For the first time in several years, Cadillac is getting its own engine. It will debut in the all-new 2019 CT6 V-Sport, a performance variant of the brand’s big flagship sedan. It’s a 4.2-liter twin-turbo V8 that is estimated to make 550 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. This engine is significant not only because of its promising performance numbers, but because it’s the first ever twin-turbo V8 in a Cadillac — and because it’s an engine that it doesn’t have to share with the rest of General Motors.
What is not special about the engine is the name — or, rather, the lack thereof. As far as I can tell, the closest thing this engine has to a name is “Twin Turbo V8.” Just a description of what it is. I think that’s a little too boring for what this engine is. How is anyone going to get excited about this engine if it doesn’t have a catchy name?
The last Cadillac engine with a name was the Northstar. Whether or not that engine was actually good is debatable, since it had decent performance (especially when supercharged for V models) but there were some reliability issues. But that hardly mattered — because when you hear about an engine called “Northstar,” it just sounds luxurious, doesn’t it? Cadillac was so proud of the Northstar it would put Northstar badges on cars equipped with the engine, just to let everyone know about it. Next time you’re stuck behind a Cadillac DTS in traffic going 10 below the speed limit, check to see if it has a Northstar badge.
It’s not even like engines with names are a thing of the past. There are still some engines — particularly American engines — with extremely cool names. Coyote, Voodoo, Hellcat and Hemi, just to name a few. Chevy V8s usually have an alphanumeric naming scheme, which still has potential to sound cool with names like LT1. Do you see the pattern here? It’s the American V8s that get cool names. Eight cylinders arranged in a V pattern is what we’ve all decided is worthy of a cool name. We give small engines for economy cars nice names like EcoBoost and Ecotec, and we name V8s after scary animals and witchcraft.
So what should the new Cadillac V8 be called? Maybe “Polaris,” to continue the Northstar theme — but the Polaris powersports company would probably take issue with that. Maybe Cadillac could name an engine after an old model, like Fleetwood or DeVille. Whatever it would be, it would have to sound luxurious and not as brash as, for instance, Hellcat — but it also needs to sound like it has 550 horsepower.
Cadillac should be embracing its unique identity as an American luxury car brand by giving its exclusive new engine a cool name that luxury car shoppers who are interested in performance can get excited about. Find a Cadillac for sale