Big eight still rates
V8 engines will always have a place at General Motors, writes Paul Gover
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.