Whatever happened to the Chrysler turbo six?
For years, it seems, Mopar site Allpar.com has been talking about a turbo six cylinder engine, based on the new turbo 2.0 liter four-cylinder—an engine which has yet to be seen without forced induction. That engine was coded GME, or Global Medium Engine; the six-cylinder version was reported the GME T6.
Allpar had reported that the T6 would give up Chrysler’s traditional steel cylinder sleeves for an aluminum treatment, and have other tricks to make it as short, front to back, as possible. But it didn’t show up in a listing of possible engines for the new Grand Cherokee and its three-row companion.
The most likely explanations is that the engine program is running a bit slow, which would not be unusual for Fiat Chrysler, especially with other powertrain combinations (especially hybrids) being tested on a finite number of test dynamometers.
It’s also possible that the engine is being developed mainly for Ram, and is being timed for release with the second-generation Ram 1500 pickups or even with a new generation of Ram 2500s. The straight-six format lasted longer in trucks and Jeeps than it did in cars; coming back earlier in trucks would make sense.
There’s also the issue of noise and vibration, which have afflicted the 2.0 liter GME engines; one would not want a noisy engine inside the Jeep Grand Cherokee, even if it was powerful enough. If the T6 is also noisy or vibrates too much, FCA would hold it back until either the problems were solved, or a more suitable vehicle was ready.
Mostly, it probably just wasn’t scheduled to be produced now anyway; the engine has never been officially unveiled, and engine development programs take years from early design to fruition. That would be especially true if the engine it was based on was found to have any flaws that needed to be dealt with on the new variety as well.
Clark Westfield grew up fixing up and driving past-their-prime American cars, including various GM and Mopar V8s. He has ghostwritten auto news for the last few years, lives in Farmingdale, New York, and can be reached at +1.516-531-4021.