The move to an all-EV lineup will be hard enough for most manufacturers; it becomes considerably more difficult for groups like Stellantis with their vast portfolio of brands. Especially when you think of the North American ones - Dodge, Ram and Jeep spring to mind - with a heavy reliance on petrol engines. The thought of those manufacturers going cold turkey on combustion as soon as some others have suggested just isn't feasible.
The solution? A more efficient V8 replacement, of course, specifically a new 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six called the 'Hurricane'. It has been designed to be hybridised in time, too, aiding that transition to electric that will inevitably come. For the moment, however, it sounds a real treat. Offered in either standard output - still with more than 400hp and 450lb ft, they say - or High Output, with a greater focus on performance and the promise of more than 500hp/475lb ft. That's with US 91-octane, too. Stellantis says the unit offers "V8-rivalling performance while being up to 15 per cent more efficient than larger engines." A Rolls-Royce Merlin is probably more efficient than the old supercharged 6.2 used in various Dodges, Rams and Jeeps, but it's better than nothing. And a million times more palatable for customers than, say, batteries.
The Hurricane uses an aluminium block, a forged steel crank and forged steel conrods; while efficiency is understandably a priority - with features to help like 350-bar direct injection - Stellantis hasn't abandoned performance enhancing measures, either. The turbos are said to be low inertia and high flow (boosting at 22psi or 26psi depending on variant), there's dual overhead cams and fully independent variable valve timing, plus the cylinder bores are plasma coated to reduce friction. Nothing that you won't have already heard of but, again, there are still iron-blocked, 16-valve, pushrod V8s in the Stellantis empire - this is progress.
Interestingly, the Hurricane shares some key features - bore, stroke and cylinder spacing - with the 2.0-litre turbo four found in some Jeeps. The new straight six is going to built at the Saltillo Engine Plant in Mexico,and is set to power cars on the STLA Large and STLA Frame platforms. The real big stuff, basically; the latter being pick-up trucks, the former starting at the D-segment. Don't go getting any idea of a new Giulia Quadrifoglio powered by a Hurricane, sadly - this is about improving the efficiency of those models seemingly dependent on V8s. Still, achieving that with a twin-turbo straight-six sounds a very agreeable solution for all parties, and, if nothing else, it confirms that internal combustion engines will play 'a key role' in the Stellantis portfolio for a good while yet. Expect the Hurricane-engined models to be in dealers by the end of this year.
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