GM is looking to downsize its pickup engine offerings. If a report from GM Authority is to be believed, the General is currently considering a range of straight-six gas engines for use in its pickups and SUVs.
The engine’s development follows GM’s process called Cylinder Set Strategy, where multiple different engine layouts stem from the same basic architecture. If the development of this new engine moves forward, GM Authority says it’ll share its architecture with GM’s L3B 2.7-liter turbocharged I4 making 310 hp. That engine replaced the ancient 4.3-liter V6.
A turbocharged six-cylinder engine would make sense for GM, pivoting away from large-displacement naturally aspirated V8s in the automaker’s highly popular (and profitable) full-size trucks and SUVs. It would also follow an industry trend toward boosted six-cylinder engines — and straight-sixes in particular.
Ford has been making Ecoboost V6s for years now and offers them in everything from the Expedition and Navigator to the F-150 to performance trims of the Edge, Explorer, and Aviator. While their real-world fuel economy gains are debatable, they make V8-rivaling power and help Ford meet regulatory demands for better efficiency. Toyota just introduced a new turbocharged hybrid V6 in the Lexus LX and the new Toyota Sequoia and Tundra.
A bunch of automakers have brought out all-new inline-six engines in the last few years. Mercedes got the ball rolling back in 2017 with the then-new S Class and its 3.0-liter I6. In higher trims that thing makes V8-like power, with 516 lb-ft of torque. Then there’s Stellantis with its new Hurricane turbocharged I6, currently available in the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer and likely to spread elsewhere in the automaker’s lineup.
If GM moves forward with this rumored engine, it’ll be the company’s first turbocharged straight-six ever, and its first straight-six since the Atlas engine that was only ever used in the GMT 360 SUVs (Oldsmobile Bravada, Saab 9-7X, Chevy Trailblazer, Isuzu Ascender, GMC Envoy).