GM’s Boosted V-6 Truck Engine: Behind The Curve Or Just In Time?

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Unfortunately, sometimes it seems as though GM is always just behind the curve when it comes to new developments, ideas and even powerplants for their various line of vehicles. When it comes to the Chevy Volt, the Toyota Prius and even Honda Insight were the first  hybrid and all-electric success stories. Opposed to the EV1, consumers could actually purchase the latter vehicles instead of leasing them. Thanks, GM.

Furthermore, when it comes to the truck market, Ford has been dominating sales and fuel mileage championships with the venerable and torque-happy Ford EcoBoost F-150. The Ecoboost concept is designed around a small-displacement V-6 toting 3.5L, but making up for its small stature from a turbocharger. This combination means it can run on wallet-friendly 87 octane and still make 365 horsepower and 420 pounds of twist.

6a00d83451b3c669e2017d42222393970cAs pickuptrucks.com reports, “Turbos do wonderful things for torque curves. A normally aspirated V-8 typically reaches its torque peak somewhere around 4,000 rpm, with a slow ramp up and a very fast drop off. The EcoBoost and new GM engine behave much differently, thanks in large part to high-pressure direct injection and two small exhaust turbochargers. From our experience with the EcoBoost, we’ve seen as much as 90 percent of the available torque starts at 1,700 rpm and lasts through 5,000 rpm.”

GM may have a new solution up its sleeve in the form of a boosted V-6 using two turbos, which may see some seat time in specific Cadillac models first. As pickuptrucks.com points out, “That’s why we’ll see the new powertrain and transmission in Cadillac first, then maybe in the Camaro or Corvette after that, then on down the food chain. But make no mistake; this engine will be dropped into the new full-size GM platform.”

General Motors has plans to include this new powerplant into the ’14 Cadiallac CTS sedan. There, using premium fuel, it will offer 420 horsepower and 430 pounds-feet of torque. That puts this new engine in line with the Ecoboost offering and could be a great addition to the Silverado and Sierra half-ton pickup trucks. A smaller twin-turbo V-6 is a no-brainer because trucks guys who need a utility vehicle might not always want the added fuel cost.

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As pickuptrucks.com reports, “Even the test data GM provided in its Cadillac CTS press release noted the new 3.6-liter motor would have a relatively flat torque curve from 2,500 to 5,500 rpm. For towing performance in particular, it is a huge advantage to have that much of the available torque accessible in a lower and wider range of engine speeds. Those characteristics are more in line with big-hauling, heavy-duty turbo-diesel engines like the Cummins, Powerstroke and Duramax. When you’re not hauling, it will behave like a basic V-6 engine, weighing quite a bit less than a comparable V-8 and providing much better around town and highway fuel economy.”

For consumers, especially truck owners, purchases are won through advancements in technology. This new engine choice may help lagging Silverado and Sierra sales and provide consumers with a little satisfaction knowing they’re getting the most out of their purchase. What are your thoughts?

About the author

Sean Haggai

The former Associate Editor of Chevy High Performance, joins publication Chevy Hardcore, Sean is a true blue Bow Tie guy and a core do-it-yourself technician. If it doesn't run a "mouse motor" or a big rat between fenders, Sean ain't interested.
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