By on November 27, 2019

General Motors’ 4.2-liter, twin-turbocharged Blackwing V8 made waves when it appeared for the 2019 model year, but its applications have so far been limited to only the most potent versions of the Cadillac CT6 — a sedan whose lifespan may soon come to an end.

Many argued that the Blackwing was unnecessary, as GM already has a long list of engines beginning with “LT” from which to choose. And choose it might, as a new report suggests GM has no use for the Blackwing.

According to a “highly placed source” that spoke to Motor Trend, the Blackwing’s life might end with the CT6’s demise.

Simply put, the source claims cost-cutting at GM has put the Blackwing out of the running for the next-generation Escalade, and a platform swap that preceded the introduction of the XT6 crossover meant that application was a no-go. Same goes for the recently introduced CT5 sedan. The plan had been to place the XT6 and XT5 sedan on the CT6’s rear-drive Omega platform, but budgetary concerns saw lesser platforms win the bid.

Rather than don the Blackwing, which makes 550 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque (a detuned version also exists), the 2020 CT5-V makes do with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 making 360 hp and 405 lb-ft. That may be as hot as it gets, despite Cadillac previously suggesting warmer variants could be in the works.

Obviously, the front-drive-biased XT6 is not a contender for the Blackwing in its present form, which leaves the upcoming Escalade as the sole other potential application. However, MT‘s source claims the cash-conscious automaker sunk too much money into designing an independent rear suspension for the coming line of full-size GFM SUVs, leaving a Blackwing-powered version off the table.

Meanwhile, Chevrolet apparently has no plan to use the mill in the C8 Corvette, despite previous rumors to the contrary.

At last report, GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant is still scheduled to cease production of the CT6 early next year. Under a recently ratified labor deal with UAW workers, the automaker plans to convert the plant into its home base for a series of electric vehicles.

When the CT6 line goes dark, the Blackwing will be an orphan — and its future looks bleak.

[Image: General Motors]

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51 Comments on “Report: Black Shroud for GM’s Blackwing V8?...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    “Meanwhile, Chevrolet apparently has no plan to use the mill in the C8 Corvette”

    GM can argue on semantics and official names all it wants but if they do put a DOHC V8 in the Corvette then it is going to be on the Blackwing architecture.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Earlier rumors indicated that this engine might combine with a hybrid unit for use in an AWD Z06 C8.

  • avatar
    s_a_p

    As Ford throws money at Lincoln to remake American luxury GM neutered Cadillac as just another variant of Buick. RIP Cadillac.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Screw GM they ruined the upcoming fullsizers with independent rear suspension and they’re too stupid to put the black wing as the base engine in both the CT4 and CT5

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    Well this certainly wouldn’t be the first dumb thing we’ve seen GM do over the decades. They’re nothing if not consistent.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    What a stupid waste of money and engineering talent. I’d ask for someone to explain to me why this engine isn’t going to be used in the CT5-V, but I know the answer: the only thing they give a f**k about now is selling lame, gussied up Chevy crossovers.

    I sure hope this electric-Cadillac thing works out, because otherwise, this brand’s officially dead to me.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    What kind of powertrain might be ideal for these driving conditions?

    https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/video/4222753-watch-traffic-jammed-on-405-freeway-ahead-of-thanksgiving-getaway/

  • avatar
    R Henry

    “the cash-conscious automaker sunk too much money into designing an independent rear suspension for the coming line of full-size GFM SUVs”

    IRS? Ford put that in Expedition/Navigator in the 2003 model year!!!!!! GM is literally 16 years late with IRS!!!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Yes look at how well that worked out for Ford, GM has the market cornered with the only true full-size usable SUV and it owned the market; without the solid rear axle GM will become an also ran.

      3rd grader logic by GM.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        I think it has less to do with the IRS and more to do with the fact that that the rest of the Navigator just didn’t change much from the 2003 version.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Prediction: either sales or margins on GM BOF SUVs are going to go way up with the introduction of IRS. (Depends on whether they hold the line on pricing or crank it up.)

        Right now, the near-unusable third row in SWB versions and the small cargo space relative to the exterior size are holding them back much more than the SRA is benefiting them.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          “Prediction: either sales or margins on GM BOF SUVs are going to go way up with the introduction of IRS. (Depends on whether they hold the line on pricing or crank it up.)”

          GM will not lose a SINGLE sale by engineering an IRS for their BOF FS SUVs. Not a SINGLE one. People that plunk down the big bucks these vehicles command(My LTZ ‘Hoe MSRP’d for over $52K way back in 2007, you couldn’t touch a 2019 for that money anymore) will appreciate the improved 3rd row seat room, ride and handling.

