• Mar 19, 2008
A four-banger in a Camaro! Blasphemy you say? Could be, but what four-pot are we talking about? In this case, the General's car czar Bob Lutz suggests that the new 2010 Camaro due next February could offer the same 2.0 liter direct-injected engine used in the Saturn Sky Redline, Pontiac Solstice GXP and the SS versions of the Chevy HHR and Cobalt. Before dismissing the turbo-four immediately, consider the top-of-the-line engine options the Camaro offered after the last oil-embargo-driven doomsday. In '72, the big block 402 engine offered just 240 horsepower; in '73, the Z28 was equipped with a 245-horse 350 and by '75 the hottest option underhood made only 155 horses. Ouch. The 2.0 being considered for the Camaro punches out 260 horsepower, and based on our time with the engine, you feel each of them as you run up towards the redline. The next step-up will likely be a version of GM's 3.6, as offered in the CTS and G8, also making around 260 horsepower.

Other Camaro tidbits mentioned by Lutz: it will be priced higher than the Mustang, as GM sees the Camaro as a higher-end offering. Specifically, Lutz suggests that the Camaro will feature a much better interior than the 'Stang, along with its inherently better independent rear-suspension arrangement.

Perhaps a bigger question to ponder is how bad will the performance industry be impacted by new fuel efficiency standards along with the ever-tightening emissions regulations. Just so long as carmakers such as GM continue to offer engine options like their 2.0 liter DI four-banger, the performance drop-off won't be nearly as drastic as it was back in the mid-70s. Thank God for that!


[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]


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  • 97 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I guess the people here are missing out on something - GM may have to hedge if the EPA loses vs. California, and the new goal is 44 mpg by 2020. I'd think that getting experience with the turbo I4 and A6 transmission would help alot. And besides, a turbo I4 could leave some room/weight for batteries, too.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Anyone remember the Porsche 968? It had a 3.0 I4 Natural aspiration and did quite nicely at just a hair over 3000lbs while getting 17/26 mpg. That was 16 years ago? The problem lies within GM getting their act together, and update already.
      • 6 Years Ago
      cool
      • 6 Years Ago
      Given the expected weight of the New Camaro, the Ecotec GDI Turbo will likely prove adequate if not overly exciting. Of course it's hardly a new idea (see, e.g. 1984-1986 Mustang SVO, 1987-1988 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe).

      Ford may be following suit.


      [The] new 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 . . . will likely appear elsewhere including the 2010 Mustang. . . . The V-6 will likely be rated at a minimum of 340hp to start and be lighter in weight than the current 4.6L V-8 leading to better handling and considerably better fuel economy. At some point the 2.0L four-cylinder EcoBoost will probably become the standard engine in the base Mustang as well.


      One suspects that the rumored four-cylinder "Ecotec Camaro" is more about "import tuner" image and fuel economy window dressing than actual real world mileage increases (although it should be 2-3 mpg better in the city portion of the test cycle than a heavily-overdriven, naturally-aspirated V6/V8 of equivalent maximum output).

      http://speedzzter.blogspot.com/2008/03/is-v8-dead-under-35-m.html


      • 6 Years Ago
      Also, GM should consider the 3.6 DI that the uplevel Caddy has. They need to start spreading it to other models such as the Buick Lacross and Lucerne, Pontiac G8, Impala, and maybe even a high end Malibu.
        • 6 Years Ago
        No, the 3.6 Direct Injection, the one that makes 304 hp. Unless you lifted one out of either the STS or CTS, you do not have it in your Malibu. I believe yours makes about 265 hp, so the Direct Injection makes 40 more horses AND gets better fuel economy.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Besides, this isn't exactly the SN95 days any more. The current Mustang may not have IRS, but its surprisingly compliant and performant without it. Not to mention somewhat cheaper and simpler.
      • 6 Years Ago
      As an S2000 owner (Yes I do understand the idea behind musclecars) I think it is more important to focus on the fact that all Camaros will be RWD and most likely have IRS.

      Its important that there are base models under $25k so that it does not become an irrelevant niche car like the last GTO.

      The ecotec also scores points b/c its easy to get more hp and that GM better start getting more practice making FI engines as that is the future.

