American automakers aren’t known for inline-six engines these days, but that wasn’t always the case. The configuration largely fell out of favor with American automakers as transverse vehicle layouts became the norm decades ago. GM embraced the V6 engine a long time ago, and even now, smaller displacement four-cylinder engines are starting to replace them—save for the 3.0-liter Duramax inline-six.
Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles could buck that trend, however. Allpar reported on rumors that FCA has a new inline-six engine under development and it could find a home in Alfa Romeo and Maserati vehicles. Thus, it would tackle Mercedes-Benz and BMW, which have held onto the silky-smooth six-cylinder engine configuration. FCA reportedly sees the inline-six as a relatively simple way to update its engine portfolio; it could share components and tooling with FCA’s global four-cylinder engine called the “Global Medium Engine.”
The engine is rumored to have less than 3.0 liters of displacement, and not only would its longitudinal characteristic make it a good fit for company’s premium divisions, but it could even power Ram trucks, plus the Charger and Challenger duo.
Inline-six engines offer inherently better characteristics due to their layout. They’re better balanced, smooth in power delivery, and, well, they sound pretty darn good too. Over at Cadillac, such a move seems unlikely. The brand has instead focused on smaller displacement four-cylinder engines and two exclusive engines sitting in a V formation: the 3.0-liter twin-turbo LGW V6 and the new 4.2-liter LTA twin-turbo V8 engine. The 3.0-liter Duramax LM2 inline-six engine is the only of its type GM will offer. The engine will find a home in the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and 2019 GMC Sierra.
Should FCA embrace the inline-six, it could make the Challenger the only pony car left offering a six-cylinder in the future. GM has floated the idea of hybridizing a four-cylinder engine with substantially more power. It could pave the way for the end of the V6 Camaro. Of course, this is all speculation. We won’t know anything until the automaker shares the info itself.