GM Announces New Twin-Turbo 4.2l V8

Cadillac CT6 V-Sport 4.2L Twin Turbo V-8In 2011, Cadillac walked away from high-tech V-8 engines with the last Northstar V-8 equipped models.  At the time, increasing needs for high-fuel economy and the cost of updating and replacing the Northstar convinced Cadillac and GM that forced induction V-6 engines alongside performance models packing GM’s impressive small block OHV V-8 engines would suffice.

What was apparently missed is that luxury consumers will pay for 8 cylinders and some part of them view OHV as low-tech, no matter how effective the engine might be and how rational the decisions are with keeping them around.

Enter current Cadillac head Johan de Nysschen.  A veteran of Audi and Nissan’s Infiniti brands, he brought with him the ability to articulate how a modern V-8 could help bolster the Cadillac brand with its target consumers.

We’ve seen signs of this work recently with hints to a new engine in the Elmiraj concept (4.5L twin-turbo V-8) and the Escala (4.2L twin-turbo V-8).  Both seem to have telegraphed the work being done and may suggest that the displacement announced today was in flux over the past few years or that a larger version of the engine announced today might be possible.

But, what about the engine announced today?

In a nutshell:

  • 4.2L
  • Dual over-head cams
  • Twin-turbos
  • Direct Injection
  • Cylinder deactivation
  • Clean-sheet design (not based on any existing GM engine architecture)
  • 550 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque in its performance trim (for the 2019 CT6 V-Sport
  • Also available in a 500 hp version

Additionally, Cadillac will debut a new 10-speed automatic transmission in the CT6 to pair with this engine.  In addition to 10 gear ratios, it is interesting to note that the top 3 gears are all over-drive.  This should certainly help with buyers that count cylinders and gears to determine the best car to buy.

Besides sky-high gear counts, let’s dig a little deeper into this new Cadillac V-8 (it is of note that de Nysschen has stated explicitly that this engine is a Cadillac exclusive and that the Corvette team can’t have it).


The twin turbos used in this engine live in a slightly non-standard location.  Most engines place the exhaust valves outboard with exhaust headers positioned along the block.  While not unheard of, the new 4.2 puts its exhaust valves in the engine ‘V’ which means that both turbos live tightly packed together between the cylinder banks.  In theory that reduces the distance exhaust has to flow and reduces any lag between hitting the throttle and the engine making its power.


As a high performance oriented engine, Cadillac has used oil as a method of cooling with jets that squirt oil against the underside of the moving pistons.  Since it will be a key part of cooling the engine, it should not come as too much of a surprise that Cadillac has chosen to increase the total oil capacity beyond what most manufacturers might offer.  The 4.2L engine holds a whopping 10 quarts of oil, in 0W40 weight, – twice what might have been common not that many years ago.

It is certainly interesting to see that this engine is debuting with the mid-cycle refresh of the CT6…but it is even more interesting to think about how Cadillac may take advantage of this new bespoke power plant in other models.  Will we be blessed with a Cadillac-engined V-Series?  Will this be a way to differentiate larger SUVs from the brand?

If we really dream…what would an ATS-V with this engine be like.

It will be interesting to watch the brand in the coming years.

Press release below:


Cadillac Unveils XT4 Crossover

As expected, Cadillac has used this year’s New York Auto Show to unveil their 2019 XT4 compact crossover.   Built on what Cadillac is stating is a unique compact crossover chassis – in GM’s Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas City, KS.  It appears that the XT4 slots somewhat in between competition like the BMW X1 and X3 or Audi’s Q3 and Q5 (much closer in size to the Q5 in that case).  

Powered by a 2.0l turbo 4-cylinder with 237 HP (177kW) @ 5000 rpm and 258 lb-ft (350 Nm) @ 155-4000 rpm, the XT4 puts its power down via a 9-speed automatic to either the front or all-four wheels.

XT4 will give Cadillac another offering in the hot luxury utility segment.  Additionally, to attract as broad a group of buyers as possible, this will be the first model to offer Cadillac’s new ‘Y’ trim strategy – where a basic model offers both a luxury and sport trim level to offer what different buyers might be looking for in a luxury vehicle. These trims will have unique looks both inside and out to appeal to their target audience.

Luxury and Sport trims will have unique interior offerings that highlight the intent of the trim.  For instance, both Luxury and Sport will have available Jet Black interior trim, but Luxury has aluminum accents where Sport might offer carbon fiber accents. See the press release below for the complete list of interior trims.

New features debuting in the XT4 include an updated Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment with rotary controller.  From a functional standpoint, XT4 offers electro-hydraulic brake assist – eliminating vacuum assist braking hardware.

