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GM's Vortec 4200 I-6 Named 2004 Ward's 10 Best Engine



PONTIAC, MI - For the third consecutive year, General Motors' Vortec 4200 inline six-cylinder engine has been recognized as a Ward's Communications "10 Best Engine."

When it was introduced in 2002 model year vehicles, the Vortec 4200 was the first inline six-cylinder engine in GM Powertrain's engine portfolio in almost 20 years. Recognized by Ward's at that time, the engine has continued to garner their praise, earning 10 Best recognition in 2003, and now again for 2004.

The Vortec 4200 is a 4.2-liter, inline six-cylinder, all-aluminum, dual-overhead-cam, four-valves-per-cylinder design engine. Using a range of advanced engine technologies, like variable valve timing, electronic throttle control, and coil-on-plug ignition, the engine delivers 275 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque, providing customers the power of a V-8 with the efficiency of a six-cylinder.

Since its introduction, the Vortec 4200 has been a proven sales success in GM's midsize sport utility vehicles, with engine production at GM's Flint South Engine plant exceeding one million engines in August 2003. Today, it is the standard powerplant in the 2004 Buick Rainier, Chevrolet TrailBlazer and TrailBlazer EXT, GMC Envoy, Envoy XL and Envoy XUV.

For 2004, GM engineers have updated the popular inline-six to meet federal Tier 2 Bin 5 and California LEV II exhaust emission standards in vehicles rated at less than 6,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight, making many of the SUVs it powers cleaner than most cars on the road today.

In addition to advanced engine technologies, the Vortec 4200 is built using advanced manufacturing processes. The cast aluminum six-cylinder engine blocks and aluminum cylinder heads are produced using the "lost foam" casting process at GM's Saginaw Metal Casting Operation. This process allows more exact dimensional control while reducing machining efforts in oil galleries, coolant and other internal passages.

"We designed the Vortec 4200 to be a benchmark engine in power, performance, and refinement," says Ron Kociba, chief engineer, Vortec inline engines. "We're honored that the judges of the Ward's 10 Best continue to recognize the engine for these characteristics."

Ward's Communications publishes Ward's AutoWorld and Ward's Engine and Vehicle Technology Update. The criteria for the 10 Best Engines competition includes a range of customer driveability factors such as horsepower, torque, technical relevance to the vehicle, and low levels of noise, vibration and harshness. Ward's 10 Best Engines was created as a way to recognize superior performance and showcase the critical importance of powertrain technology and excellence in engine engineering.

GM Powertrain is a global producer of engines, transmissions, castings and components for GM vehicles and other automotive, marine, and industrial OEMs. Headquartered in Pontiac, GM Powertrain has operating and coordinating responsibility for General Motors powertrain manufacturing plants and engineering centers in North America, South America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region.
 

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The 4.2 is one helluvan engine. My sister just bought an '03 Trailblazer EXT and loves the smoothness and power.
 

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it seems that the I6 and I5's would make decent engines to put into cars as well. however, it is possible that they are too large...i'm really not sure. i think gm should build something to fit in where the caprice did, and use the I6 as the base engine perhaps...and offer a V8 as well.
 

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Thats awesome! Great to see GM finnally getting recognition for there good engines, (well some at least) :D Now I want to see this put in a car (next Camaro Maybe?) and then have the aftermarket or GM step up and produce upgraded engine parts to make this one of the great 'tuner' engines that it could be.
 

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Im surprised the LS1 isnt on the list. Its a LEV engine, can get up to 30mpg, and produce 350hp and 400hp in LS6 trim using "old" push rod technology. I know it used to be on there, I guess its not that cool anymore?

Anyway, the I-6 would be waaaay to big for the next camaro's engine bay. I-5 maybe, but that might not be enuff power. I like the idea of maybe the 3.6 going into the base camaro. Something that will match or just breach what the mustang will put out. I want to see a hot rod use the I-6. Im sure that could happen as some of them used to have I-8's. That would be one heck of a engine swap.
 

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Originally posted by bigals87z28@Dec 12 2003, 09:38 AM
Im surprised the LS1 isnt on the list. Its a LEV engine, can get up to 30mpg, and produce 350hp and 400hp in LS6 trim using "old" push rod technology. I know it used to be on there, I guess its not that cool anymore?
Yeah, the LS1 and LS6 are some great motors!

