For the first time in its history – and considering that the company has been around for over 100 years, that's significant – GMC decided to make an official appearance at the National Truck Equipment Association show in St. Louis. And the Professional Grade brand brought along the heavies... specifically, the 2011 GMC Sierra Denali HD.
When the truck hits the market later this year, it will be the first time that GMC has offered a Denali version of its Heavy Duty truck platform. After giving the truck a thorough once (and even twice) over, we have to say that the Denali, even with all of its drilled-out chrome highlights, looks rather subdued and classy in all-black paint. And, though we certainly appreciate the in-your-face attitude of General Motors' two main competitors in the pickup wars, we'd say that understated appearance is a good thing.
Inside, you'll find the expected luxury trimmings, including heated and cooled leather seats and a matching wood-trimmed heated steering wheel, along with some nice details like Denali-specific door sill plates. All that is well and good, but the big news resides under the truck's big black hood: a revised 6.6-liter Duramax V8 diesel engine, which is mated up to a stout Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission.
For those who like to keep track of these thing, which is to say every single person who's actually interested in purchasing one of these earth-moving behemoths, GM's latest Duramax beats out the 2011 Ford Super Duty in the all-important horsepower and torque wars with 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet. Wanna pull a ten-ton load? No problem. That powerplant is also more fuel efficient (by 11 percent) and cleaner than the unit it replaces.
Interestingly, GM representatives tell us that they had a bit of a back-and-forth with the Feds regarding how best to handle the required refilling of the diesel exhaust fluid tank, which won't run dry for about 5,000 miles between fill-ups. It seems that when the truck gets dangerously low on the exhaust treatment, its speed will be capped at 55 miles per hour. If you run out, the computer nannies will keep you to just a four mph crawl so that you'll never be stranded completely. Want more? Check out our gallery of high-res images below and click here for the rest of the details.