          This was a smart move on GM’s part and will help them retain their market share.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    So they can blow through money to make a bespoke engine for all seven CTS6-Vs they’re going to sell and then mothball the entire program, but they can’t put a damned 3rd pedal in the C8 when the C7 had over 1/4 take rate for real transmissions.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I still wonder if no C8 manual is just a base and Z51 only thing. IE: when the Z06 comes out GM announces the stick is back. If not how about making the DCT shift via a center mounted stick just for the entertainment factor?

      I still think we will see this engine or a version of it in the C8. The supercharged Z06 had well documented overheating issues. While turbos are known for running hot at least the snails (or in this case screw) would not be sitting on top of the very engine they are boosting.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        “While turbos are known for running hot at least the snails (or in this case screw) would not be sitting on top of the very engine they are boosting.”

        Actually, they would. From TheDrive.com: “…the Blackwing is a 4.2-liter V-8 with twin turbochargers mounted in the engine’s “hot V” for better throttle response.”

        This is getting common these days. Intake ports outboard, exhaust ports inboard.

      • 0 avatar
        amca

        I’ver read somewhere that there are fundamental design problems with trying to get a shit linkage to the transaxle in the C8. Just no place to do it.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    1977 was the last time Cadillac released a unique engine that was right out of the box. I don’t think I’d like to own a Blackwing that won’t even be in production long enough to reveal what they got wrong, let alone develop real solutions to any issues.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The 368 came out in MY80, Cadillac’s last real motor.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        I thought about that, but the 1980 368 only became a decent engine when the 1981 V8-6-4 was so much worse and then the HT4100 pegged the POS meter. If you look at the 1980 Cadillac Eldorado with the 368 compared to the 1979 Eldorado with the 350 Oldsmobile engine, the 368 was a gas-guzzling slug.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Sliding scale but FWIW an ’80 368 should outlive a ’79 Olds 350.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            It seems like there are plenty of first generation Sevilles that have stood the test of time with the Olds 350.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I assume most of Olds-equipped ones had head work over the years and before the 368 needed anything big. Although 40 years on it doesn’t really matter any more.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            I will concede that the 1980 368 didn’t burn its owners with a white hot desire to buy a Mercedes-Benz or Continental next time, but it wasn’t as strong a performer as either the 425 or the 350 that it replaced. It hat to be discouraging for someone trading in a 1977 Coupe DeVille for a 1980 Coupe DeVille that was slower and used more fuel because it needed so much throttle to overcome its interplanetary axle ratio.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I can’t understand the mindset of someone who would take that wheezing lump of cast iron just because “V8.”

        • 0 avatar
          Mike Beranek

          The HT got a lot better in the 4.5 and 4.9 liter years. I had a 4.5 that still ran perfectly when I sold it at 200k.
          Certainly not the best V8, but not the worst either.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            The HT got better after years of development. The Northstar supposedly became semi-durable after years of development. The Blackwing is a flash in the pan. Whatever Cadillac got wrong this time, they aren’t going to get around to fixing it.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          The 368 would have been better if Cadillac had fuel injected all variants of this mill and tied it to the 4 speed overdrive transmission with around a 2.73 or 3.08 rear end. The old 400 THM tied to the lazy 2.28 rear gears did this engine no favors and neither did the Quadrajet. The fuel injection and overdrive transmission would easily have carried these full sized sleds into the mid 80’s when the 4100 would have had more time to develop for the upcoming downsized C body cars.

      • 0 avatar
        80Cadillac

        From 1985 through 2004, I owned and drove:
        1972 Miller Meteor combination hearse with 472
        1977 Sedan DeVille with 425
        1980 Sedan DeVille with 368
        1984 Fleetwood Brougham with HT4100
        1970 DeVille Convertible with 472
        1982 Seville with HT4100
        1975 Fleetwood with 500
        1986 Fleetwood Brougham with Olds 307
        (I might be forgetting one or two)
        Hands down, the 1980 DeVille with the 368 was the winner of this bunch. The car was lighter than the ’77, more aerodynamic, and was just about perfectly balanced to oversteer slightly on WNC curvy roads, and it was even good in snow. If I recall, I routinely saw about 18-20 MPG from that car.
        Best MPG of the above list was the ’86 with the Olds 307…I could get 26-29 on a highway trip, exceeding the 24 maximum I ever observed with the ’84 HT4100 with the same body and frame.
        Never had any trouble out of any of these cars, but at least a couple of them were sluggish. The 368 would get out of its own way.
        An aside, I never owned a V8-6-4, but friends of my parents’ bought a new 1981 DeVille, and never had trouble with it for the 6 years until it was replaced with a LeSabre.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Hypothesis: GM is genetically hard-wired to produce spark-ignition normally-aspirated engines. Any deviation from this formula triggers a reptilian-level relexive response resulting in self-sabotage.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    Put the Blackwing in a special edition of the Camaro—it might juice up sales a bit. Or, sell the tooling and rights to Toyota as an engine option for the Supra.