      Still it would have behooved Chevy to have modeled the new Camaro after the 67-8 models over the '69 version. The former looked better because of their better proportions and had a smaller footprint/less weight.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Like everyone says and knows (or should know). Weight is more important for fuel economy than Horsepower. If a car is a boat even a 4 cylinder will suck the fuel, I had a 4 cylinder pony car many years ago and the fuel economy sucked, traded up for the V8 and only got 1 MPG worse, and at least then the car was drivable too
      • 6 Years Ago
      There's no doubt that the GXP/Redline 4banger has enough power on paper. But is it durable enough to tote that much weight around.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How about instead of sticking that engine into what's likely to be a rather heavy car (looking at other modern GM offerings like the 3,900 pound G8, or 4,000 pound CTS), get something built on the smaller RWD "Alpha" platform which utilizes that engine? Stop dicking around with the FWD "SS" Cobalt, and finally do the badge justice with a compact RWD coupe instead.
      • 6 Years Ago
      IMO Camaro should be a pushrod car only, the following engines would be cheap and economic (except the last one):

      3.5 liter pushrod V6, 240 HP
      3.5 liter supercharged pushrod V6, 340 HP
      6.2 liter pushrod V8, 430 HP
      6.2 liter supercharged pushrod V8, 550 HP

      there's no need for anything else
        • 6 Years Ago
        WRXes and Evos get lousy mpg, despite the small engines.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I drive a 290 hp wrx and i get 21mpg... its no that great having a turbo 4
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes there is. Look at how popular WRXs, Evos, Mazdaspeed3s, SRT4s, Cobalt SSs are with younger people. We like to drive fast, but we don't like getting 12-15mpg. I want to have a lot of fun, but not pay a ton per week supporting oil company CEOs.

        How about this engine choice:

        Boosted 4 cylinder: 280hp. 28mpg.

        Bam. A huge, HUGE hit.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Zentrandi: You also have AWD, which kills mpg. If you only had RWD, you'd probably be getting 24-25mpg. And honestly, 21mpg isn't bad for a close to 300hp car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Interesting concept.
        But the 3.5 is a 60 degree engine, so the idea of GM slapping a TVS supercharger on top of it just isn't going to fly. Those damn pedestrian regulations and such.

        How about a V6 only lineup.
        Pushrods:
        Start with a 350hp 4.6 V6 derived from the LS3
        Step up to a 400hp 5.3 V6 derived from the LS7
        or how about a 'big block' 6.1 liter V6 from the 8.1 V8.

        3.9 high-value 250hp
        3.5 high-value 225hp

        High feature:
        3.6 variable resonance, 260hp
        Direct injection 3.6 300hp.
        Hybrid of 3.6HO (from Lamda SUVs 275hp) + 3.6 DI higher flowing intake manifold (loses variable resonance) 280hp.

        Twin turbo 3.6 direct injection 400hp.
        Twin turbo 2.8 300hp
        Twin turbo 3.2 350hp

        3.2 240hp (small bore of 2.8 with long stroke of 3.6)
        2.8 V6 220hp
        3.8 or 4.0 version of 3.6 DI, 325/350hp. GM said the 4.0 requires removing cast in liners.

        Myself, I wouldn't drive a crossplane V8 rice version.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Camaro has never been V8 only (in reference to the above comment).

      The problem with a Trubocharged engine, is why they're great on power, and not really bad for fuel economy if you keep your foot out of it, is that the 5th gen Camaro is a heavy bastiche. It will require hoof-in-floor disease to go anywhere.

      The 4th generation cars would have been fine with the 2.0l DI Turbo in them; The difference of a few hundred pounds weight.

      It's a simple equation. It requires power to move weight. More weight = more power to move it. A 4 banger needs to rev up to make power, and doubly so with a turbocharger. More revs = more fuel going into the engine.

      I doubt the LNF could push this car around at safe-to-drive speeds in todays world, and maintain even similar fuel economy to the V6. Especially if they get wise and use that direct injected 3.6l.

      Now, had GM been a bit smarter and built this off a stretched Sky/Solstice (which will fit an LS series small block in the bay), then it could have possibly worked. Heck, they may have been able to put the 2.4l (just shy of 180hp) in as a true base motor or a delete option; which would have EPA numbers to boost their average (though even in the lighter Sky-based Camaro probably wouldn't really give better fuel mileage than the LNF).

      This is what I think I'd have gone for instead, and used the excess capacity for the big RWD Zetas to fill another niche. RWD Impala or G8 Sport Wagon anyone?
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