Report: GM developing two twin-turbo V6 engines

Article by Christian A., on March 5, 2012

General Motors’ fans are excited about reports that the automaker is developing two twin-turbo V-6 engines instead of just one. GMI divulged almost two years ago that GM is working on a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 so that GM could follow the industry trend of using blown V-6's. It was believed that GM is in development of one twin-turbo V-6 since the company is preparing for the launch of the fifth generation of the Small Block V-8 lineup.

According to sources, GM is developing a twin-turbo version of its 3.6-liter V-6 too. This engine is meant to supplement the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that was previously confirmed by GMI. In 2009, GM and Jay Leno presented a Chevrolet Camaro concept at the SEMA show that was powered by a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6.

GM asserted back then that this engine produced 425hp. GMI has yet to release details about the power of the production version of the twin-turbo 3.6-liter. However, it’s likely to offer more than 400hp since the company is still in development of a 3.0-liter variant of the blown engine too. The 3.0-liter twin-turbo is expected to be seen first in the Cadillac models, such as the XTS and CTS. These two sedans will later offer this engine as an option, which will be partnered with an eight-speed automatic.

The engine will trickle down through the GM lineup over time, just like how GM usually rolls out its new engines. The 3.6-liter twin-turbo is predicted to debut on a Cadillac too. An earlier report stated that Cadillac has chosen a twin-turbo V-6 for the upcoming ATS-V performance car.

Insiders say that the twin-turbo V-6 won’t be the 3.0-liter. Instead, it’s the first application of the twin-turbo 3.6-liter, implying that the larger displacement may be intended for performance applications. It’s even possible that the 3.6-liter will end up as an engine exclusive to the Cadillac models. To date, GM hasn’t confirmed where the twin-turbo 3.6-liter will be used.

In developing the Cadillac ATS, the brand put forward the objective of making this model one of the lightest in its segment. However this did not only serve as the guideline as it was done in a way that allowed for a driving experience that was more refined. In order to make sure that the mass of the ATS was optimized, Cadillac followed a four-step philosophy.

The first is that the brand made sure to stick to the architectural objectives that were first set. Second is that the brand had to measure load management on every section of the model. For the third principle, Cadillac had to benchmark many of the components in order to determine if lighter solutions could be implemented. Finally, the brand has made it part of its protocol to find the mass of each of the model’s parts and then weigh it against all parts of the development.

Take the suspension in the rear section, for example. While it is composed mainly of steel, by having straight links and focusing on the load management, the brand was able to lower the weight while avoiding the use of any alternate materials.

With this, Cadillac was able to balance not just the weight of the engine at the front. It also considered the weight of the transmission. This resulted in the ATS having an almost 50/50 perfect weight balance. The approach also helped in reducing the vibration and the noise. Cadillac also used the same approach for the wheel wherein additional structural aluminum was put in to lower vibration even further.

As mentioned earlier, the overall mass of the ATS was reduced due to the systematic approach that the brand did in order to assess each gram that was added to the model. Examples include a hood made of aluminum and mount brackets on the engine made of magnesium. The brand even made sure that the natural-fiber door trim panels would be lightweight.

Not everything was changed though as Cadillac knew that some of the weight was not just important but it also played a significant part in the driving experience. A good example is the cast iron differential. For this particular component, the engineers realized that a cast iron differential could enhance fuel economy better than an aluminum version, despite the latter being lighter.

The Chief Engineer assigned to the ATS was David Masch who revealed that due to the low weight, this allowed the ATS to have a more controllable feel aside from being more nimble. This also allowed the efficiency and the performance of its powertrains to be optimized, he added. The team made sure to not only manage the model’s weight but to also ensure that the refinement Cadillac is known for is still present, Masch continued.

Topics: gm, engine, v6

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