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The Northstar V8 has been a great engine for General Motors, but there's no denying that it's past its prime. GM had been working on an engine program to replace the Northstar with a new high-tech DOHC V8 for its luxury cars, but revealed today that the program's been cancelled. It's kind of easy to see why, as the General's 3.6L direct-inject V6 offers V8-like horsepower with less weight and better fuel economy. In fact, we bet more people choose the 3.6L DI V6 when ordering a Cadillac STS than the 4.6L Northstar V8 since the former is only down 14 horsepower on the latter (320 vs 306). Wouldn't you? And when an honest-to-goodness V8 is really needed, say in a performance model like the CTS-V, GM's got plenty of Corvette engines from which to choose that get exemplary fuel economy on the highway. And that's really what all this is about: looking ahead to the day when a 35 mpg CAFE standard has to be met. Gone will be the days when top-level luxury cars were offered with V8 engines just because they were the most powerful and torquey motors of the time. If the same power can be achieved in a lighter, more efficient V6, expect most automakers to start ditching V8s quickly. Acura's never had one, and the upcoming Lincoln MKS isn't getting one. So is it really surprising that GM may scale back on offering V8 engines, as well? To be clear, the only thing announced today was that a program to develop a new DOHC V8 has been cancelled by GM. Without another overhead cam V8 to take the Northstar's place, however, we think the times they are a changin'. Now, imagine a Cadillac powered by a diesel V8...
[Source: Automotive News]


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  • 75 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's an old engineering principal: two engines, same horsepower..the one with less cylinders will have the highest mileage.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I like the OHC design in the in line 4 cylinders I`ve had.
      For any v block engine I have owned I prefer the OHV design.
      I prefer a shorter timing chain over the long one found in a OHC engine.
      I liked the gear driven cam of the old Ford OHV 300 six.
      The GM small block is the best engine made in my opinion. They should stick with it.
      I don`t hear anyone bragging up Fords OHC Trition engines, though they are good engines.
      There`s absolutely nothing that makes OHC techically more advanced than a OHV engine. I believe oiling is superior in the later engine.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why not just add DI to the Northstar? It's already a DOHC V8 with VVT. It's a proven design. Why was a clean-sheet design considered in the first place?

      Is any one person in charge of GM's engine programs, or are there a dozen or so fiefdoms?
        • 7 Years Ago
        I think you might on to something.

        Just because they cancelled the "new" engine program does no mean that they won't refine the Northstar and add DI.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't understand this one. I may just be me bot big V8's, high American style, and large comfortable interiors with plush rides are what makes Cadillac, Cadillac. And no I am not 60 years old I am young. I just remember growing up riding in Lexus's, Cadillacs, and Lincolns. There used to be key distinctions in them.

      If you bought a Lexus you wanted something cheap and efficient. If you bought American you got something over the top luxurious and powerful.

      If I wanted a v6 "luxury" car I would just buy a lexus or something foreign.

      V8 may be more then I need but I like to have the option. Luxury usually means over the top you know. I mean I can just buy a used Geo to get around in but I prefer a large American luxury car.

      Oh well guess there is no reason to buy American luxury now. Lincoln and Cadillac have stripped out every reason to buy them. Now they are nothing more then lexus clones.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Image a caddillac powered by a v8 diesel?
      I live in Italy, where diesel engines are quite common, and what i can say is that DI gas engines are the way, especially because diesel's getting more expensive and diesel engines hilariously expensive and complicated.

      Trust me, You don't want that. Period.
      • 7 Years Ago
      At the end of the day--does it really matter if its 4 or 6 cylinders pushing you down the street if it goes like a bat out of hell. With today's technology, 6 cylinder engines offer better power and efficiency than V8s of the 90s. Also turbocharging has come along way too boost smaller engines to incredible numbers.
        • 7 Years Ago
        There is that immediate feeling of power delivery at all RPMs in a V8 that a V6 or I4 can never offer, even turbos or supercharged ones.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Of course, you do realize that BMW's new V8 is a Twin-Turbo and due in the 5-series very shortly.
        Michael D.
        • 7 Years Ago
        It is indeed a saw and disheartening day, and I don't want to see GM, especially "Maximum" Bob Lutz sell out to hippies and environmentalists!

