The 1993 Cadillac Allante roadster debuted the 4.6-liter Northstar V8, otherwise known as the last exclusive Cadillac engine. Now, after 26 years, Cadillac gets its own V8 motor again, in the form of a twin-turbo 4.2-liter V8 on the 2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport, the company announced today. The engine will be a “hot vee,” another first for Cadillac and GM as a whole.
And it’ll be something special, too. Like AMG’s motors, the new turbo V8 will be hand-built and hand-signed by the builder, just at the Corvette plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky, not Germany.
The engine’s rated at an impressive 550 horsepower and an eye-raising 627 lb-ft of torque, Cadillac said. That’s for the V-Sport; a 500 HP version will be available for other CT6 models, Automotive News says. The V-Sport (while not a full-on V) is the first performance-oriented version we’ve had for the cushy CT6, and it will come with summer performance tires, a mechanical LSD, magnetic ride dampers and 19-inch Brembo brakes. This also marks the first time the CT6 has gotten eight cylinders; until now the top motor was a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6.
This new motor a quad-cam, 32-valve, direct injection aluminum V8 with turbos mounted up top. So-called “hot vees” have been around for awhile, debuting in 1981 with Ferrari’s first turbo F1 engine.
Here’s how Cadillac describes it:
At the center of the 4.2L Twin Turbo V-8 is a “hot V” configuration that transposes the conventional layout of the cylinder heads’ intake and exhaust systems to mount the turbochargers at the top of the engine — in the valley between the heads — to virtually eliminate turbo lag and reduce the engine’s overall packaging size.
In a conventional turbocharged engine, the cylinder heads receive the pressurized air charge through ports at the top of the engine and the exhaust exits through ports on the lower outside of the heads into manifolds connected to the turbochargers.
With Cadillac’s innovative hot V design, the intake-charged air enters through the lower outside of the heads and exits through the top inside — where the turbochargers are integrated with the exhaust manifolds — for quick spool-up that translates into more immediate power delivery. The design also allows closer mounting of the catalytic converters, for efficient packaging.
The engine will debut at this month’s New York International Auto Show, and be paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. This new engine fulfills a promise made in 2016 by Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen, according to Automotive News.
GM came close once before to building a hot V engine. Before the company’s 2009 bankruptcy, tooling was being installed at its Tonowanda, N.Y., engine plant for a 4.5-liter diesel V-8 for light-duty pickups and SUVs. GM’s financial problems killed the engine before production began.
In 2016, in response to a blog post that excoriated Cadillac, de Nysschen retorted with a detailed reply that basically laid out Cadillac’s future strategy. One of the elements: new powertrains for GM’s luxury brand.
Credit to Cadillac, too, for still trying to make some waves. The brand is venerated, but, these days, trying to serve two masters.
Update: The headline has been revised to say it’s the first Cadillac V8 in years; the 3.0-liter TT V6 is also a Cadillac-exclusive engine.