Big eight still rates

V8 en­gines will al­ways have a place at Gen­eral Mo­tors, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

THE clas­sic ‘‘ small block’’ Chevro­let V8 en­gine will sur­vive any global crack­down on emis­sions and fuel econ­omy.

Gen­eral Mo­tors says its iconic V8 is part of the core DNA of the com­pany and crit­i­cal to Chevro­let.

It’s also still in use — with 21stcen­tury tweak­ing and a Gen IV badge — in the Holden Com­modore.

‘‘We’re work­ing on the next gen­er­a­tion of small block,’’ Jamie Hresko, GM vice-pres­i­dent of global pow­er­train en­gi­neer­ing, says.

He ad­mits GM is chang­ing its en­gine fo­cus but still sees a place for V8s.

‘‘Is the V8 still alive? Yeah,’’ Hresko says. ‘‘You will see, clearly, a lot fewer V8s. You will still have per­for­mance ve­hi­cles and these kind of things, so I don’t think V8s are go­ing to to­tally dry up. (But) the vol­umes will con­tinue to shift to four cylin­ders, the smartest place for en­gines, and tech­nol­ogy.’’

He fore­casts a tech­nol­ogy boost in V8s, with­out go­ing into specifics.

‘‘I think you will see en­gines get­ting smaller, even in the eight-cylin­der set. I think what you will see . . . is con­tin­ued map­ping to­wards smaller en­gines in gen­eral. You have down­siz­ing with boost, you have tur­bocharg­ing.’’

De­vel­op­ment of the small block is likely to go in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions to im­prove fuel econ­omy and emis­sions.

‘‘We have, in each new ar­chi­tec­ture and en­gine fam­ily we come up with we’ll have dif­fer­ent dis­place­ments. So we’ll move away. You’ll see dif­fer­ent dis­place­ment en­gines,’’ he says.

‘‘(But) we haven’t an­nounced the dis­place­ment of the next gen­er­a­tion.’’

Hresko says GM is flat-out on new tech­nolo­gies in both en­gines and trans­mis­sions, spend­ing money as the com­pany emerges from bank­ruptcy in the US.

‘‘We have a lot of work to do. We are in­vest­ing on the peo­ple side,’’ he says. ‘‘We plan on win­ning. We re­alise the short­com­ings to­day and we’re push­ing to ad­dress those is­sues.’’

In Aus­tralia, he sees a con­tin­ued place for the V8 but also talks up the four-cylin­der work on other cars.

‘‘In your mar­ket for ex­am­ple ... you will get a 1.4-litre turbo on your Cruze and it will per­form much bet­ter than the 1.8-litre ve­hi­cle you see to­day.

‘‘The 1.4 turbo at a very low cost will give you more per­for­mance than the 1.8. In the US it’s go­ing over very well.’’

Wanted: The new HSV LS3 V8 en­gine still has a fu­ture with Gen­eral Mo­tors and its off­shoots.

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