        Perhaps there's light at the end of the tunnel: maybe the 6.2L small-block will be used company wide, and in different versions and formats, supercharged and naturally aspirated. So maybe the 6.2L V8 will take the place of the Northstar, which has been with us since MY1993. and find it's way into the XLR, V-series editions, and the expected Zeta-based STS/DTS successor. With that 6.2L, perhaps a high-tech, twin-cam V8 would be considered redundant.
        • 7 Years Ago
        But then again--with today's technology, you should be able to build more fuel efficient V8s and stick them in cars where the people buying them don't care about gas guzzler taxes.
      • 7 Years Ago
      NOOOOOOOOO!!!! DAMN YOU GM!!!! YOU ARE SCREWED! Cadillac cannot compete in the luxury market unless it has a powerful V8. Mercedes, BMW, and Audi all have nice and powerful V6's, but its their V8's that shine (and sell). I have driven a 3.6 DI STS and 4.6 N* V8 back to back and the 3.6 sucks compared to the "slightly" more powerful V8. Why can't GM make a DI V8, making about 360-400hp, while still getting as good of mileage as the Northstar?
        • 7 Years Ago
        The LS motors are fine for the Vette and "ordinary" sport sedans like the G8 and (fingers crossed) a future Impala SS.

        But pushrods will always have severe NVH issues, and NVH should never be associated with Cadillac. Not even remotely.

        The Northstar is bloody outdated, and the LS isn't fit for Cadillac. The Ultra V8 should have put Cadillac back on the map with a flagship ready to take on the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes S-Class.

        The HF w/DI is an impressive engine, but Cadillac's upcoming flagship needs an engine with more than 300hp. I can easily see an HF-based 4.8L V8 with over 400hp (assuming the same hp/cyl as the 3.6L DI V6). Bore it out a bit more (how does 5.3L sound?), and it'd easily surpass the supercharged Northstar.
        • 7 Years Ago
        GM isn't dropping powerful V8s, they're just not investing in a new DOHC one. And why would they? Their pushrod V8s are exemplary in producing both power and economy with excellent packaging. Once DI gets into the pushrod motors with AFM you'll see a 5.3L V8 with 400hp and vastly improved mileage and the Ethanol option.

        The N* is a pig compared to the LS motors. The LS motors are torquier, physically smaller, more powerful and get better efficiency, all while sounding like an angry grizzly bear (that's a good thing).
      • 7 Years Ago
      Of course the V6 STS is going to sell more than the V8 STS. The V8 is high priced with near zero benefit. And the V6 DI CTS will outsell the STS because the STS is about as exciting as a pig in makeup.

      The cancellation of the DOHC V8 program at GM is more proof that GM and Cadillac do not have what it takes to compete with Lexus or the big Germans. NO one in their right mind is going to buy a rumbling, unrefined pushrod engine in a luxury car. In fact, even the new CTS has that unrefined grumble in all V6 iterations. It's inappropriate.

      Sorry GM. Spin it however you want. This was simply a bad decision and further distances Cadillac from the true leaders in the luxury market -- Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Audi. Cadillac is forever 2nd rate.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Bentley Arnage is moving to the W16 -- detuned of course.
        The remained of the Audified Bentleys are DOHC.
        • 7 Years Ago
        dude,
        sts v is supercharged N*
        • 7 Years Ago
        naggs.... go drive a Corvette and STS-V back to back. I have. You will feel and hear the difference. What works in Corvette is inappropriate for Cadillac.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Err, wow, ignorance at it's best! The V6 in the CTS and STS is the HFV6, 3.6L DOHC with full VVT. No pushrods there I am afraid.
        • 7 Years Ago
        your comments are ridiculous. Audi and Jaguar are second tier luxury makers in the US market. This is not the end of the v8 for Cadillac, just the end of this expensive DOHC V8. The 6.2L in the escalade makes more power than Lexus, Audi and Jaguar DOHC V8s.
        • 7 Years Ago
        so what. One is DOHC. One is Not. STS is more refined. Corvette is not.

