Test Drive column: Driving the best Cadillac you can’t buy in 2021: 2020 Cadillac CT6 Blackwing Twin Turbo V8

Greg Zyla
More Content Now
2020 Cadillac CT6 Blackwing Twin Turbo V8

Entry price: $95,795

Price as tested: $98,790

Sometimes lightning strikes twice when one receives the opportunity to drive a Cadillac supercar. After a week reviewing the new Cadillac compact class V-Series CT4, here comes the Cadillac I boasted about in that same column, namely the limited production Twin Turbo Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) 4.2-liter V8 that is only available in the larger size CT6 Prestige or the CT6-V Series trims. Considering there might be a total of just 120 or so 2019 and 2020 examples sitting on dealer lots, having a 4.2 Twin Turbo V8 in my driveway is a most pleasant surprise.

But there’s one big problem. Cadillac has dropped the CT6 series from its 2021 lineup and the only way to get one is to buy whatever you can find out there right now. I know this is a different test drive situation, but please read on as there’s much info to share.

Our tester included the new Super Cruise feature, which is available on many other Cadillacs and allows complete hands-free operation on the nation’s freeways and turnpikes. Although Super Cruise won’t change lanes or connect on secondary roads where cross traffic is prevalent, when the green light along the top of the steering wheel lights up indicating Super Cruise is active, you can relax a bit on those long, multi-hour freeway runs. It worked flawlessly during my 20-mile test, but please don’t get the idea you can fall asleep while Cadillac drives your car. That would not be a smart move for obvious reasons.

Super Cruise works in conjunction with Cadillac’s Adaptive Cruise Control and utilizes GM’s OnStar and precision LiDAR mapping in conjunction with in-vehicle cameras, radar sensors, and GPS to help detect every curve in the highway. The Super Cruise package on 2020 and upcoming 2021 models include three years of free OnStar support.

Now let’s dig into Cadillac being a world class automobile, and why this 4.2-liter, 32-valve DOHC V8 is indeed a performance engine that is so very special yet its future is in doubt.

The Blackwing’s 4.2-liter Twin-Turbo V8 is currently available only in the CT6-V or CT6 Platinum, the latter our tester for the week. The Platinum costs a little more than the V-Series Blackwing and carries a base price of $95,795 fully equipped while the V-Series comes in at $94,895. The only option on our tester is a 20-inch platinum five-spoke wheel upgrade for $900, while a $1,300 gas guzzler tax and $995 delivery pushed the final retail to $98,790.

The 4.2-liter Blackwing V8 in the Platinum develops 500 horsepower and 574 lb. ft. of torque, which is 50 less horsepower than its V-Series CT6 that delivers 640 lb. ft. of torque. The fewer horses is due to a more restricted exhaust but believe me, 500 horsepower still gets your attention. Handling all this energy is a 10-speed automatic that helps deliver 25 MPG highway, although the city MPG suffers at just 14.

Unlike the mass produced GM engines, every Blackwing is hand assembled by a single technician who signs his/her name onto an engraved engine ID plate, in this case it was Todd Browning doing the assembly. This engine build takes place in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which happens to be where Corvettes are built.

Corvette and Cadillac have been sharing engines since 2004 when the 405 horse LS6 pushrod V8s appeared in both Cadillac CTS-V and Corvette Z06 models. Since then, Cadillac and Corvette have been hooked at the hip both on the highway and in pro auto racing in the IMSA sports car series.

But rumors persist that because Cadillac is dropping the CT6 from 2021 offerings, so too will this limited edition Blackwing engine find its way to a GM engine holding bin where uncertainty rules. And, considering each Blackwing V8’s cost is nearly $20,000 per engine and currently can’t be produced by mechanical wizardry instead of by hand, the future looks dubious. I spoke with Cadillac and they did admit that the Blackwing V8 won’t be offered in 2021, but did not rule out a possibility of the engine returning in the future.

Regardless of what happens to this specific Blackwing V8, the research and development (R&D) going on at Bowling Green indicates big things are coming. The CT6 Twin Turbo is indeed one of the best performance luxury cars I’ve ever driven and even at near $100K, it is priced accordingly and costs less than many of the competition in this class. Most important, the CT6-V is still listed on the main Cadillac website for you to browse only.

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 122.3 inches, 4,480 lb. curb weight, 15.8 cu. ft. of cargo room and a 19.2-gallon fuel tank.

And as Cadillac says in its limited availability CT6 Blackwing with Super Cruise marketing “It’s designed to take your hands and breath away.”

And boy does it. Your Cadillac dealer will help you locate whatever is left if you give them a call. I can’t give any proof that Cadillac will bring this engine back in a few years, and that’s a possible reality. However, I’m sticking to my prediction that a Blackwing style DOHC V8 will appear in the new mid-engine Corvette with whatever changes necessary for mass production. I doubt GM will throw away all this R&D on what is clearly a tremendous engine that with a few upgrades to boost and induction development, 700 to 900-plus horsepower is possible.

Here’s hoping we see this engine again, it just won’t be in 2021.

Likes: Blackwing V8, race car wrapped in Cadillac opulence, Super Cruise.

Dislikes: Availability, very limited production, future in doubt.

Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at greg@gregzyla.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.

2020 Cadillac CT6 Blackwing Twin Turbo V8