XT4 goes on sale in the fall…but Cadillac dealers will be accepting orders at the end of March.  Prices start at $35790, including destination.

Press release below: (more…)

February 2018 Cadillac Sales

February 2018 World-wide Cadillac Sales42%  That is the increase in globals sales that Cadillac managed to achieve in February (year over year).  That is a pretty massive increase that was driven by an 86.5% (7816 units) in China but also a strong 1515 unit (14%) increase in US sales.  It is significant to note that 865 (7%) of that increase were additional fleet sales in February.  Total fleet sales were 2077 units.

China outsold the US market again this month.  Chinese sales were approximately 55.1% of global sales.  All was not rosy with Cadillac, with their amusingly named Rest of World sales down 12.7% (203 units).

Because the break-down in Chinese sales are not yet available, let’s do our normal breakdown of the US sales by model to see where the improvements came from.

February 2018 US Cadillac Sales

Surprisingly, sedan sales were stronger than in 2017 (this may well be where fleet sales increased).   CTS sales were down 3% (27 units), but ATS, CT6, and XTS were all up.  ATS saw sales increase 383 units (38.1%).  CT6 was up 5.4% (a paltry 43 units – but every unit counts).  XTS was up a strong 598 units (44.5%).

Crossovers and SUVs were strong again in February.  Escalade was up 161 units for the month.  XT5 continued its leading place in the brand with 37.8% of the entire brand’s volume.  For the month, sales were up 8.8% (377 units) over what was already a strong 2017 number.

Remember, XT4 debuts later this month as a 2019 model – meaning it could go on sale any time this year given the odd US model-year naming standards.  We would expect it to hit showrooms this summer, when the rest of the lineup sees their 2019’s bow as well.

This should increase Cadillac sales and help them continue their several month year-over-year global sales growth.  Of course, that will also be about the time we will start to guess at the next Cadillac crossover.  We would bet our money on a 3-row crossover to complement the body-on-frame Escalade for buyers that don’t need the absolute maximum towing that models brings.

Johan de Nysschen Chats About Cadillac

Johan de NysschenCadillac chief Johan de Nysschen spent some time during a journalist roundtable discussing the current and future state of the Cadillac brand.

As part of the discussion, de Nysschen gave as reasons why sedans are not selling well in the US market as being a result of cheap fuel, younger buyers that don’t value performance driving as much as a vehicle that enables their lifestyle and activities, as well as road conditions.  While it is certainly true that none of these help – it is also significant to note that the German competition are handily outselling the Cadillac sedans.  So, it would seem that brand cachet has at least a bit to do with it.  Hopefully Cadillac has a plan for how to build this missing ingredient.

As to motorsports, Cadillac plans to stay their current course and has no immediate plans to field/sponsor a Le Mans team.

The question was also raised about Cadillac bringing more Chinese built models (like the current CT6 Plug-in Hybrid).  Mr de Nysschen did not completely shoot down the idea, but stated that such a choice would be limited to models where building in China makes sense (Chinese consumers want the product) but worldwide volume would not call for the tooling investment to build in multiple locations.  Specifically, he mentioned that the need to share profits with their Chinese manufacturing partner would keep them from bringing high volume models to the US from China.

As to China-only products, de Nysschen reiterated something we have heard before, that luxury buyers are becoming more sophisticated world-wide which drives their tastes to converge.  So, this would tend to drive out the need to sell a China-only model…though it is interesting to note that the ATS is sold in China only in its ATS-L long-wheelbase model.  Since the ATS, CTS, and XTS are soon to be replaced with the new CT5 sedan – this could mean that varying wheelbase models are just part of the platform and will be offered in multiple markets.

So, there was nothing earth shattering in this latest set of observations and direction for the brand.  But it does suggest that Cadillac is continuing on the same course we have heard before.  More crossovers for the US are on the way, investments are made in places where they make sense.

Source: Autoblog and MotorTrend

Cadillac Names Deborah Wahl as New Global Chief Marketing Officer

Deborah Wahl, Cadillac Global Chief Marketing OfficerCadillac has named Deborah Wahl as their new Chief Marketing Officer, replacing former CMO Uwe Ellinghaus.  She will be based in Cadillac’s offices in New York City, NY and will report directly to Cadillac chief Johan de Nysschen.

Ms. Wahl comes to Cadillac after her most recent stint as CMO of McDonalds, and before that at Pulte Group.  Though, before you jump to the conclusion that she doesn’t know how to sell anything but happy meals and houses, she has over a decade of experience in automotive marketing with a history as CMO of Chrysler and marketing roles at Toyota, Mazda, and Ford.

She officially takes the reins of Cadillac marketing on March 26th.

We wish her luck.

Source: Cadillac and AdAge

Read on for the press release from Cadillac: