Four years ago, I wrote about the “Tornado,” as the turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine then being development was coded. Insiders were certain that the 5.7 Hemi would be dropped so Chrysler could boost its fuel economy ratings and drop its lavish support for Tesla. (The project nickname honored the airplane, not the classic Willys-Jeep engine.)
The straight-six is only slightly longer than the four-cylinder so it could be transverse-mounted. The main targets were reportedly Ram pickups and Jeeps, with a no-expense-spared Alfa Romeo/Maserati version, as usual. Perhaps the Charger, Challenger, and 300 would get it; perhaps they would not.
Reliable insiders told me that the company had assigned Saltillo and another plant to build the Tornado/GME T6 (one high-capacity and one low-capacity line), but then everything went quiet, until now.
The engine appears to be back on track, allegedly after issues with noise and vibration have been resolved. It might even appear in the next-gen Grand Cherokee, though that seems unlikely, at least for the first models. (The Grand Cherokee L posted the same fuel economy ratings as the current Grand Cherokee; it’s newer but larger.)
The old large cars, which are still remarkably competitive in most respects, have to make it to 2024; dropping in the new T6 would help revive them a bit, but it’s more likely they will be used in their replacements—if said replacements are on the menu.
Originally, we thought the complete dropping-off-the-face-of-the-Earth of the GME T6 was due to disappointing power or economy figures; in that case, a moderate increase in horsepower and torque might not be worth paying nearly a billion dollars for tooling and such, while losing the marketing cachet of the Hemi. But with new rumors floating around, it seems likely that we will indeed see this, possibly the last completely new gasoline engine from Stellantis, under the hood of Jeeps, Rams, and perhaps even Dodges and Chryslers.
Is this related at all to the July 8 Dodge announcement? It seems unlikely.