A once great engine that used to be the hallmark of General Motors is leaving us. The famous Northstar V8 is ending production after a 17-year run, a GM spokesperson confirmed to Inside Line. The last Northstar will be made sometime near the end of July.

Back in 1992, the 4.6-liter Northstar V8 was big time news. It was a overhead-cam, all-aluminum V8 and used in the Cadillac Allante. It was the company’s first overhead-cam V8 and it brought a wave of new features, including 100,000-mile spark plugs.

For a decade or so, the Northstar was a Cadillac exclusive, but in later years, the motor was used in Buick and Oldsmobile vehicles. There have been many different variants on the Northstar over the years, but the old 4.6-liter was the most widely used. There was even a 3.5-liter V6 that was derived from the Northstar and used in an Oldsmobile right before the company went bust.

With the loss of the Northstar, Cadillac is left without an overhead-cam V8. If needed, the company can turn to the “small block” V8, whose basic design dates back to 1955.

Hit the jump for the full story.

With all the new advanced motors from Germany and Japan, it has yet to be seen if the small block V8 is technically advanced enough for use in Cadillac vehicles. GM was close to finishing work on a Northstar successor, called the “Ultra V8,” but it was shut down when the company began to save money before its 2009 bankruptcy.

Tom Stephens, then GM’s vice president of global powertrain engineering said the new Ultra V8 was “as refined as anything in the history of internal-combustion engines. It was the quietest engine we’ve ever tested." He also said the engine was ready for use and available whenever GM wanted it.

Stephens and Cadillac both see a need for power-dense V6 motors due to the changing consumer preferences and fuel-economy standards.

Whatever they choose to use, we at TopSpeed want to say farewell to a truly great performer.

Source: Inside Line

What do you think?
Show Comments


  (313) posted on 06.16.2010

There is no replacement for displacement. There is still a place in this world for normally aspirated V8s.

Uncia  (868) posted on 06.16.2010

You read some of my comments wrong and responded with false information to things I didn’t say. I’m not going to waste my time.

Uncia  (206) posted on 06.16.2010

Maybe you should learn to read. I said I DO own a Chevy with a small block AND a Toyota. I would pick a Chevy. They last as long and are much easier to work on.

And if my other stuff was so wrong why couldn’t you say anything? Prove me wrong. I use facts you use bias.

Uncia  (228) posted on 06.15.2010

I agree. North star engine is one of the best engine in the world but i guess GM is needed to step further ahead but what engine are they going to use?

Uncia  (868) posted on 06.15.2010

aPACKofWEASELS, you’re facts are so wrong that I’m not even going to bother responding to that crap.

All I’ll say is that once you’ve owned a Ford, a Chevy with your precious small-block, two Nissans and a Toyota, you’ll never buy anything but a Toyota again.

Uncia  (206) posted on 06.15.2010

And if you still don’t believe the reliability of the small block V8 watch this: http://www.jaylenosgar age.com/at-the-garage/ super-cars/mosler-mt90 0s/
Jay Leno calls it a bullet proof engine and makes references to it being more reliable than European competition and easy maintenance.

Uncia  (392) posted on 06.14.2010

Yuck it looks awful to me..who in the world will bid with it?

Uncia  (392) posted on 06.14.2010

I agree with the technology today, v8 engine can now out perform a V4 or a V6 engine, thanks to turbo technology kits. Well can you remember the battle between audi r8 and GT-R? the audi has a v10 engine and the GT-R has only v6 with twin turbo.

Uncia  (206) posted on 06.14.2010

"were producing less reliable vehicles that got poor gas mileage, treated their employees like crap and payed them nothing, and their leadership got incredibly stupid."

Reliability: I bought a brand new Chevy Suburban in 2001 and a Toyota Matrix in 2003. Guess which one has broken down first? Neither. They are both running strong. Guess which one has given me more small problems? The Toyota. Guess which one gets abused more? The Chevy.
I also have family members and friends who have put over 100,000 miles on every Chevy they owned, often over 200,000 and none of them had problems. You talk about reliability without even knowing about the cars.

Poor gas mileage: Compare Cobalt to civic, Golf and Carolla. Malibu to Accord etc. Silverado to Tundra. Cadillac CTS-V to M5. Cruise to anything. etc. etc.
You will find one thing in common with each comparison. The GM gets better gas mileage each time.

Treating employees like crap and paying them nothing: GM gives out better benefits and higher wages than Toyota and Honda in America. Toyota and Honda in their own country pay their workers like crap. Comparative to like $3 an hour here.

