The Forgotten Inline Engine: GM’s 4.2-liter Atlas I-6
General Motors has a long history with making innovative strides in engine development. The Chevrolet small-block V-8, for example, began life in the 1950s and soon became the standard for high horsepower in a small package – a legacy that continues into today’s fifth-generation GM V-8s. Even GM’s lineup of V-6 engines is impressive, ranging from the 60-degree V-6 that powered nearly every GM car from 1980 through 2010, up to the twin-turbocharged V-6 powering the Cadillac ATS-V. However, GM has a lesser-known engine family that deserves admiration for its outside-the-box thinking and outstanding technological advancements: the Atlas inline family.
That Atlas family had three main members, the front-running 4.2-liter inline-six, the 3.5-liter five-cylinder, and the 2.8-liter four-cylinder. All three shared the same basic architecture and a wide range of parts, though it was the 4.2-liter that led the Atlas program.
The 4.2-liter called the GMT360 platform home. This included the Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Oldsmobile Bravada, Isuzu Ascender, and Saab 9-7X. Each of these mid-sized SUVs shared the same architecture, including the industry’s first fully hydroformed frame in a mid-size SUV. Introduced for the 2002 model year, the GMT360 platform sold a couple million examples worldwide before ending production after 2009.
The 4.2-liter Atlas LL8, otherwise called the Vortec 4200, was a groundbreaking engine for GM. It featured an all-aluminum construction, dual overhead cams with variable valve timing on the exhaust side, four valves per cylinder, a coil-on-plug ignition system, a high compression ratio of 10:1, and its cylinder heads featured GM’s then-prevalent “Vortec” engineering designed to maximize airflow.
This combination allowed for the production of 1.06 horsepower per cubic inch – a total of 270 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. Torque was rated at 275 pound-feet at 3,600 rpm, but 90 percent of peak torque was available between 1,600 and 5,600 rpm. These stats far exceeded every comparable V-6 on the market at the time, including GM’s own 4.3-liter Vortec V-6.
We decided to take a closer look at the Vortec 4200 and its forward-thinking design. We reached out to GM and found Tom Sutter, the Assistant Chief Engineer for the Atlas. Sutter has been involved with engine programs for the last 30 years, ranging from Oldsmobile’s Quad Four to Cadillac’s current V-Series mills. Sutter was able to give us a deeper insight into the Atlas program, so keep reading for more.
Continue reading for more information.
Seemingly every day another tuner is upping the ante on the potential-filled Lamborghini Gallardo. The latest one we have for you is a 2008 Gallardo Superleggera tuned by Total Race out of Russia. The guys at Total Race installed custom-built CP pistons, Carillo connecting rods, ferrea valves and springs, custom valve guides and seats, custom camshaft, CNC-ported head, billet lower intake, dry sump and custom oil tank on the 5.0-liter V-10 engine. Then they bolted up a pair of Precision 7175 turbochargers that pump 35 psi of boost into the intake.
All of those modifications get the V-10 engine up to an eye-popping 2,000 horsepower – only 1,730 horsepower was measured, due to wheel slip on the dyno. The internal modifications and balancing allows the engine to reach a peak speed of 10,000 rpm.
Total Race then installed a new billet front differential, custom transfer case and electronics, which allows straight rear-wheel drive or 50-50 all-wheel drive. The final addition to the driveline is a set of custom gears inside the Lambo’s 6-speed manual transmission.
The car hasn’t been run on the track since it has hit 2,000 horsepower, but at 1,500 horsepower it ran a quarter mile in just 9.5 seconds at 270 km/h (169 mph) and it rips off a full mile in just 22.18 seconds – a world record — at 395 km/h (245.44 mph). At 2,000 horsepower, Total Race estimates a 7-second quarter mile and 20 seconds to hit a full mile.
There are two videos of this impressive Gallardo, the one above is of the car on the dyno and the one after the jump is of its world-record 1-mile run. Enjoy!
On Friday afternoon, I was cruising down the road, heading to the gym, and the familiar sound of a pair of turbochargers came whistling by my late-1990s Saturn – yeah, I know... Being one of my favorite sounds ever, I quickly looked to my right and just in front of the passenger side fender was a bright orange 2008 Challenger.
Assuming I was just hearing things, I had to roll down my window and get a good listen as it pulled away. Sure enough, there was the whistle again. After debating whether to sacrifice a few sets of much-needed bench presses in favor of flagging down the driver of this beastly muscle car, the car suddenly pulled into a Hess gas station so I decided that was my sign to stop and talk to the guy.