  • avatar
    Mnemic

    Cadillac should be packaged up and sold off. GM clearly has no idea what to do with it.

  • avatar

    Without the black-wing engine, Cadillac is simply not serious about competing with the top tier luxury automakers. They will now continue to be fighting for table scraps with Lincoln, Acura, and Infiniti. In terms of performance, the current Cadillacs are underwhelming, and certainly not competitive to what the division was producing five years ago. As one critic pointed out the current CT5’s performance is not much better than the top of the line Camry.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Don’t normally agree with akear but you hit this one correctly I think

    Of course companies have to control cost. I get it.

    But I’m amazed at how often it feels like GM has cost controlled themselves to mediocrity. So much of what I think is wrong with GM is they do have great engineering. But it’s been neutered and cut down until the great engineering fails with cheap parts or gives a cheap feel to the way the vehicle drives.

    You know what doesn’t create a desirable brand in any industry? Cost cutting your products down far enough that they aren’t special anymore.

    Maybe it is more acceptable for Chevrolet, though I’d argue there is still too much for them as well. But it isn’t acceptable for a Cadillac.

    GM seems to think they can do the Lexus formula with Cadillac. Sell fancier Chevrolet’s. You know who that seems to have worked for in the auto industry? Lexus.

    I want american companies to do well. Cadillac has an unbelievable brand name and recognition. I’m no executive but I swear if GM were to release a “real” Cadillac, they’d sell a ton. I’m taking bold and brash style with class, like the Elmiraj or the old Sixteen. Interiors of absolute top notch materials. And wonderful V8 engines. Heck give them a hybrid or turbo or electric plug in if you really feel they need that.

    A car that when someone sees it or sits in it and they think, wow, that’s a Cadillac. I don’t think it’s a coincidence the Escalade is their best seller despite possibly being their worst vehicle. It’s big and brash and everyone knows it’s a Cadillac. Class it up a bit and they’d be on the right track.

    I actually believe Cadillac could compete at an even higher level if GM decided to do it. Meaning GMs Bentley or Rolls Royce kinda level. To me it still isn’t dead enough that the right product, with that brand name, they could get away with it.

    Not crossovers and blob cars. Why bother if you’re gonna do that?

    I think another commenter nailed it. GM is run by,likely, pretty competent executives…. that don’t give a hoot about cars, the emotion they can have, the image they can show etc. they’re just another widget at a widget factory.

    • 0 avatar
      Hydromatic

      Which is why GM is better off selling off Cadillac and elevating Buick to near-premium mediocrity. Because as long as Cadillac exists under the GM umbrella, it’ll never achieve the success it once had.

  • avatar
    nifticus

    Why isn’t Cadillac making a CT6-based crossover that can use the Blackwing? I imagine that must have been a plan at one point.

    • 0 avatar
      nifticus

      I meant a RWD Omega or Alpha-based crossover/SUV. It seems like a better platform than a transverse/FWD cheapo vehicle. Plus, BMW/Mercedes have RWD-longitudal-based SUVs

    • 0 avatar
      amca

      It was planned. But, as I read, it was significantly cheaper to use the guts of a Chevy Traverse to make the XT6. And the big CUV market doesn’t really care much about what’s under the car – it’s not an engineering driven car guy kinda market.

      They might still have built a really nice CUV off the CT6 platform except for two things: (1) it’d have been as expensive as an Escalade, and (2) all resources have been shifted to electrics.

      It’s a shame – it’d have been a really nice vehicle.

  • avatar
    digitaldoc

    Special thanks to GM for making a rare powerplant that stands out from the mediocrity, and then being too stupid and timid to really use it in anything that counts.

  • avatar

    Without engines like the black-wing, Cadillac sedans are just over-priced Maxima’s. The CT5 may have slightly better performance than the Maxima, but it does not have Nissan’s reliability. I am already tired of these new castrated Cadillacs.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Here is an idea that might work for GM. Sell the engine to Genesis. Hey Genesis here is your way more powerful and probably more efficient V8 that you need to compete with the S Class, 7 Series and the rest of the big boys. Genesis saves a ton on development cost and GM gets to recoup some of their funds. WIN WIN.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    GM at it’s finest. Spend oodles of money developing both the Blackwing engine and the pricey CT6 platform and car and then throw it all away for Mary’s triple zero future. If Cadillac is still around the next 5 years I’ll be surprised. If GM is still around in 10 under the current CEO i’ll be dumbfounded!

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