For those who aren’t aware, I’ve been covering General Motors for about 15 years now. During that period, there’s been many tales; from the failed Zeta platform plans to the shelved Cadillac Ultra V-8. Here we are years later and we’ve come full-circle on one of those matters.
This week Cadillac revealed the 2019 CT6 V-Sport. While the car itself appears to be one of those rare instances in which a refresh has made a substantial impact, it’s what is under the hood that perhaps makes this car a pivotal moment in Cadillac’s history.
Under the hood of this sharp looking sedan is an all-new DOHC 4.2-liter V-8. Yes, a V-8 engine in a Cadillac that is not part of the Chevy Small Block V-8 lineup. Wait, what?
The specifications of this engine are even more impressive. It’s in a ‘hot-V’ layout–90 degree V-8–with 550 horsepower and a staggering 627 pound-feet of torque. GM engineers have slotted the turbos between the cylinder banks to virtually eliminate turbo lag, while Active Fuel Management and start/stop tech should keep the fuel economy of this V-8 palatable.
So, why is a V-8 engine so important for Cadillac?
During the second iteration of Cadillac’s revitalization in the mid-2000’s the rumor mill was running wild about the brand’s “upcoming Ultra V-8.” Insiders at the time told me this engine was the “smoothest V-8 ever tested at GM.” Meant as the spiritual successor to the Northstar V-8, this engine was setting extremely high expectations without GM ever uttering a word about it.
Then GM began running out of money leading up to its 2009 bankruptcy filing. Lack of resources paired with spiking fuel costs got the coveted Ultra V-8 “shelved.” Instead, Cadillac’s plan was to continue to rely on the Small Block and boosted V-6’s (which it has).
Of course the problem with that plan is that Cadillac aspires to be in the same league as its German competitors. German rivals such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz all have their own V-8 engines, including twin-turbocharged versions.
Thankfully GM has obviously dusted off the Ultra V-8 somewhere in their Warren Tech Center, brought it up to speed for 2019 and slotted it into a good looking sedan.
Better late than never, right?