Could a turbodiesel inline-six be on the horizon?

Rumors are circulating that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is investigating the use of inline six-cylinder engines for future use. The FCA-dedicated yet independent new site Allpar reported earlier this week FCA is working on a gasoline-powered I-6. Now Allpar is reporting its sources within FCA a turbodiesel version is also under consideration.

Unlike the gasoline I-6 that’s said to be based on FCA’s Global Medium Engine family, the six-cylinder diesel is a member of the FPT, or Fiat Powertrain Technologies line of four-cylinder diesels. These FPT engines are already widely used, even in the U.S., within vehicles like the Ram ProMaster.

The current FPT engine displaces 3.0 liters and generates 174 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Adding two cylinders to block would push displacement to 4.0 liters while increasing power. The engine could potentially generate 261 horsepower and an impressive 442 pound-feet of torque – that is, if the power increases at the same percentage as the cylinder count.

But what would FCA power with this engine? There are several possibilities.

For one, the Ram 1500 could see its 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 turbodiesel get swapped for this. The ProMaster van might use the 4.0-liter I-6 as its range-topping engine, barring any issues with its transverse packaging. Even Jeep could use the turbodiesel, both in the Wrangler and other vehicles like the Grand Cherokee and upcoming Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.

Even more interesting, Allpar speculates the engine, (perhaps called the 4.0-liter EcoDiesel I-6) might be used as an entry-level turbodiesel in the Ram Heavy Duty trucks. The smaller EcoDiesel would surely undercut the cost of the 6.7-liter Cummins inline-six turbodiesel. Then again, Ram isn’t likely to jeopardize its relationship with the famed diesel engine manufacturer.

These rumors could shed light on a new era in FCA engine building and America’s true adoption of turbodiesel engines as a viable power source. On the flip side, these rumors could prove to be complete off base. FCA could even scrap the inline-six idea altogether if the market changes. Only time will tell, but the possibilities seem open.

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Why It Matters

FCA is certainly going through a transition period these days; there’s no denying that. Its small passenger cars like the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 are being killed off to make room for crossovers, SUVs, and pickups. As long as fuel prices don’t skyrocket, FCA seems set for success as the automotive market shifts towards these larger vehicles.

Adding gasoline and turbodiesel inline six-cylinder engines to the laundry list of engines seems like a smart move, especially considering the potential output and fuel efficiency FCA could achieve. What’s more, an adoption of inline-six engines would hark back to past engines. Marketing types would have an easy job generating hype over the straight-six designs just as with the reintroduction of the Hemi V-8 in the early 2000s. After all, Chrysler has a deep history with inline six-cylinders, the most recent of which is Jeep’s 4.0-liter gasoline I-6 used in the Wrangler TJ.

So what do you think? Would FCA be smart to invest in an inline six-cylinder turbodiesel? What horsepower and torque figures do you want to see? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Allpar

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