The first of Chrysler's new Pentastar V6 engines have now begun rolling down the assembly line at the new Trenton South plant in Trenton, Michigan. Slated to appear first in the 2011 Jeep Cherokee that debuts later this year, this advanced 3.6-liter double-overhead cam six is destined to play a pivotal role in determining the automaker's ultimate fate. Paolo Ferrero, senior vice president of Powertrain, Chrysler Group LLC, noted that: "By 2014, this new V-6 will account for more than a third of our total engine output and contribute to an overall fuel economy improvement of more than 25 percent." In addition to its designed-in baseline efficiency and lower production costs, the new Pentastar V6 is amenable to a host of new technologies, including direct fuel injection, turbocharging and the fitment of Fiat's super-efficient Multiair system that employs electro-hydraulic valve actuation to control the operation of each valve on an individual and stroke-by-stroke basis.
"Our engineers synthesized the best combination of design features and technologies to create a V6 engine that will exceed customer needs," said Bob Lee, vice president of Engine and Electrified Propulsion Systems Engineering, Chrysler Group LLC. "The elegantly simple design maximizes functionality and provides class-leading levels of refinement, fuel-efficiency, performance and cost of ownership." Initially, the new Pentastar 3.6 will make 290 horsepower -- 38 more ponies than the current corporate V6 -- and churn out 260 lb.-ft. of torque, an 11 percent bump over the existing engine. In addition to making more peak twist, Chrysler says that over 90 percent of that valuable commodity will be on hand from 1,800-6,350 rpm. Complementing those impressive output gains, the new Pentastar V6 also will deliver 11 percent better fuel efficiency than the present V6. As a final touch, it's also a flex-fuel design that can run on regular unleaded gasoline or E85.