The Duramax goes from dead last to tied for first

General Motors’ next-generation 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 turbodiesel is said to make 445 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and 910 pound-feet of torque at only 1,600 rpm. That’s what GM’s own 2017 global propulsion product guide states on the GM Powertrain website. At least before GM took the web page down ahead of the Duramax’s official debut at the 2016 Texas State Fair.

Those horsepower and torque specs are a big improvement over the outgoing LML 6.6-liter Duramax. It produced 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet of torque in the 2016 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy duty trucks. That’s a total of 48 more horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque for 2017.

Much of that power increase can likely be attributed to the already-announced dual-circuit cold air intake for the Duramax. The new intake uses a hood scoop to draw roughly 60 percent of air into the engine. The cooler outside air then hits a 180-degree elbow with a water separator and mixed with the other air coming from the traditional fender location.

In relation to Ford’s newly revised 6.7-liter Power Stroke, the Duramax makes five horsepower more, but 15 pound-feet less torque. That puts the Duramax as the class leader for horsepower and the Power Stroke leading in torque, at 925 pound-feet.

The 6.7-liter Cummins inline six-cylinder turbodiesel in Ram’s heavy duty trucks is now in last place. The high-output version makes 385 horsepower and 900 pound-feet of torque. We’re betting Ram will make a play for 950 or even 1,000 pound-feet of torque when the next generation Ram debuts for 2018.

News of GM’s upgrades to the Duramax is greatly welcomed. Its heavy duty trucks have been skating by the last few years without any major advancements beyond a body style change for the 2015 model year. The new engine specs should help GM compete with Ram’s growing market share and Ford’s all-new 2017 Super Duty.

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Why It Matters

GM’s heavy duty diesel trucks are no longer the lowest man on the totem pole. The healthy increase in horsepower and torque should help the Silverado and Sierra HDs better compete with Ford and Ram. Still, GM has yet to make an official statement on the 2017 L5P Duramax, so we’ll have to wait till the 2016 Texas State Fair before the specs can be cemented into gospel. Hopefully GM will also announce higher payload and towing ratings, perhaps moving it from last place against Ford and Ram.

The improvements on GM’s diesel front are fantastic, but it also highlights the disparity of GM’s out-dated 6.0-liter gasoline V-8 – the standard engine in its HD trucks. The gasser is old-school tech with no improvements from GM’s fifth-generation LS series like direct injection or active fuel management. It only produces 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque.

Compare that to Ford’s 6.2-liter V-8, which makes 385 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. What’s more, both of Ram’s gasoline V-8 options make more horsepower and torque than GM’s 6.0-liter. The Ram’s 5.7-liter Hemi makes 383 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, while the bad-boy 6.4-liter kicks out 410 horses and 429 pound-feet of torque.

Hopefully GM will soon debut a new generation of gasoline V-8. Perhaps a beefed up version of the 6.2-liter V-8 found in GM’s 1500-series trucks would work. That engine, derived from the LT1 in the Corvette, makes an impressive 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Numbers like that would put GM above the competition.

Source: GM Authority

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