Downside: Tall people said they felt cramped in the XLR's tight, two-seat cabin. It felt just right to me. But I'm a short dude.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Excellent ride -- in fact, surprisingly good for a roadster, especially on less-than-perfect roads where roadsters and similar sports cars tend to give you a beating. Excellent acceleration. Handling is excellent at highway speeds. But that grade falls to "good" in city traffic, where the XLR's weight of 3,547 pounds becomes more pronounced.

Head-turning quotient: Rarely have I been in a car that attracted as much attention, pro and con, as the XLR. It generates enough passion to start a cult.

Body style/layout: The XLR is a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, two-door, two-seat roadster equipped with an automatically retractable hardtop (glass rear window with defogger).

Engine/transmission: The car's 4.6-liter, 32-valve, double overhead-cam Northstar V-8 engine develops 320 horsepower at 6,400 revolutions per minute and 310 foot-pounds of torque at 4,400 revolutions per minute. The engine is linked to an electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission that also can be operated manually.

Capacities: Seats two people. Carries 11.6 cubic feet of cargo with its top up, the equivalent of a couple of overnight bags. When the top is retracted, that drops to 4.4 cubic feet. Gasoline tank holds 18 gallons. Regular unleaded gasoline is okay.

Mileage: I averaged 23 miles per gallon, mostly in highway travel.

Safety: Front/rear ventilated disc brakes with anti-lock protection; standard traction and stability control; dual front air bags with head protection, side air bags.

Technical highlight: GM's "Magnetic Ride Control" active suspension system. Using sensors, it "reads" the road 1,000 times per second -- completely reading every inch of the road at a speed of 60 miles per hour -- and makes instant, multiple suspension adjustments to create a smooth ride.

Price: Base price is $75,385 with a dealer invoice price on the base model of $69,731, according to Edmunds.com. Price as tested is $76,525, including $325 for XM Satellite Radio installation and an $815 destination charge.

Purse-strings note: You can bargain. Compare with Jaguar XK-8, Lexus SC430, Mercedes-Benz SL500 and Porsche 911 Carrera. Also note that the Cadillac XLR remains virtually unchanged for 2005.