Blackwing Isn’t Dead Quite Yet

Blackwing Isn’t Dead Quite Yet

Cadillac’s Blackwing, a twin-turbo, 4.2 litre V8 that it only put in the CT6-V and CT6 Platinum, is definitely cool, even if the concept of it is a thing a lot of automakers have been doing for a long time. Cadillac said Tuesday that it was keeping the name Blackwing around but not just for the engine.

The days are numbered for the engine after Cadillac said in February that it had “no additional plans” for it, even though you can still get it in the aforementioned cars for now. The Blackwing name, meanwhile, will live on in the form of cars themselves. This is all a bit of a marketing exercise, but I don’t really blame Cadillac because after some contemplation I think the name itself is about 50 per cent of the reason the engine was cool to begin with.

Cadillac today announced that the fourth generation of its V-Series sub-brand, currently spearheaded by the 2020 CT4-V and CT5-V, will eventually include ultra-performance variants that carry the Blackwing name. The future, track-capable vehicles will be called CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing, representing the apex of Cadillac performance and driver engagement.

Cadillac did not release details on what will power these cars, but it did say, “Earlier this year, at Virginia International Raceway, each car set lap times seconds faster than the legendary ATS-V and CTS-V.”

More importantly, emphasis mine:

The V-Series Blackwing models will feature specially tuned chassis, vehicle control technologies and engines. Each model will also be offered with a manual transmission – a feature most luxury brands no longer offer but continues to be a strong desire for many performance driving enthusiasts.

I respect Cadillac’s smugness here about continuing to offer a manual compared to other automakers, but what the company isn’t mentioning is that automakers are offering fewer and fewer manual cars because people simply aren’t buying them, in the U.S. at least.

I also respect Cadillac’s insistence on leaning into performance sedans after the so-so sales performance of the ATS-V and CTS-V. Remember that Cadillac will also be GM’s lead brand for electric, while Escalade continues to roll on. Most days I can’t tell if Cadillac is extremely hapless or the work of some kind of misunderstood genius, given all of the different directions it throws itself toward.

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