There is arguably no engine more synonymous with the United States auto industry than the mighty V8. And for the first time since 2011, America’s most iconic luxury car brand, Cadillac, has unveiled a brand-exclusive V8 engine. While the motor shares a dual overhead camshaft layout, don’t call it a Northstar. This 4.2 liter twin-turbocharged V8 is sinisterly called The Blackwing.
Currently, The Cadillac Blackwing will only be found under the hood of the 2019 Cadillac CT6 and CT6-V models. In the standard car, the engine will produce 500 hp and 553 lb-ft. In the performance oriented V guise, however, the twin turbo V8 will offer 550 horsepower and 627 ft lbs of torque. Cadillac says they have optimized the motor for a smooth, flat power curve. By placing the turbochargers between the banks of the engine, turbo lag is reduced and throttle response improves. The Germans have been using this “hot vee” setup for a while, and now General Motors will follow suit with The Cadillac Blackwing.
The Cadillac Blacking, known internally as the LTA, will share another similarity with its German rivals from Affalterbach, as the motor is slated to be hand built. One of six skilled engine builders will assembly each Blackwing individually at the Corvette facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The 6.2 Liter supercharged LT4 that sits at the heart of the Corvette Z06 and Camaro ZL1 are also built by hand in this facility.
Cadillac was the first automaker to offer a V8 engine in a mass produced car back in 1914. The Type 51 debuted in September of that year, and under the hood was a 5.5 liter V8, which featured an L shaped head, as well as water cooling. Power output was an impressive for the time 70 horsepower. Cadillac sold 13,002 V8 powered cars the first year the Type 51 was on offer.
Instead of following suit, Cadillac made a bold decision to release their 1915 model with an all new V8 engine. They believed that the compact shape of the “vee” type engine, coupled with the lack of a troublesome long crankshaft would make the Cadillac V8 the top motor to have.
With the introduction of The Blackwing, Cadillac is once again hoping to lure customers away from the competition with an all new V8 engine. While Cadillac was the first to bring a V8 to the segment in the early years of the automobile, they are one of the last to do so in the segment today. With the CT6 slated to end production in mid-2019, it may be a decision made too late.