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 |  Mar 08 2012, 12:15 PM

The Ram 1500 is getting some new powertrain options, the Pentastar 3.6L V6 and an eight speed transmission. These new upgrades will bring the Ram into even closer contention with Ford’s Ecoboost engine.

The Pentastar has been a successful engine for Chrysler, and Ram is now the newest of a long list of vehicles to incorporate the motor. The current 3.7L V6 offering in the Ram 1500 puts out 215 hp, while the Pentastar 3.6L V6 will make 285 hp.

The new eight speed transmission ”reduces fuel consumption by up to 12 percent over our current five-speed transmissions,” according to a Chrysler group filing with the Securities and Exchange commission. The Pentastar and the six-speed operate at 14mpg in the city and 22mpg on the highway according to EPA estimates.

The filing also revealed that the newest generation Ram will utilize lightweight axle engineering to help reduce weight and therefore increase fuel efficiency.

The six cylinder Ford Ecoboost engine found in the F-150 gets 16mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. The Ecoboost still beats the Ram when it comes to numbers, but surely the engineers at Ford are looking over their shoulders as the usually thirsty Ram gets a little leaner, and a little more appealing to buyers.