I rolled up to this bright-orange Challenger expecting the worst – some inflated-ego 20-something that doesn’t have the time to deal with some dude in a Saturn that claims to write about cars – but instead I met Mr. Don MacLachlan, a friendly local that loves to talk about his car. After a quick exchange, I found out that he was heading to a local car show right then and would love to talk more. With my having nothing more than my camera phone, I opted to schedule a future meeting. Fortunately, Don was heading to another car show the following day, so we chose to meet there for an exclusive review on his nasty Challenger.
With the review complete and plenty of pictures taken, we are now set to present to you, Don MacLachlan’s Challenger.
Click past the jump to read our full review.
Way back in 2008, Pininfarina – a custom coach builder – took a look at the $400K Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Convertible and simply thought it just wasn’t good enough. So Pininfarina took this nearly half-million-dollar machine and created a one-off custom vehicle out of it. The maker then dubbed it the Hyperion, which was taken from an Ancient Greek Titan.
Much like its closest competitor, Bentley, Rolls-Royce has always been one of those car companies that you either loved or hated, mostly due to their gaudy exteriors and even more outlandish pricing. For those that love them, but just need a little something extra, there is no shortage of custom car builders that will customize them to your liking.
Despite the number of custom car builders modifying these ultra-luxury cars, none can touch the uniqueness and flashiness of the Hyperion. Pininfarina took special care to closely integrate a vintage look – taking styling cues from the 1930s and 1940s – with modern technology and feel.
This monster of a luxury car originally debuted at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It then made an appearance at the 2008 Geneva Auto Show before going off to its rightful owner, Roland Hall.
Let’s take a look at how the 2008 Pininferina Hyperion stacks up.
Click past the jump to read the full review.
Dodge unveiled the fourth generation Viper SRT10 ACR a the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2007, bringing what would essentially be the last model presented before a whole new breed of Viper comes out in 2012. The Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR is a 600 hp street-legal Viper engineered to dominate on the race track and also provide for an exciting trip back home. The Viper went on sale in the second quarter of 2008 at a price of no less than $100,000.
"With the all-new 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR, SRT has taken the ultimate American sports car and injected it with an extra dose of racing DNA," said Mike Accavitti, Director - Dodge Brand and SRT Global Marketing and Communications, Chrysler LLC. "With the Viper SRT10 as the starting point, SRT engineered a combination of reduced weight, race-tuned suspension and aerodynamic improvements to create the ultimate Viper for the street and track."
UPDATE 09/15/2011: Put back the champagne in the freezer, Lexus; you’re just-set record lap time of 7:14 around the Nurburgring has been broken. Chrysler’s SRT team went to the ’Ring with only one thing in mind: get under 7:14 in one lap. And just as records are always meant to be broken regardless of how fresh they are, Chrysler’s Dodge Viper ACR blasted around the Nurburgring in a blistering time of 7:12. The exact time has yet to be released - there are tenths of seconds in that equation - but make no mistake, it’s more than a second faster than the 7:14.6 time the Lexus LF-A Nurburgring Package achieved earlier this month.
More details on the Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR after the jump.
Mercedes has a model for everyone and every niche – small cars, big cars, SUVs, vans, buses, supercars and the Unimog. The Unimog truly defies a complete explanation. No single consumer can comprehend the myriad of capabilities that these machines possess.
The standard U500 Unimog would have been the ultimate vehicle in the movie Dante’s Peak. If you’ve never seen it, the Unimog would have been racing up a mountainside road covered in volcanic ash, saving the family from lava rushing to destroy their house, fording a river on the way back down while using its winch to save a puny National Guard Hummvee – all in a day’s work.
So why would Brabus want to create a version of this car? Brabus has been making the fastest and most prestigious Mercedes vehicles for years and if they are willing to take the Smart car and give it a makeover then the Unimog should also have its moment of glory.
Hit the jump for more details on the Brabus Unimog.
Acura has unveiled the first details on the 2011 RDX crossover that comes with Acura’s acclaimed Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. The 2011 RDX is defined by bold front and rear fascias, Acura’s signature grille, pronounced wheel arches, 18-inch 10-spoke aluminum wheels, and upscale trim accents. On the inside, the RDX is stretched out with beautiful leather, stitchwork, and flowing curves. Add some cutting edge technology and we have a winner.
The interior gets leather trimmed front seats, multiple storage compartments, Acura Premium Sound System with AM/FM tuner, 6-disc in-dash CD player, MP3, WMA, XM Radio, 7 speakers, and a 360 watt amplifier.
The 2011 RDX is powered by the same turbocharged 2.3-liter DOHC 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine that was found in the previous model. It delivers a total of 240 HP at 6,000 rpm with 260 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. The engine is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission and delivers 19/24/21 mpg on the RDX 2WD models and 17/22/19 mpg on the RDX SH-AWD ones.
Press release after the jump.
