Cadillac’s orphaned Blackwing V-8 will be used by Manifattura Automobili Torino

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2020 Cadillac CT6-V Cameron Neveu

We’ve all been wondering what will happen to Cadillac’s new Blackwing V-8, the 4.2-liter twin-turbo DOHC engine that was briefly used in the now discontinued CT6-V, yet won’t make it into the new Escalade nor the upcoming flagship performance version of the CT5. In a surprising turn of events, the engine will live a second life in Europe, where its development will be continued by the Punch Group, new owners of the former General Motors Propulsion Engineering Center in Turin, and Manifattura Automobili Torino, makers of the New Stratos and the Japanese electric hypercar Aspark Owl. The Blackwing V-8 will go to work in a yet-to-be-revealed, limited-production MAT project. Talk about the unexpected!

[UPDATE: GM contacted us to clarify that there is no finalized deal. Read the full statement and details here.]

supercar rear three-quarter in garage
Nagy Attila Károly

Back in 2018, we called the 550-horsepower “hot V” Blackwing V-8 a bombshell. GM makes excellent V-8s both with and without superchargers, but this twin-turbo four-cam DOHC engine opened up new possibilities, especially for Cadillac. A year ago, Cadillac president Steve Carlisle said the new V-8 will remain exclusive to the luxury brand, at least as long as the decision is up to him. Then, the only product allocated for the Blackwing was suddenly discontinued, and the Performance Build Center at GM’s Bowling Green, Kentucky, plant stopped hand-building the engine.

blackwing v8 engine closeup
Cadillac

GM remained tight-lipped about the V-8’s future prospects. Meanwhile, I got on a budget flight to visit Manifattura Automobili Torino, the small manufacturer in Northern Italy currently working on completing its planned 25-car run of New Stratos specials, as well as developing the Japanese Aspark Owl hyper-EV.

Before the cancelled Geneva Motor Show, MAT president Paolo Garella revealed to me that MAT is creating a new, limited-production model based on the company’s own design. This future vehicle will be powered by, you guessed it, GM’s Blackwing V-8:

“We have an agreement with General Motors. It’s a very-very interesting engine, a 4.2-liter twin-turbo reverse-flow V-8. I believe that for Cadillac, it’s discontinued. They aren’t using it anymore,” Garella said.

“It’s probably not that well known, but the only GM operation left in Europe is in Turin. It’s just at the back of the Polytechnic University, and it’s where they develop all of their global diesel engines. They are now looking into other lines of business as well, and as I understand, they are trying to turn the engineering center into a profit-oriented business. Up until now, it was only for in-house development. They are very active in the region, so for us, it’s an excellent opportunity.”

Later, after this discussion, GM announced news from the corporate side it would be selling its Propulsion Engineering Center in Turin, to Punch Group. This agreement between the two intends to ensure the continuity of key GM programs, at least through the end of 2021. Doug Parks, GM’s executive vice president had this to add:

“We wanted the best solution for our employees and our company—the transfer of ownership to Punch Group, in addition to an engineering services agreement, does just that. The work will continue to support our global operations and allow us to focus our internal efforts on long-term solutions.”

I followed up with MAT to see how this change of ownership would affect its agreement on the Blackwing V-8 for a future Manifattura Automobili Torino vehicle. Luckily, it seems that the plan is moving ahead:

“Manifattura Automobili Torino and PUNCH Torino engineering center are glad to present and showcase the GM 4.2-liter V-8 twin-turbo,” said an MAT spokesperson.

“MAT and Punch Torino are cooperating on the development of products based on the renowned engines of the American group, which are well suited for special applications, from racing to road usage. Punch Torino inherits all the know-how and knowledge of the former GM Global Propulsion System and it is specialized in the development and in the ‘business to business’ distribution of propulsion systems.

MAT is obviously very proud to present this cooperation, a sign and a confirmation not only of our engineering capabilities but also of the standing and the trust that big companies are giving us. This collaboration is going to open many interesting possibilities and a new exciting chapter for MAT.”

And with that, GM’s formerly Cadillac-exclusive, 4.2-liter double-overhead cam reverse-flow V-8 is back in action once again. We can’t wait to see the car MAT is dreaming up for the Blackwing.

car front under cover in garage
Nagy Attila Károly
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