In software-intensive cyber-physical systems (siCPS) the interplay of software control with the physical environment has a prominent role. Nowadays, siCPS are expected to (i) effectively deal with the issues of distribution, scalability, and environment dynamicity, (ii) control their emergent behavior, and, at the same time, (iii) be versatile and tolerant in face of changes and threats. Although approaches that individually meet the above requirements of siCPS already exist, their synergy in a comprehensive software engineering framework is far from trivial. In this paper, we pinpoint the important characteristics of engineering siCPS in an attempt to show that they introduce distinct challenges to traditional software engineering. We argue that this can be addressed by a synergy and adaptation of existing models and abstractions, show our proposal towards such a synergy, and discuss its implications.