FCA is the latest manufacturer to show an interest in reverting to inline 6-cylinder engines rather than more V-6s, a patent filing indicates. While an inline-6 revival at FCA has been rumored for some time, this filing could indicate that development on FCA's new global engine is well underway.
The patent, spotted by Moparinsiders on Sunday, is for an EGR system developed for a turbocharged engine, and the drawing submitted shows an inline-6. There's not much exciting or earth-shattering about the design, but its depiction of a turbocharged inline-6 indicates that FCA's new engine might be getting closer to a formal introduction. FCA filed for the patent on April 2.
This new inline-6, reportedly code-named "Tornado" and carrying the internal designation GME-T6, would be ideal for longitudinal applications, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler/Gladiator, and virtually every Ram pickup. It would also fit nicely into hypothetical replacements for the Dodge Charger and Challenger, and maybe even a new Chrysler 300. Moparinsiders says the engine is expected to make anywhere from 360 to 525 horsepower.
FCA doesn't have many transverse powertrains with larger engine options, but a new Inline-6 would likely not replace the existing "Pentastar" V-6 in those applications. The 3.6-liter V-6 will likely give way to downsized 4-cylinders in front-wheel-drive vehicles, quite possibly with electric assist of some sort helping compensate for the lost cylinders.
Rumors also suggest that FCA is looking to electrify its turbochargers. Electric turbos are particularly clever because they can do the work that would otherwise require either sequential turbos or elaborate, multi-stage turbines. Rather than using redundant turbo hardware, an electric turbo adds an electric motor to the turbine shaft.
This motor can spin the turbine before there is adequate exhaust flow to do so, effectively eliminating turbo lag. This allows manufacturers to fit turbochargers that are perfectly matched to an engine's ideal powerband, leaving the off-peak work to the electric assist.
As an added bonus, the motor becomes a generator that can replenish the on-board battery during deceleration. Think of it like regenerative braking, only for boost.
FCA has been less than aggressive when it comes to replacing its bread-and-butter products, and we don't expect this new engine to appear before one of those key models gets a full-on redesign. At this point, the new inline-6 could be years away.