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Diesel engines can power for more than just tractor trailers or farm implements; they even have a place in performance vehicles. This may be an unlikely sounding combination but British sports-car brand Trident may be on to something.
What's in a Name?
Usually the engine found inside a vehicle receives a name based on some sort of manufacturer specific numbering and lettering convention. However, every once in a while a manufacturer will feel a little fiery and give that new hunk of metal an actual, proper name.
These names, more often than not, conjure up images of power and hairy-chested strength. Names like Rocket 350, BOSS and Fireball. Or, sometimes the name will refer to the design of the engine itself like Hemi (referring to hemispherical combustion chambers) or Quad-4, which is a dumb name in itself, but at least referred to four valves on four cylinders.
But now and then a manufacturer will reveal their latest and greatest engineer marvel and slap on a name that leaves us scratching our heads in disbelief, or is just so pretentious our eyes can’t stop rolling. Remember the have-your-cake-and-eat-it-to named Ford inline-6 called the ‘Thriftpower’? Well, that didn’t even make this list.
In late 2008, when the U.S. economy went into freefall and GM stood on the edge of the precipice, any projects that weren’t core to the automaker’s survival were either canned or put on the back burner. One of the latter, was a light-duty version of the GM Duramax diesel, designed for the light duty 1/2 ton Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. Now that truck sales are on the rebound, the idea of a light duty diesel engine is gaining traction once again. According to Mark Cieslak, Chief Engineer for GM’s full-size truck program, making the engine an option in HD trucks as well as the 1500 personal use models would give it a stronger business case. “The 4.5-liter V8 diesel is fully developed and ready, so if we wanted to, we could launch it in a hearbeat,” he said.
If GM were to make the 4.5-liter Duramax diesel available, even in the HD trucks, it would likely carry a premium over the gasoline fueled 6.0-liter Vortech V8. Recently; GM introduced a substantially updated line of HD pickups for the 2011 model year, with a more powerful 6.6-liter Duramax diesel, that’s rated at 397 horsepower and a whopping 765 ft-lbs of torque. And although HD pickups current don’t fall under the EPA’s tough new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards laid out between now and 2016, the light duty Silverado and GMC do.
Offering the 4.5 as an option in those trucks would help towards GM’s overall fuel economy targets, while offering it in the larger trucks would give buyers a cheaper and less extreme alternative to the 6.6 diesel, which current carries a healthy $8,395 premium over the standard 6.0L gas Vortech V8.
There was once a time when pickups were essentially utilitarian vehicles. However, during the 1980s and 1990s, half-ton full-size rigs became increasingly laden with creature comforts, leather bucket seats, center consoles, power everything and serious in car entertainment. Now the concept of luxury truck is expanding upmarket, with General Motors recently launching a luxury GMC Denali as part of the Sierra Heavy-Duty line from 2011.
Now GMC has announced that the Denali HD will be available in both 3/4 (2500) and 1-ton (3500) versions. Both 2WD and 4WD drivelines will be offered with a choice of regular (6 foot, 6-inch) and long (8-foot) boxes, plus the option of single or dual rear wheels on 3500 models. Exterior colors will be limited to Black, Stealth Gray and White, though 17, 18 and 20-inch wheels will be offered.
Standard engine in the HD Denali is GM’s 6.0-liter V8, coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission, the updated 6.6-liter Duramax diesel, rated at 397-hp and a staggering 765 lb-ft of torque will be optional. Like the rest of the Sierra Heavy-Duty line, the Denali trucks will be covered by GM’s 100,000-mile, five-year powertrain warranty.
According to GMC product marketing director Lisa Hutchinson; “we received such an overwhelming response to the new Sierra Denali 2500HD, that we worked quickly and decided to extend the model into the 3500HD series so those GMC buyers can also benefit from blending capability with premium features and styling.” No word yet on whether four-wheel steering will be offered.