Uncia  (206) posted on 06.14.2010

Talk about ignorance. How could it be inferior products that killed them? If it was this would be the case: GM sells crap, people stop buying crap, they lose tons of money and go bankrupt.
Did that happen? NO.
What did happen? Gm sells more cars than any other company, they pull huge loans to support their GROWTH, the economy crashes, they can’t pay back loans, they get pulled under.
And FORD? Well Ford didn’t take out many loans. They were smart in that aspect and predicted a problem.

Uncia  (206) posted on 06.14.2010

I didn’t say it was quiet by sportscar standards, i said it was quiet. You can hardly hear it, even when standing right behind the exhaust.

The current CTS and CTS-V HAVE a small block V8 in them. And guess what, they get better gas mileage then EVERY competitor. It gets 5mpg better than a M5.

100,000 miles isn’t reliable? That is the WARRANTY. It is built to go way farther. If you know anything about these engines they are in 1 million mile trucks. How many BMWs or Lexus’ have a million miles on the odo? None. And your sales figures are wrong. How is it possible that Toyota sells more cars in every category yet GM sells more overall?

Uncia  (868) posted on 06.14.2010

Nice job Naterade22. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Naterade22  (238) posted on 06.14.2010

Apackofweasels, its that kind of arrogance that actually killed gm. They failed to and still fail to realize that japanase automakers have gained the upper hand. While gm built gas guzzlers and pieces of junk, japanese automakers built fuel efficient, affordable cars with the latest technology.
Oh and is that what the gm president told you? That it is because of the economy? Lol. Then why didn’t ford go bankrupt? Any economist with half a brain knows it is also primarily due to the fact that they had way too many subcompanies, were producing less reliable vehicles that got poor gas mileage, treated their employees like crap and payed them nothing, and their leadership got incredibly stupid.

Uncia  (868) posted on 06.14.2010

An engine that’s quiet by sports car standards is not quiet by luxury car standards, especially compared to the excellent Northstar V8. Only 100,000 miles? You call that reliable? The reason that the small block gets better gas mileage is the class it competes in. Yes, the Corvette has outstanding fuel efficiency for a performance car of its caliber. But drop it into a big, heavy Cadillac and you’ll see that mileage plummet.

GM was the global leader in sales by virtue of its number of products; not the products themselves. Car-by-car, Toyota was and is the sales leader. They may not have a Corvette or Escalade competitor, but what they do compete with they destroy. The Camry outsells the Malibu, the Corolla outsells the Cobalt, the Yaris outsells the Vibe, the Highlander outsells the Equinox, the ES 350 outsells the LaCrosse, and so on and so forth.

Uncia  (206) posted on 06.14.2010

Obviously you know nothing about the small block V8. If you have ever seen a Corvette driving you would know how quiet that engine is. Unless you are hard on the throttle it makes almost no noise. And this is with a semi aggressive exhaust in a sports car. It will be more than quiet enough for a luxury car.

The Japanese and Germans have had to build new engine to catch up. And where has it gotten them? They are still behind. Why update a perfect engine. It lasts over 100,000 miles, it is quiet, it makes more power than the competition and it gets better gas mileage.
No need to refine greatly if it is already better than the competition in every category.

And if you knew anything about their downfall you would know it has nothing to do with products. GM was still the global leader in car sales at the time, proving that "bad products" was not their problem. Their products were perfect. What killed them was the falling economy. They had more loans then they could pay for at that instance when the housing crashed causing the banks to crash.

Uncia  (868) posted on 06.12.2010

The small block V8 is not competitive in the luxury car class. While its performance capabilities as seen in the CTS-V and Corvette are apparent, the engine is too coarse and too loud for use in the luxury cars of which the majority of the Cadillac lineup consists. For the ever-competitive luxury class led by Lexus and BMW, the Northstar V8 was GM’s only competitive motor.

@ aPACKofWEASELS , the small block has lasted all these years because GM didn’t bother to build new engines as did the Japanese and the Germans. Rather than truly remaining as competitive as they had been decades ago, GM decided to carry over their old engines for years without excessive refinement—one of the many factors which resulted in the company’s downfall.

Uncia  (13) posted on 06.12.2010

Up until a couple years ago, I always wanted a Cadillac,now I have the $$, and the car just doesn’t cut it anymore. So the northstar being drop mean nothing to me. GM mess around to long, and other car manufactures blew bye.

Uncia  (206) posted on 06.12.2010


See below. The small block is more than competitive.

Uncia  (206) posted on 06.12.2010

"With all the new advanced motors from Germany and Japan, it has yet to be seen if the small block V8 is technically advanced enough for use in Cadillac vehicles."

Have you guys not noticed the small block in the CTS and CTS-V?
Have you not noticed that that engine lasts longer than the "technically advanced" German and Japanese engines, while making more power and getting better gas mileage.

Uncia  (868) posted on 06.12.2010

So in the midst of a financial crisis the best solution that GM came up with is to discontinue their one and only competitive engine without replacement?

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