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Twin-turbo V6 looms as GM goes big on smaller engines for cars such as Commodore

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Twin-turbo V6 looms as GM goes big on smaller engines for cars such as Commodore

26 March 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

GM HOLDEN could soon become central to a General Motors plan to apply twin-turbo technology to its global V6, details of which have surfaced in the US this week.

Speculation is increasing that GM will soon reveal a twin-turbo version of the new 3.0-litre direct-injection ‘SIDI’ V6 that powers the MY10 Commodore as a direct rival for Ford’s formidable 3.5-litre twin-turbo ‘EcoBoost’ V6.

While the 3.0 TT V6 would follow the global trend towards downsized forced-induction engines and would give Holden a direct competitor for Ford Australia’s XR6 Turbo, it could lead to a twin-turbo version of the Commodore’s 3.6-litre SIDI V6, which may eventually replace the 6.0 and 6.2-litre Chevrolet V8 as Holden’s – and even HSV’s – flagship performance engine.

Given Holden’s Port Melbourne engine plant in Victoria and GM’s St Catherines facility in Canada are the only GM factories that produce the ‘High Feature’ V6 globally, any new derivative of the HFV6 could also lead to a substantial boost to Holden’s recovering engine export business.

Holden revealed a 280kW/480Nm twin-turbo version of 3.6-litre Commodore V6 – then known as the ‘Alloytec 190’ – six years ago in its headline-grabbing ‘Torana TT36’ concept at the 2004 Sydney motor show.

Fitted with twin KO4 Warner turbochargers and an air-to-air intercooler, it was described as a hand-built experimental engine, but a number of other 3.6-litre twin-turbo V6-powered GM concepts have emerged since then.

From top: Jay Leno's one-off twin-turbo Chevrolet Camaro, the 2004 Torana TT36 concept and Holden's 3.0 V6 SIDI engine in production.

The most recent was Chevrolet’s one-off version of the Commodore-based Camaro coupe built for US talk show host Jay Leno at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) aftermarket exhibition in Las Vegas last November, which delivered the same 317kW peak power output as HSV’s Corvette-sourced 6.2-litre V8.

The 317kW V6 in the ‘Camaro Jay Leno’ featured two Turbonetics T-3 turbochargers, an air-to-air intercooler, bigger radiator, custom exhaust system and stronger clutch, increasing power by a claimed 40 per cent with “virtually no penalty” in fuel economy over a non-turbocharged 3.6-litre engine.

Now, however, after increasing rumours of a twin-turbo GM V6 in recent years, GM Inside News says it has uncovered GM’s first high-tech V6 turbo engine.

GMIN says GM engineering sources have confirmed that a twin-turbo ‘LF3’-codenamed version of its naturally aspirated LF1 3.0-litre DISI V6 is in development.

Apart from powering the MY10 Commodore, the latter has also appeared in a number of 2010 GM models, but GMIN says the twin-turbo LF3 will debut in the US in late 2011 or 2012 in the Cadillac XTS, which GM showed as a concept at the Detroit show this year.

The XTS should replace the aged DTS and STS models as Cadillac’s flagship sedan and is likely to also become available with a 3.6-litre plug-in hybrid drivetrain, which appeared in the XTS Platinum Concept and was originally designed for the ill-fated Saturn Vue – and could eventually also power Australia’s Commodore.

Cadillac has a history of debuting new versions of the HFV6 and US reports say that while the 3.0 TT V6 will also power the GM premium brand’s forthcoming ATX compact sedan and even the next-generation Camaro, the XTS will also come with a twin-turbo 3.6-litre DISI V6.

No twin-turbo V6 is currently produced by GM, and the only direct-injection engines made at Port Melbourne are destined for the Commodore, while St Catherines’ 3.6 DISI V6 debuted in Cadillac’s 2007 CTS sedan and also powers the STS and Camaro.

Holden’s 3.0 DISI V6 delivers 190kW/290Nm, while the 3.6 DIDI V6 offers 210kW/350Nm. Its 3.0 (but not 3.6) DISI V6 will become E85 ethanol-compatible when Holden releases the first ‘Flex-Fuel’ Commodore late this year, and a dedicated LPG version of the global V6 is also in the works.

Holden also produces a 2.8-litre twin-scroll turbo version of its V6 for Saab, Opel’s Insignia and the Mexico-built Cadillac SRX, which will also offer the LF1 3.0 DISI V6 this year.

Saab’s 2.8T engine produces 206kW/370Nm in the 9-3 Aero, but this engine could eventually be replaced by the LF3 3.0 TT DISI V6, which is said to offer the performance to match Ford’s 3.5 EcoBoost V6, making it and – potentially – its larger 3.6-litre sibling shoe-ins for Holden’s own Commodore.

