Nearly four years ago, I wrote about the “Tornado,” as the turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine then being development was coded (not after the Jeep engine, but the airplane, in line with other Chrysler engine projects).
Insiders were certain that the 5.7 Hemi, which was overdue for upgrades—upgrades which had reportedly been at least partly created, but not final-tested—would be dropped, so Chrysler could boost its fuel economy ratings. As it is, FCA US has subsidized Tesla surprisingly well, with lavish payments the company probably now wishes it could have paid to the government as fines.
The straight-six was developed to fit into tight spaces; it was only slightly longer than the four-cylinder, so it could have been used in transverse mounts, if needed. The main targets, though, were Ram pickups and Jeeps—in Mopar/FCA US form—and Alfa Romeos and Maseratis, in no-expense-spared FCA Italy form. Perhaps the Charger, Challenger, and 300 would get it; perhaps they would not.
Reliable insiders told me that the company had even assigned plants for the Tornado (GME T6) assembly lines, but then… all lines went dead, and I, at least, have not heard a word about the engine for months.
So, is the “Apache” 5.7 Hemi going to get a renovation and stay in the lineup, or has it been judged sufficient until battery-electrics and serious hybrids are available for Ram pickups and large cars? The large cars are going through 2024 or so before they are replaced, and likely don’t have enough margin to have a unique midlevel V8. The question then becomes the Ram 1500, Wagoneer, and Grand Cherokee, which do need either a 5.7 Hemi V8 or something close to it in power.
It is quite possible that, looking at real-life power and economy figures from the GME T6, Stellantis leaders decided that the extra smoothness of a straight-six (assuming it is smoother than the Hemi) coupled with a moderate increase in horsepower and torque were not worth losing the marketing cache of the Hemi V8. Instead, perhaps, they will end up using a version of the Pentastar PHEV system in the minivans, or a more performance-oriented hybrid setup—or perhaps we will finally get those upgrades to the 5.7 Hemi.
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