GM plans to rival EcoBoost with a V-8. Will it work?
October 31, 2012
By: Nick Saporito
Last week GM hosted media for a new product reveal, but it wasn’t a vehicle. Instead, the company revealed their long anticipated next iteration of the coveted Small Block V-8. While the event focused almost exclusively on the new V-8’s flagship application, the 2014 Corvette, there is no question that this new V-8 is far more critical for GM’s next generation trucks.
The Generation V Small Block is essentially a ground-up redesign of the engine with retention of the fundamentals that make a Small Block a Small Block in the first place. Details of the new engine are vast and very technical, but the gist of it is fairly simple…the new Small Block is more powerful, more fuel-efficient and a beacon of GM’s engineering might.
At the event GM only spoke of a 6.2-liter, but of course, there will be others for the trucks. GMI has been told from multiple sources, including dealers that attended recent dealer meetings about the trucks, that the fairly iconic 5.3-liter displacement will remain intact on the 2014 trucks.
In fact, dealers at the meetings have stated that GM intends for the all-new 5.3-liter V-8 to rival Ford’s successful twin-turbo V-6 in the F-150 in both power and fuel economy. It is unclear what the new 5.3-liter will be rated at, though most sources have suggested that the engine will see a sizable increase in power, likely up to or near Ford’s EcoBoost V-6, which is rated at 365 horsepower and 420 foot-pounds of torque.
Aside from the 5.3-liter, the 6.2-liter V-8 is also said to remain in the 2014 trucks. Like the 5.3-liter, it too will be all new and see a sizable power increase. In car applications the new 6.2-liter will be rated at 450 horsepower or more, but it’s likely a safe bet that the truck application of this engine will be rated lower in horsepower with a stronger focus on torque.
Last week’s announcement suggests heavily that both new truck V-8’s will have features that we all knew were prerequisites to GM’s new trucks being taken seriously. Direct fuel injection, a more extensive variable valve timing and more aggressive Active Fuel Management are almost certainties with the new truck V-8’s.
The extensive amount of engineering that has gone into the new Small Block architecture is vast and an interesting gamble on GM’s part. Just as Ford rakes in accolades and sales with a twin-turbo V-6 truck, GM is rivaling it with an all new V-8. It’s far too early to know if this is a bet that will pay off, but last week’s announcement suggests that the new truck V-8’s hold a good chance of being the best in the truck segment.
Why is GM staying out of the twin-turbo V-6 truck game? Well, there are several reasons. First off, GM’s upcoming twin-turbo V-6 isn’t ready for prime time yet. At this time the engine is still in development and would not be ready for when the trucks launch in 2013. Second of all, it’s starting to look like the Gen V Small Block could be a viable alternative to a boosted six. The trick for GM will be convincing the public that their super high tech V-8 is just as advanced as a boosted six.
Over time it is expected that GM will add a twin-turbo V-6 to their full size trucks. The timetable for such is unknown, but if it is approved, expect it to launch around the same time as GM’s eight-speed automatic transmissions, which will be about a year after the launch of the trucks next year.
At this point, everyone is just waiting for the official power and fuel economy figures of the 2014 Silverado and Sierra, while hopefully arise in December.