As the final fasteners were tightened on the 100-millionth production small-block— a supercharged LS9 destined for the Corvette ZR1 — GM announced that its next-generation small-block engine family will feature direct injection technology.
The fifth-generation small-block is an all-new engine family that builds on the architectural and technology legacy of previous generations of small blocks to deliver greater efficiency, performance, and refinement. Direct Injection (DI) will bring greater fuel efficiency compared to the current (fourth) generation small blocks and will work together with a higher compression ratio and other technologies to further enhance efficiency.
According to GM’s official press release, the fifth-gen small block will go into production “in the near future” and will continue to have 4.4-inch bore centers — the center-to-center distance between cylinders that has been part of the small-block’s architecture from its introduction 56 years ago. Additionally, General Motors has invested more than $1 billion in manufacturing facilities associated with producing the fifth-generation small block engines, resulting in the creation or retention of 1,711 jobs.
The GM Authority Take
Technologically-speaking, direct injecting the small block will bring the storied engine family into the 21st century. Most of GM’s six-cylinder engines currently in production feature direct injection, including the 3.6 liter LFX and the (rather underwhelming) 3.0 liter LF1. Meanwhile, some — but not all — of its four-cylinder powerplants have direct injection as well.
We expect to see GM’s fifth-gen small block in everything from the next-generation Chevy Camaro and Cadillac’s line of V-badged performance cars to full-sized trucks and SUVs. Now, who’s up for more power and increase fuel efficiency?