The recommencement of Saab production this week, including the fitment of the 2.8T in the (new) 9-5 for the first time, marks a small but significant boost to Holden’s sagging export program.

However, this is likely to be offset by the imminent demise of exports to Italy, where Alfa Romeo fits a Holden-based 3.2-litre V6 in its 159 sedan/wagon, Brera and Spyder. A new E85-compatible 3.6-litre Pentastar petrol V6 – which will gain direct-injection, turbocharging and MultiAir technologies – from new Fiat subsidiary Chrysler is expected to replace the Holden-made 3.2 V6.

Nevertheless, Holden’s vital engine export program – which no longer includes the archaic Family I petrol four that is still built in Mexico, Hungary, Brazil, China, Argentina and Korea – was has received a significant boost from increasing global demand for the HFV6.

Holden will increase its engine production by 6500 units this year to meet increased global demand, primarily from China for the 3.0 SIDI V6 that powers Buick’s LaCrosse, South Korea for the 3.2 V6 that powers Daewoo’s Captiva and Mexico for the 2.8T.

It says the output of its $400 million Port Melbourne engine plant – which opened in 2003, increasing capacity to 240,000 engines a year – will rise to about 460-480 units a day, to a 2010 forecast of 105,000 V6s.

To meet the demand, Holden has redeployed four engineering staff from its Adelaide assembly operations, and is seeking a further 10 staff for six-month contract positions at its Melbourne engine shop.

The move follows an increase in production at the V6 plant from 240-320 to 440 units a day in November last year, when a second shift was reinstated at Port Melbourne following increased global demand.

While Holden says the additional Port Melbourne engine plant jobs will be reviewed after four months depending on demand, its South Australian vehicle plant at Elizabeth continues to operate on a one-shift/two-crew basis after increasing from about 310 to 340 cars a day from late last year.

At a time when the futures of Toyota and Ford’s Victorian engine plants look more uncertain than ever, E85 and twin-turbo versions of Holden’s staple V6 are sure to help grow more demand for one of Australia’s biggest-volume engine plants.

link:

http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story2/0F3A298853D0BBD5CA2576F2001ACE1A

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Sounds like it's going to be a pretty cool engine.

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The key is that with a Turbo and smaller displacment you can make as much or more power with more effcientcy.

My 2.0 Eco gets the same mileage and make 100 Hp more than the 2.2 or 2.4 non DI non Turbo.

MFG are working a balance of making the engines smaller and keeping the same power. Better emission, better mileage and in some cases the smaller displacement will also give a little more block strenght since the cylinder walls are stronger.

While some claim a V8 does as well we have yet to see them take full advantage of what all the V6 and 4 cylinders can do. The V8 was simple cheap power. The new smaller engines are more expensive but they are to the point they have to go to them to meet the new regs. There is no V8 that could be driven as hard as my 2.0 and still get the same power. Even when I beat on this thing it seldom goes below MPG City.

They would keep with the V8 if they had a lot more tricks but they are to the point they have used most and only have couple left. What V8 engies survive I suspect will be down sized and even may grow a turbo? If they survive.

In this day and age 1 MPG is a major step so if you can pick up 2-3 MPG they will do what it takes.

Things are even worse in Europe. Small engines already are over half our US market.

Edited by hyperv6
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The key is that with a Turbo and smaller displacment you can make as much or more power with more effcientcy.

My 2.0 Eco gets the same mileage and make 100 Hp more than the 2.2 or 2.4 non DI non Turbo.

MFG are working a balance of making the engines smaller and keeping the same power. Better emission, better mileage and in some cases the smaller displacement will also give a little more block strenght since the cylinder walls are stronger.

While some claim a V8 does as well we have yet to see them take full advantage of what all the V6 and 4 cylinders can do. The V8 was simple cheap power. The new smaller engines are more expensive but they are to the point they have to go to them to meet the new regs. There is no V8 that could be driven as hard as my 2.0 and still get the same power. Even when I beat on this thing it seldom goes below MPG City.

They would keep with the V8 if they had a lot more tricks but they are to the point they have used most and only have couple left. What V8 engies survive I suspect will be down sized and even may grow a turbo? If they survive.

In this day and age 1 MPG is a major step so if you can pick up 2-3 MPG they will do what it takes.

Things are even worse in Europe. Small engines already are over half our US market.

So I've read...

but leaves me the Question is this going to get better fuel economy than the ecoboost?

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So I've read...

but leaves me the Question is this going to get better fuel economy than the ecoboost?

It will come down to engine design. GM may get a little better due to the fact they came out a little later and may have a few improvments that Ford has yet to incorperate. MPG will be similar with each as will power. The Tune anymore can make a differance.

