those cars are really nice.
It's like a Corvette, only you get to keep your teeth!