GM rear wheel drive programs back on track; Now with more MPG!

Less than a month after General Motors reportedly paused development of their future rear wheel dirve cars due to the potential for new fuel economy regulations, Vice-Chairman Bob Lutz says the programs will probably go ahead after all. The powertrain mix for these vehicles will probably be adjusted to a more efficient mix than originally anticipated. Lutz was interviewed for the Detroit Public TV program Autoline Detroit that will be on this Sunday and indicated that after an evaluation, the Zeta platform is back on track.

This means that instead of a V-8 heavy mix, the next generation of larger GM cars will probably rely more on six-cylinder engines. With the addition of direct injection on these engines, fuel economy could be improved while maintaining the needed performance levels. In addition, the passenger car variant of the new two-mode hybrid system would seem to find a natural home in these vehicles, providing decent performance and fuel economy. The recently announced 2.9L V-6 diesel that will appear in European market versions of the Cadillac CTS would also be a perfect fit in this platform. For reference the European BMW 530d with similar power gets 35 mpg(US) combined without the hybrid. A diesel V-6 two-mode hybrid Impala could conceivably get 40mpg!

[Source: Detroit News]

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