I disagree with calling them "old" technology.
DOHC is certainly not "new" (dates to 1910s).
 

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275HP/275 ft-lbs is not that impressive from a 4.2L six cylinder.
GM's 3.6L gets 255HP/252ft-lbs. For a 16% increase in displacement
it only has 8% more power than the 3.6L.
 

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275HP/275 ft-lbs is not that impressive from a 4.2L six cylinder.
GM's 3.6L gets 255HP/252ft-lbs. For a 16% increase in displacement
it only has 8% more power than the 3.6L.
[sarcasm] Oh yea your right. I can't beleive they missed that fact. The 4.2 I6 totally sucks!!!! [/sarcasm]

<_< :flush:
 

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I disagree with that statement of the 4.2 not being an impressive engine. Ford would probably kill to have it. The cylinders are inline to provide smoothness, and prehaps GM wanted a unique powerplant for its Trailblazer, Envoy, etc.. Th 4.2 also has good power and torque.., and I've read somewhere that this engine could easily make 300 plus horsepower(albeit at the expense of torque)

The 3.6 is probably at or near its maximum limit of power...(Even though GM would NEVER acknowledge that! :) . I'm still not too particular of this new premium V. It needs more power and you can already note that torque figures are lower than the horsepower ratings. That's usually a telltale sign that this engine is at its peak.
 

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Well the 3.6L has the most HP and torque per liter of displacement of all GM
normally aspirated 6 cylinder engines. The claim in the orignal post of 8 cylinder
power with 6 cylinder fuel economy is suspect. The '04 Buick Rainer can have
the 4200 Vortek or the 5.3L V-8. It has close to the power of the 5.3
but not much better on fuel economy. With the 4200 its rated at 21/16
with the 5.3 it is rated at 19/16.
 

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An interesting question is the big fat torque curve of the 4.2 and how the 3.6 will compare. I would venture to say that it isn't nearly as fat and peaks at 4500 or so. And don't forget that the 3.6 is already benefiting from VVT, something the 4200 doesn't have, yet. This may make the margin wider.
 

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Originally posted by thehemi+Dec 12 2003, 03:44 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (thehemi @ Dec 12 2003, 03:44 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-bigals87z28@Dec 12 2003, 09:38 AM
Im surprised the LS1 isnt on the list.  Its a LEV engine, can get up to 30mpg, and produce 350hp and 400hp in LS6 trim using "old" push rod technology.  I know it used to be on there, I guess its not that cool anymore?
Yeah, the LS1 and LS6 are some great motors!

I disagree with calling them "old" technology.
DOHC is certainly not "new" (dates to 1910s). [/b][/quote]
hehehe I know, thats why I put the "" around old.

As for the 3.6 making more hp per liter or whatever... as its been said before, im real glad it makes more hp per liter, but what it comes down to is hp per engine. the 4.2 has got more, plain and simple. It makes more power then fords V8 motor I belive thats in the exploder.. i mean explorer.
The Vibe and S2000 are great examples of high hp motors for small engines... yet none make the power till you grab ahold of 5k rpm. I rather have 360 lbs ft at 2500 rpm then 190 lbs ft at 4200 rpm. Peak hp and torque is not key, its area under the curve.
 

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An interesting question is the big fat torque curve of the 4.2 and how the 3.6 will compare. I would venture to say that it isn't nearly as fat and peaks at 4500 or so. And don't forget that the 3.6 is already benefiting from VVT, something the 4200 doesn't have, yet. This may make the margin wider.
Two different applications, and two different solutions. I like the 4200's approach more, personally, specifically due to that torque curve. I've posted before that it'd make a splendid car engine except that these [Atlas] engines are very long and very tall and they just won't fit in any practical way that doesn't spoil the car's lines.

And the 4200 does have variable valve timing, just only on the exhaust valves.

Ghrankenstein
 

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I'd love to see GM build a rwd Buick with the I-6 and a turbo. Now that would make for a car worthy of the Grand National nameplate. The DOHC loves boost and would respond so nice i would pick it over the LS1 GTO.
 
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