Why the New Cadillac Escalade and CT5-V Won't Get the Blackwing V-8

The Blackwing V-8 engine will instead remain in a more limited role.

Cadillac's 550-hp, twin-turbo dual-overhead-cam Blackwing V-8 is an orphan not slated for the higher-performance version of the CT5-V or the next-generation 2021 Escalade, a highly placed source at GM told our friends at MotorTrend. [A rendering of what the new Escalade could look like is shown above.]

During the somewhat confusing rollout of the new Cadillac CT5-V and CT4-V in May, Cadillac clarified that the 355-hp CT5-V being shown was in fact a new, milder V and assured us a more track-focused V would be announced at a later date. We had hoped that would mean a CT5-V powered by Cadillac's exclusive Blackwing 4.2-liter twin-turbo V-8, but a senior GM source tells us that isn't happening due to cost-cutting at Cadillac, which has seen its sales fall in recent years.

Indeed, both the CT5 sedan and XT6 crossover were originally intended for the CT6's Omega rear-wheel-drive platform, which would have made installing the Blackwing engine fairly straightforward. Cost-cutting moved both the CT5 and XT6 to other platforms, leaving both the Blackwing and the CT6 sedan to stand alone in the lineup. While news of the CT5-V was disappointing, it remained rear-drive. The XT6 was moved to an older front-drive-based architecture to which there's no way to add a larger V-6 engine, a turbocharged V-6, or a V-8. Rather than a rebirth of the original SRX, the XT6 is just another luxury crossover.

We're further pained to learn the Escalade won't get the Blackwing engine, again for cost reasons. We know GM is hard at work on a new independent rear suspension for the next-generation Escalade and its Chevrolet and GMC siblings, and this is apparently sucking up all the funding. Instead, the Escalade will continue to employ Chevrolet's pushrod V-8, although it's unclear which engine variant it will use. Chevrolet now sells 5.3-, 6.2-, and 6.6-liter pushrod V-8s in its trucks and SUVs. The current Escalade uses the 6.2-liter engine with 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft.

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