Cadillac Won’t Be Using the Blackwing V8 Anymore and That’s a Shame
All those millions of development dollars down the toilet.
Despite undoubtedly spending gobs of money and man-hours developing the Blackwing V8, Cadillac says it's essentially retiring the engine after using it for just one model year of a relatively niche car, the CT6-V. Speaking to Road & Track at the 2021 Escalade reveal, Cadillac President Steve Carlisle said the company has "no specific plans for that engine, but never is a long time."
To recap, the Blackwing was a clean-sheet designed, Cadillac-only, 4.2-liter, twin-turbo V8 that made 550 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque in the CT6-V high-performance flagship sedan. For what it's worth, it was also the first Caddy-dedicated V8 since the old Northstar went away in 2011 and one of the coolest-named engines in recent memory. It became available in 2019 and is going away this month when CT6 production ends as GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant is being retooled as an EV factory.
And if you're wondering why Cadillac won't stick the Blackwing in any of its upcoming sport sedans, a previous rumor alleged that the engine is simply too big to fit under the hood of the CT5. As a result, the upcoming high-po version of that car will reportedly use the 6.2-liter LT4 V8 from the old CTS-V.
On top of not physically fitting under future Cadillac hoods, it sounds like the Blackwing is going away partially because the brand wants to be seen as an electric car company going forward, with Carlisle telling Road & Track that it's entering the new decade as "an internal-combustion engine brand. Existing as a battery electric-vehicle brand. High-performance electric cars are very much a possibility."
Although the Blackwing engine itself won't reappear, it doesn't look like it'll be a total loss since Carlisle goes on to say that knowledge the company gleaned during the V8's development will make its way to Caddy's future products. "We learned a lot with Blackwing. It's an idea that's really resonated with people," the Cadillac boss said. "So there'll be a little bit of Blackwing in other cars going forward."
Honestly, the fact that Cadillac went out of its way to build a bad-ass V8 of its own only for it to exist in just a few thousand actual customer cars is a huge shame. Its turbos were placed inside the "V", for Pete's sake, just like they are in the BMW M and Mercedes-AMGs that Cadillacs are always compared to.
In the U.S., Cadillac sold 7,951 CT6s in 2019, presumably only a fraction of which was the hot V model. But what do we know? If Cadillac's product planners think leaving the Blackwing behind for a more electrified portfolio is the smart play, then more power to 'em. Y'know, sunk costs and all that.
As a consolation, Cadillac, can the admittedly awesome "Blackwing" name be repurposed for that future high-performance electric powertrain? It's not like the original Blackwing was around long enough to spur any silly criticisms about "heritage" anyway.
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