The third generation RX 350 made its debut at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show. First launched in 1998, the RX 350 comes completely redesigned and will continue to set new benchmarks in areas that have made it the best-selling luxury utility vehicle: innovation, styling, performance, utility and comfort. The luxury SUV is available in two versions: AWD and FWD, with prices starting at $39,025 and $37,625 respectively.
Under the hood, the 2010 RX350 offers an improved 275-hp, 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to an electrically controlled, sequential-shift six-speed transaxle. The all-wheel-drive version will feature an Active Torque Control AWD system that optimizes torque depending on driving conditions, resulting in improved efficiency and performance.
The luxury SUV features a strong stance and powerful new body design with the goal of enhancing comfort and maneuverability. The inverted-trapezoid design in the front and the horizontally integrated rear are incorporated together via a pronounced shoulder along the RX’s profile. Stylish molding around the side windows and at the base of the doors provides low-profile strength.
It sits on 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and comes with a selection of luxury and sport option packages, which include features like Lexus’ exclusive Mark Levinson® Surround Sound system, a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system, dynamic radar cruise control, and a Sports Package featuring a sport-tuned suspension.
Press release after the jump.
When Lexus unveiled the IS C in 2008 at the Paris Motor Show they had in mind models like Audi A5 Cabrio, BMW 3-series Convertible, but also Volvo C70. And it seems they desire was a success, as the model easily combines the award-winning design of the IS sports saloon with outstanding open-top engineering ingenuity.
The IS Convertible is offered in two different versions: IS250 and IS350. The IS250C is powered by the same engine as the sedan version: the 2.5-liter V6 delivering 205 hp. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The IS350 is powered by a 3,6 liter V6 engine that delivers a total of 306 hp.
The IS 250C uses the front double wishbone and multink rear suspension format from the IS sedan range to give, which means it should have the same spirited drive as the sedan. Lexus says there are significant chassis revisions to handle the structural differences that comes with the loss of the roof.
The 2010 IS250C has a MSRP of $39,440 when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission; the IS250C with a six-speed automatic transmission will be $40,610. The IS350C will have a MSRP of $44,890.
UPDATE 08/19/2010: Check out our review of the IS250C by clicking here!
Press release after the jump.
Lotus is one of those rare brand success stories in which a company has been able to take itself from near extinction and redefine itself as a top sports-car manufacturer. The company came from humble beginnings in an old stable behind a set of North London Railroad tracks acting as a factory. As time moved on different subsidiaries have been formed and focused on different aspects of the business between Formula racing and road-car production.
Even when the Bugatti ownership was switched to private owner, Proton, in 1994 things were less exciting than ever. The Esprit S4 and V8 models would be the only real production models that Lotus had for the next decade. The Esprit had many great qualities to it, but in essence, it had been around since its original design in 1976.
The company was desperately in need of something to help change its image. In 2004, the Lotus Elise was approved for sale in the United States and was made available as a 2005 model. These series 2 models were compact, light, nimble, and a blast to drive through an S-curve. It turned out to be exactly the type of success that Lotus was looking for and opened the door for future new models.
Enter – Lotus Evora. The Evora is slotted right above the Elise and Exige models, and should entice a more diverse crowd than the hardcore go-kart like models.
Details on the Lotus Evora after the jump.
The Ford Fusion entered the 2010 model year with two new versions added to the line-up: Hydrid and Sport. The new Fusion features new design (inside and out), improved and new technologies and new powertrains with improved fuel consumption.
The 2010 Fusion features a more aggressive front fascia with new headlamps, grille and fog lamps; the three-bar grille in particular is larger with a more modern look. The fog lamps are housed below in a trapezoidal-shaped lower opening to help complete the more-muscular look. At the rear there are new modernized taillights and decklid to help give the vehicle a more unified look from front to rear.
The hybrid version is powered by a combination of a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers 155 hp and 136 lb.-ft. of torque and a nickel-metal hydride battery. The hybrid vehicles can operate up to 47 mph in pure electric mode, approximately twice as fast as some competitors. Plus, the city driving range on a single tank of gas is expected to be more than 700 miles.
The Sport version get a 263-hp V-6 Duratec engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift. It is offered as a FWD model, but AWD is also available.
The model line-u include (besides Sport and Hybrid): S, SE, SEL. The S version gets a 2.5-liter I-4 engine that delivers 175 hp; the SE and SEL get a new 3.0-liter V-6 engine that delivers 240 hp.
Full details in the press release after the jump.
The German sports car maker Porsche first unveiled the Targa in 1967 featuring a removable roof panel designed in response to concerns that the tightening U.S. safety restrictions would ban convertibles. The 2009 Porsche Targa 4 remains absolutely unique and truly exceptional wit its full glass roof, both the Targa 4 and 4S are on sale with prices starting at just $92,100 and $103,100 respectively.
