After taking the seat at the head of Cadillac back in 2014, Johan de Nysschen has been making a lot of changes to make the American brand more of a luxury marque to compete with Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, and Lexus. One thing that’s missing from its CT6 flagship sedan is a high performance version. But that’s been taken care of, and Cadillac’s better for it.
Last year, I got to drive the CT6 over a 900-mile trip and I came away from the journey impressed with the sedan. It was incredibly comfortable, had all of the features under the sun, and the Super Cruise system did just as advertised on the highway.
One thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the engine. The CT6 Platinum I drove was equipped with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6. Sure, the motor made 404 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, but for a $90,000 flagship sedan, it just didn’t feel right. It was more than ample enough to get the CT6 down the road in quite a hurry, but it lacked character and the V8 soundtrack that I was so looking forward to.
Cadillac has finally brought a V8 to the CT6. As Automotive News points out, the new 4.2-liter twin-turbocharged V8 motor is the first time in 26 years that Cadillac has its own bespoke engine.
The twin-turbo V8 generates a tidy 550 hp and 627 pound-feet of torque. That’s not as powerful as the Mercedes-AMG S63, which has a 603-hp 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, but it definitely doesn’t lack for power.
The engine ushers in a new era for Cadillac, as the motor has a “hot V” setup where the turbos fit nicely in between the heads. In addition to reducing turbo lag, the design also means the engine is relatively compact. The engine’s ‘smart’, too, as four of its cylinders can be deactivated for better fuel efficiency.
While we could go really in depth on the engine itself, it all reveals that Cadillac has thought this through. It’s fed up playing second fiddle to everyone else and wants to prove to everyone that it really is an upscale brand. To that end, the engine will reportedly be hand-assembled in Bowling Green, Kentucky, by a single engineer who will sign his name on a special plaque, which is similar to what another premium automakers do.
How important is an engine to a car? Extremely. For example, the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 twins got a lot of flak for not being available with a more powerful engine. It’s also one of the reasons why it’s hard for enthusiasts to name a clear winner between the Chevrolet Camaro SS and Cadillac ATS-V. The ATS-V may be one of the best handling cars on the road today, but the Camaro SS, especially in 1LE guise, is a heavy hitter that will have you questioning the $20,000 difference.
The CT6 won’t be the only Caddy to receive the 4.2-liter twin-turbo V8. It’s been reported that the Escala Concept could enter production, and the V8 would be a nice fit for the sleek sedan. It’s been awhile since anyone was excited by a new Cadillac, but perhaps de Nysschen and his team are finally kick-starting the revolution they promised us.