        What is more appropriate for a luxury car?? Refinement.
        • 7 Years Ago
        This is America. We like powerful, good sounding. And honestly, they can be made very, very quiet. Next time you drive down the road, listen to some Suburbans, and Silverados. Large V8s, but still a very quiet truck.

        Internal combustion is even more "out dated" then pushrods. OHC is even older... Please, get over that debate.

        Cadillac does not have to conform to everyone else's way of doing things. It's a thing called character. Try giving the CTS-V a ride before ragging on it. Easily the most fun I have had in a luxury car. The car is amazingly quiet when you drive it easy. The only NVH issue is when you drop the pedal and let it rip. And you SHOULD hear the damn thing when it goes balls out.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Fact of the matter is, people, there should be no reason for a loud, unrefined, uncouth, perceived out-dated pushrod V8 in ANY Cadillac -- this includes the V-Series.

        Cadillac up to this point has been flush with inappropriate, poorly built, questionable luxury cars. Cadillac continues to be the 1-hit wonder -- the CTS. Without a sophisticated, high-powered V8, CTS will never compete with the 550i and E550. CTS will be relegated to 2nd tier. And forget about competing internationally.

        And what happens now to XLR? Does an $80,000 roadster get a loud, overbearing LS3? How much insulation is Cadillac going to need to put in the XLR to shut it up? A loud, rumbly V8 is fine for a Camaro or a Mustang. But it is not appropriate for a luxury car.

        I don't believe GM knows what it means to have a luxury brand in its portfolio because they are treating Cadillac like the red-headed stepchild, instead of the premium brand it should be. A lack of a sophisticated DOHC V8 is just another reason why Cadillac is and will continue to remain a has been in the luxury market.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "Fact of the matter is, people, there should be no reason for a loud, unrefined, uncouth, perceived out-dated pushrod V8 in ANY Cadillac -- this includes the V-Series."

        sounds like someone has zero experience with ls v8s

        your perception is the only problem that actually exists
        • 7 Years Ago
        are you serious?

        your argument seems to go like this, dohc is better because it is smooth and refined. sts v should have had a dohc motor, the one it has is not smooth and refined. oh, it does have a dohc motor? whatever, ohvs suck.

        i stand by my statement before, sounds like you dont know what your talking about
        • 7 Years Ago
        Bentley's drivetrains are pushrod. I'd rather have a pushrod muscle-car rumble (which sounds awesome) than a whiny DOHC scream.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The geriatric Bentley Arnage has the pushrod V8. The volume Bentley Continental has the VW corporate DOHC W12.
      • 7 Years Ago
      They already have powerful and fuel efficient V8's. Just look across the LSx series of engines. Look's like LSx engines will power all future cadillacs with the V12 for the future highend Cadillac. While a DOHC series of V8's would have been cool, I have no complaints with GM expanding use of the OHV V8's.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I will find it quite ironic if the 'antiquated' GM pushrod V8 becomes the standard bearer of V8 power for Cadillac. For all of the moronic rhetoric against OHV designs spewed by those who merely gurgitate the PR drivel of marques only offering DOHC, no other engine on the market offers the balance of power and mileage from as dimensionally small an engine as the LS series.

      It appears as though pushrod V8's are kind of like cockroaches, when all of the 'higher' life forms are gone, they will still be here.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Just think...if they could produce such great push rod engines....imagen what they could do with DOHC!
      • 7 Years Ago
      So a revised Northstar probably putting out 350+ hp for the top then? Here's another answer- TurboV6. Would work great with the DI V6, putting 360+ hp down easily, still lots of low RPM torque (though not as much as the V8 I suppose), better fuel economy, etc.
        • 7 Years Ago
        A dual mode 3.6 would also offer great performance, but with better economy.

        Great torque off the line like a V8 - no turbo lag.
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