Home » What’s Up With The Lame Cadillac Engine Treatments?

What’s Up With The Lame Cadillac Engine Treatments?

What’s Up With The Lame Cadillac Engine Treatments?

As we’ve said countless times before, details matter. Whether it’s the way a door sounds when it’s closed or the satisfying click of a cupholder, these seemingly minor elements can have a big impact. Unfortunately, when it comes to Cadillac engine treatments on all vehicles except the CT6-V, this attention to detail is nowhere to be found. Just one look under the hood of most Cadillac models reveals a smorgasbord of cables, wires, piping and other hardware like exposed heat and/or noise shielding. Suffice it to say that this does not make for a pretty sight, and we now know why.

2019 Cadillac XT4 features exposed cabling and uncanny heat/resonance shielding at the firewall

One Cadillac insider told us that the luxury automaker ignores the engine aesthetics for one reason: “Cadillac owners don’t open the hoods of their vehicles.”

That’s the synopsis provided by our source, who recounted a meeting where the above sentiment was communicated by management. 

For those enthusiasts that regularly dive headfirst into their Cadillac engine, either for maintenance, performance upgrades, or the like, that statement may seem like a bit of a slap in the face.

That said, it’s not terribly surprising either. After all, enthusiasts are in the minority here, and most owners simply want to turn a key (or press the engine stop-start button) and get where they’re going, without worrying about all the mechanical stuff going on behind the scenes, or under the hood.

The engine bay of the Mercedes-Benz GLC43 is significantly neater and more organized.

However, it’s worth noting that many of Cadillac’s direct rivals have significantly more visually-appealing engine treatments, adding bouts of covers, hiding the cabling or otherwise organizing the compartment. Take, for instance, the engine compartment of the Mercedes-Benz GLC43.

Now, one could argue that the neater treatment of rivals like Mercedes would make it more difficult to work on a car, which is absolutely true. Between incredibly tight packaging, the proliferation of advanced digital systems, and the seemingly ever-increasing complexity, it takes a pretty dedicated DIY’er to even do simple things like change the spark plugs.

That said, as enthusiasts, we wish things were a little different. We’d love to see the same care and attention spent designing the rest of the vehicle applied to the Cadillac engine treatment as well. If not, well… at least we have the aftermarket, right?

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Written by
Jonathan is an automotive journalist based out of Southern California. He loves anything and everything on four wheels.


  1. I agree completely. Engine compartments of older models were a sight to behold, for example, a 2008 STS I previously owned. Nice engine cover with Cadillac crest. Now may as well be a Chevy engine.

    • I also agree. I have a 2009 STS at the moment and the engine cover is very attractive.

      Management is probably correct when they say that Cadillac owners don’t look under the hood. Neither do most BMW, Mercedes, or Audi owners. Still, I would like to see Cadillac show a little pride in that area. How costly can it be to have a specific engine cover made, even if the engine itself is shared with other brands? It would certainly give the appearance of “Special-ness”. (Is that a word?)

    • It is a Chevy engine!

    • the main thing is to open the hood only when it is necessary to add water to the wiper reservoir

  2. Sure a neat engine compartment is a joy to look at. Remember the early V-16’s? Beauty and simplicity itself. With that being said. Put down for not really caring what it looks like “under the hood”.

  3. My last two Lexus and my current Infiniti have multiple covers. I don’t care for them, they only get in the way of maintenance. In addition they add weight. Isn’t the hood the cover for the engine compartment?

    • Allow me to play devil’s advocate here.

      Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi remain the best-selling luxury automobile brands worldwide. All three have detailed engine treatments (not just covers, mind you). So consumers don’t seem to mind whatsoever that a well-done automobile weighs a little more than one that’s not as well-done.

      Furthermore, most luxury car owners don’t do their own maintenance. And, much like Cadillac is thinking in our article, they also don’t look under the hood often, if at all. That much is true. But in the oft chance that they do look under the hood, the luxury elements should also translate to that compartment. If it doesn’t, it is another potential to create a dissatisfier, and another reason not to earn the next purchase from that customer. As it happens, Cadillac’s biggest problem right not is that it gets the initial purchase consideration and purchase, but it has had trouble getting repeat purchases in segments that it isn’t traditionally strong (sedans, coupes, crossovers… so – everything except for Escalade).

      So you see, all the reasoning is in favor of doing a neat engine compartment. The only reasoning against is cost, plus the additional time it takes to develop a vehicle with a better-looking engine bay (which ultimately boils down to cost). In Cadillac’s case, it’s playing catch-up to the leaders – and it must be better than the competition…. not on par, not worse, but better.

  4. It’s called attention to detail, and that’s what you should be paying for when you buy a luxury car. The current mismanagement of Cadillac aren’t fit to run a tap.

  5. Funny how we’re discussing this but yes GM cost cutting is evident everywhere. They cheap out the engine bay because few look there but what’s their excuse for interiors where we spend ALL our time? Cadillacs should be exceptional and special and the market hasn’t responded because they’re not. Consumers aren’t idiots and go for the most for the best value. Certainly there are exceptions but look at Hyundai, exceptional value at an acceptable price. GM needs to re-establish itself and Cadillac and that means gorgeous interiors, “gotta have” styling, strong powertrains at a good value. Case in point the XT6 loaded is $75k… seriously?

    • Bravo very good post

  6. If you don’t think that the engine compartment in the Mercedes looks better, then it’s time to get your eyes checked.

    It pains me to say it, but the engine compartment in Mercedes models is on a whole other level when compared to those of Cadillac models. The same typically is true for Audi and (sometimes) BMW (depending on model). If you don’t see it, there is no hope for you.

  7. “The engine bay of the Mercedes-Benz GLC43 is significantly neater and more organized.” Maybe so for you, but I see a lot of covers, and that isn’t being “more organized”. I prefer less covers or none at all. That is why older “muscle car” engine looked better. Most modern manufacturers don’t want the owner to work on their own cars anymore, so they complicate the access and force that owner to visit the dealership. There is no hope anymore for the DIYers. BTW, my present car is a Fusion Hybrid with only one cover (to hold the air filter), and everything else is accessible.


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