Under the rear deck lid Porsche has placed a 3.6 Liter flat six rated at 345 HP in the four wheel drive version and a 3.8 liter delivering a total of 385 HP in the 4S. The Targa 4 can hit a top speed of or 176 MPH, while the 4S goes up to 184 MPH. At the same time fuel consumption for the 3.6 Liter model has been improved to 26.6 MPG and the 3.8 Liter unit is now good for 25.7 MPG.
Both models are available with the new Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) double clutch gearbox with no less than seven forward gears that allows the new Targa to accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in exactly 5.0 seconds while the Targa 4S makes the trip in an even faster 4.7 seconds. In either case it is 0.2 seconds faster than the standard manual gearbox.
Press release after the jump.
For the past twelve years, the Boxster has been playing the chase-the-911 with its styling. Now the 2009 refreshed Boxster gets more of its own look, sorta. Instead of taking its styling cues from the 911, it looks a little more like the ultra-fast Carrera GT.
The new Boxster features a newly designed front and rear ends. The new halogen headlights with their integrated direction indicators are reminiscent of the lights on the Carrera GT, the new LED rear lights tapering out to the outside and integrated elegantly in the modified rear end of the car.
Under the hood, Porsche placed a 2.9-liter engine that delivers 255 bhp (an increase of 10 hp). The S version gets a 3.4-liter power unit that delivers 310 hp (up 15hp). Mated to a the standard six-speed manual gearbox, the new Boxter makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in 5.9 seconds. Equipped with the PDK double-clutch gearbox, the sprint will be made 0.1 seconds faster.
As it turns out the increase in power will not mean worse fuel economy. The Boxster equipped with PDK averages 26.3 mpg, and 25.5 mpg for the Boxster S. That’s about a 4 mpg improvement from the Tiptronic automatic transmission cars.
Full details in the press release after the jump.
Unveiled back in 2008, the 21st century Dodge Challenger is entering the 2010 model year with a few new fun upgrades including the SE Rallye package as well as the full blown Super Track Pack which include a set of sticky Goodyear Eagle F1 Super Car tires wrapped around the 20 inch rollers, fancy front and rear Nivomat self leveling shock absorbers, larger diameter rear stabilizer bar for better handling, a taller 3.06 rear gear for increased fuel economy in the V8 powered R/T model, performance brake linings for increased durability and the all important enthusiast inspired “ESC-off” setting that will allow owners to hang the tail out and roast sme rubber all starting at just $23,460.
The Challenger SE is the tamest of the trio, powered by a 3.5 Liter V6 making 250 HP and is mated to a four speed automatic transmission. The SE is easily identified by its 17 inch steel wheels with bolt on covers. For a few thousand dollars more you can get significantly more power with the Challenger R/T, powered by a next generation 5.7 Liter HEMI V8 connected to either a five speed automatic with Auto Stick or a precision shift six speed manual transmission with a pistol grip shifter pumping out 370 HP that can sprint from 0 to 60 MPH in less than six seconds.
The SRT-8 remains the top of the line Challenger with its 6.1 Liter HEMI V8 cranking out 425 HP and 420 lb-ft of torque which is good for a 0 to 60 MPH time of less than 5 seconds and can go from 0-100-0 MPH in under 17 seconds. The largest of the Hemi offerings is mated to either a five speed automatic transmission with the famed AutoStick or the six speed manual with pistol grip shifter.
Full details after the jump.
Revealed in 2008, the Corvette ZR1 is entering the 2010 model year with new Performance Traction Management (PTM) technology. It is an advanced system that is part of a new Launch Control feature that optimizes traction for greater and more consistent on-track performance. The car comes in two trim levels: 1ZR and 3ZR, with prices starting at $106,880, and respectively at $116,880.
The Corvette ZR1 is powered by supercharged and intercooled 6.2L engine rated at 638 hp and a peak torque of 604 lbs-ft. The ZR1 makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in 3,4 seconds and will not stop until it will hit a top speed of 205 mph. This way, the ZR1 becomes the most powerful production car ever offered by Chevrolet and GM.
The Corvette ZR1 shares the platform with the Z06, but it is meaner and badder. It features lightweight materials: the roof panel, roof bow, lower rocker moldings, front splitter, the underside of the hood are made out of exposed-weave carbon-fiber, while front fascia, doors, rear fenders and rear fascia are made of various other composite materials. This makes the ZR1 more agile. According to Ed Peper: "It all boils down to the power-to-weight ratio and the ZR1’s is exceptional – better than the Porsche 911 GT2, the Ferrari 599 and even the Lamborghini LP640. In fact, the ZR1 is expected to be the first production Corvette to achieve a top speed of at least 200 mph."
Full details after the jump.