Using independent rear suspension is a massively expensive risk for the company.
The 4.2-liter Cadillac Blackwing V8 is one of the most promising engines that the brand has ever announced in its 117-year history. The DOHC twin-turbo powerplant impressed us when it was announced that it would produce a maximum of 550 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque in the 2020 Cadillac CT6-V. Since its inception, though, the Blackwing has had a rocky road.
For a while, it was rumored the Blackwing engine would go into the new C8 Corvette, but Cadillac was emphatic about keeping its new masterpiece exclusive to the brand. Despite being such an exciting engine, the Blackwing V8 has only so far made it into the limited edition Cadillac CT6 Platinum and Cadillac CT6-V. The next logical step would have been the upcoming 2021 Cadillac Escalade, but unfortunately, it doesn't look like the sophisticated V8 will ever make it beyond the CT6.
According to a previous report from MotorTrend, the plans to integrate the Blackwing V8 into the upcoming Escalade was scuppered due to GM's development cost of building an independent rear suspension system from scratch for its all-new full-size SUVs, as first seen with the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban. MotorTrend then spoke to Tim Herrick, GM's executive chief engineer for full-size trucks and SUVs, for further elaboration.
According to Herrick, the multi-million dollar development was based around a four-link design that had to meet the "grueling" requirements of large SUVs and trucks while delivering a high level of ride isolation on rough surfaces along with sharper handling. For higher trim levels, GM's Magnetic Ride Control damping system, as well as Air Ride Adaptive Suspension, had to be rolled into the development. Finally, GM had to build a new body shop at the Arlington, Texas plant.
It turned out to be a substantial personal gamble for Herrick as well, as the cost was deemed too much by higher-ups. Still, he pushed through it to deliver the new suspension system, telling one: "I'll make you a deal: If we get to the reveal, or if we launch this and you think this was a dumb idea, I'll hand you my badge and let you walk me out."
The auto industry continues to be a tough business.