FCA Upgrades 2016 Pentastar V-6


In order to improve the fuel economy and power of the current Ram 1500 base-level V-6, the 3.6-liter DOHC Pentastar, Fiat Chrysler Automobile engineers took apart the current engine and rebuilt it from the ground up. They looked for every weight-saving technique and performance-squeezing strategy they could use. Depending on the application (to date, the engine is used extensively across the FCA lineup), it looks like they squeezed almost 15 percent more torque and 6 percent more fuel economy from the mild-mannered engine block.

Among the most significant enhancements to the updated engine is a new intake manifold with much longer runners; an increased compression ratio; all-new, faster, eight-hole injectors; an upgraded variable valve timing strategy; and a unique two-step variable valve lift to improve combustion events depending on the power needs of the engine.

Much of the improved efficiency is a direct result of making the intake, ignition, combustion and injection system better, and increasing the engine's computer power to include more usage parameters. Additionally, every part of the engine was put on a strict diet, reducing its weight by nearly 17 pounds. However, the final resting weight of the new Pentastar is about 4 pounds lighter than the previous version because there are about 13 extra pounds of new technology.

As you might expect, the computing power and speed is vastly faster and more sensitive than the last-generation engine, making throttle feel more responsive depending on the situation and allowing the engine to interpret when the driver is searching for maximum fuel economy. Finally, low-friction materials with diamond-like carbon coatings were used at every metal-to-metal contact point to make things as smooth and unrestricted as possible.

The new-and-improved Pentastar V-6 will debut in the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee but is likely to eventually make its way into other brands, including the Ram 1500, we suspect, by 2017. Although EPA ratings for the new engine have not been released, we’re predicting a minimum of a 1 mpg improvement for a vehicle like the Ram 1500 High Fuel Efficiency model in city, highway and combined — potentially getting 19/26/22.

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