Even some crazy stuff happens. They added 55 HP to my Ecotech and the GM engineers improved the MPG. This was not their intentions but all the owners who installed this tune on their Solstice, SKy and SS models were all showing the same results as GM did. The engineer told me he thinks since the acceleration increased with the more power it led to more off gas times in driving. In other words you get up to speed faster and get out of the gas. With DI the fuel is cut off when you are off of the gas pedal. So in other words just coasting off gas down a exit ramp will give you full MPG. Now if you put it into neutral it does not cut the fuel in the same way. Or so that was what was explained to me.

I think the companies would like to keep power in the 300-450 range in most normal cars as a top option. The performance will increase as the cars get smaller and lighter. Note that we also will gain in handling and stopping with less mass. While our cars will be smaller we will still see performacne as good or better than today in many cars.

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So I've read...

but leaves me the Question is this going to get better fuel economy than the ecoboost?

I think that's going to come down to vehicle weight more then engine technology.

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X amount of Horsepower requires Y amount of fuel, no matter how the air gets into the cylinders. Power requires fuel. A 300hp turbo 4 cylinder being driven hard requires similar amounts of fuel as a 300hp N/A V6 being driven hard. You can't break the laws of physics here.

Edited by Chevy Nick
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X amount of Horsepower requires Y amount of fuel, no matter how the air gets into the cylinders. Power requires fuel. A 300hp turbo 4 cylinder being driven hard requires similar amounts of fuel as a 300hp N/A V6 being driven hard. You can't break the laws of physics here.

It comes down to the effcicenty the way the engine converts that fuel and air to power. Not all are the same. With a multi valve turbo DI and VVT on a smaller engine can make more power more effciently vs engines with out. Technology is a wonderful thing.

It is not how much but how well you convert it. Then making effiecnet power with a smaller engine give you the required power and MPG all at one time.

They are not building these enigines for fun it is a lot easier and cheaper to stick a LS in anything but in the future that will also become more difficult and expensive too.

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In the real world these turbocharged cars don't seem to do as well as their EPA numbers suggest.

2008 Cobalt SS:

EPA city/highway driving: 22/30 mpg

C/D observed: 20 mpg

2006(?) Cobalt LS:

EPA city/highway driving: 24/32

C/D observed: 27

% Delta EPA City / EPA Highway / Observed

9.1% / 6.7% / 35.0%

Taurus SHO (Eco Boost):

EPA city/highway driving: 17/25

C/D observed: 16

Taurus Limited

EPA city/highway driving: 18/28

C/D observed: 23

% Delta EPA City / EPA Highway / Observed

5.9% / 12.0% / 43.8%

Or consider this:

The Chrysler 300C is considered a thirsty pig. It weighs within 5% of the Taurus Eco Boost and yeilds performance within .1s and .2s in 0-60 and 1/4 mile. Yet C/D got 17MPG with the 300C and 16MPG with the Taurus SHO. Granted the SHO is AWD to the 300C's RWD. But still, it is virtually a dead heat. Yet one is a pig and the other is supposedly "Eco".

I'm a big fan of the power. So if GM/Ford/etc. want to cook the CAFE tests by giving us all super/turbo chargers, I'm all for it. But I think we should leave the fuel-efficiency spin to the experts.

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C/D observed isn't going to reflect what you or I would get driving on a daily basis.

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C/D observed is only a valid measurement if you drive around with a brick on the accelerator..... or it's a Toyota.

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X amount of Horsepower requires Y amount of fuel, no matter how the air gets into the cylinders. Power requires fuel. A 300hp turbo 4 cylinder being driven hard requires similar amounts of fuel as a 300hp N/A V6 being driven hard. You can't break the laws of physics here.

If you're driving an engine that doesn't get the most thermal efficiency out of the fuel, you're going to burn more fuel to make 300 hp.

If what you were saying was true, the 307 in my Olds Toronado with 140hp should have gotten the same fuel economy as a 140hp Quad-4, and there'd be no point in doing things like direct injection or variable valve timing.... we could all just drive around Ford Flathead V8s and be done with it. (some here will get too excited by that prospect)

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My experience with the two 08s and one 09 I drive they all do better than the EPA ratings. One is a 4, one a V6 and on a V8.

My 04 does just what the EPA reports.

In fact my daily drive would have to sit and idel for long periods of time to meet the city average it has. I usally beat it by 4 MPG driving it hard in stop and go.

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>>"If what you were saying was true, the 307 in my Olds Toronado with 140hp should have gotten the same fuel economy as a 140hp Quad-4..."<<

Obviously, there's a multitude of factors at play here WRT MPG - weight, aerodynamics, gearing, combustion design, displacement... but it's still certainly correct that we have 2 engines, but one has twice the pistons & more CI, yet develops the same peak HP.

Apples & oranges, on purpose.

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