Advanced GM Duramax V8 turbodiesel on hold until market is ready

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The new Duramax V8 was designed to be lighter and much more efficient than previous versions

The new Duramax V8 was designed to be lighter and much more efficient than previous versions

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General Motors’ financial woes have lead to another casualty, this time an advanced turbodiesel engine the company was planning to launch in its light-duty trucks and rumored to appear in the Cadillac CTS. Everything is under review at GM, from entire brands, to new models and consequently powertrains as well.

The engine in question is an updated 4.5L Duramax V8 turbodiesel, which was scheduled to enter production in the third quarter of the year at GM’s plant in Tonawanda, New York. The first vehicles to use it would have been the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, and given its relatively small size there was a strong chance that GM may have installed it in some of its passenger cars.

The engine was based around the original Duramax 4.5L block but was updated to make it lighter and more efficient, as well as offer the performance and driving characteristics of a petrol engine. Initial testing showed a peak output of 310hp (231kW) and 520lb-ft (704Nm), but its best aspect was the fact that it cost significantly less than GM’s other V8 diesel powertrains.

GM Powertrain spokesperson Susan Garavaglia previously revealed that productions plans had been put on hold though the rights to the engine may be sold to another company. Speaking with Ward’s Auto, GM vice chairman Tom Stephens explained that the engine is ready when needed.

“The program is essentially complete and could be implemented whenever we choose to do that,” Stephens said.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks is that the price of gasoline has declined, making fuel-saving diesels less alluring for many consumers. However, diesel engines are typically more fuel efficient than gasoline units and the price of diesel can be lower than that of gasoline in some parts.

Stephens went on to reveal that the advanced turbodiesel is among several potential technologies ready on the shelf for volume applications. “I could pull any one off and put it into production very quickly, because they’ve already been concepted, designed, developed. All I’d have to do is pull them out and integrate them into a vehicle and then validate the vehicle.”

As for GM’s existing 6.6L Duramax, the heavy-duty V8 will continue but will be modified to meet tougher emissions standards coming in next year.

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