Get out your Skeptics Hat for this one and keep it close by. Allpar cites “reliable sources” to write that Fiat Chrysler appears to be working on a new inline-six engine to be slotted into company products around the globe.
The purported engine would be based on the 2.0-liter Global Medium Engine inline-four. Allpar first reported on the potential development in February 2017 and has filed a few updates since then, one citing “internal communications referring to a GME T6” — the “T” meaning turbocharged. It’s said that some engineers have changed their online résumés to reflect their focus on the new motor.
Apparently, FCA tried adding forced induction to the Pentastar V6 but didn’t like the results. The new direction then turned toward a “compact straight-six.” In at least one guise, the GME I-6 would come in at just under three litres in order to escape taxes on engines 3.0-liters and above in certain European markets; the 2.0-liter four-cylinder has an actual displacement of 1.995 litres.
The present V6 Pentastar comes in 3.2-liter and 3.6-liter guises; a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six should be able to replace both as far as output. Hooking up to the company’s eTorque system used on the 3.6-liter Pentastar and 5.7-liter Hemi would make things even more punchy. With the trend in truck engine downsizing, it wouldn’t be crazy to see such an engine head straight to Ram.
The four-cylinder GME unit serves in the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio, and Jeep Cherokee, Wrangler, and Grand Commander. The big Alfa Romeos and full-size Jeep and Ram models shouldn’t have any problem with a longer inline engine. Maserati, which doesn’t use the Pentastar engine, could be a candidate as well should it choose to step away from its Ferrari-developed engine cred.
Speaking of Ferrari, the Italian brand is working up a new V6 based, in its words, on “a very, very particular architecture.” It isn’t clear where it will go or if one of the other Italian brands will get access to it, but the Allpar piece says the Ferrari V6 will be based on the core GME architecture for Maserati.
Chrysler gave up its last inline-six 11 years ago when the 4.0-liter I-6 retired alongside the JK-series Jeep Wrangler. The engine format is back in vogue, and its reincarnations have received good reviews. But inline-sixes are generally longer, hence FCA’s focus on a compact unit, and that could limit the purported engine’s placement options. The efficiencies might make it worth it, Allpar saying one of its sources noted Chrysler “may not even have to change some of the production equipment” at the plants that make the inline-four.