Future Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep Powertrain: Engines and Transmissions
Ralph Giles announced a “new family” of four cylinder engines to appear in 18 months, during an Autoline After Hours appearance. That would set the calendar date at around August 2015, corresponding roughly to the appearance of a refreshed 2016 Dodge Dart.
To put this into context, Fiat is working on small engines with three and four cylinders, ranging from around 65 to 185 hp (with turbocharging). The “medium sized” Hurricane engine from Chrysler is expected to be a 2.0 liter with 220-250 horsepower, which might be based on the current 2.0/2.4 family, with a possible 300+ horsepower 2.4 liter. There has been cross-company cooperation on each design, according to vague reports.
Eight speed and nine speed automatics
ZF’s sophisticated eight speed automatic transmission for rear wheel drive cars and trucks has a maximum torque rating of 650 pound-feet (in 8HP90 form). It uses several planetary gearsets, each of which may cost about as much as a light duty transmission. A nine speed ZF is used in the Jeep Cherokee, and is slated for front wheel drive and AWD cars and minivans.
Both transmissions are designed to be used with transfer cases for 4x4 or all wheel drive, with stop-start systems, and with hybrid setups. Both have shift times below the limit of human perception, so that shifting can take place extremely rapidly, going up a few gears in the time a normal transmission would take for part of a single shift; the large number of gears and quick shifting will raise gas mileage and responsiveness, and can allow engine tuners to optimize more for particular rpms.
Chrysler is buying some eight speed transmissions from ZF while ITP (Kokomo) builds others; the ZF is used by Audi, Maserati, Rolls-Royce, and others as well. Transmissions.
The Chrysler versions of the transmissions have many differences, with most of the internal parts reportedly not being interchangeable. These are made by Chrysler in Kokomo, where the old four-speed automatics were made (845RFE, 928TE).
Pentastar V6 engines (Phoenix)
Pentastar V6 engines (née Phoenix) now have a higher-mileage (lower internal friction) 3.2 powerplant and a Euro-tax-friendly 2997cc variant, with a rumored supercharged 3.2, direct injection, and possibly turbo and twin turbo 3-liter engines. A 4.8 liter V8 was rumored back in 2006, and may yet appear but not until 2016 at best.
Tiger Shark includes revised VVT tuning (sacrificing top end for better overall performance and economy) on the 2.0, MultiAir on the 2.4, roller cams, and swapping intake and exhaust positions. These engines will likely last for a number of years before replacement, but will soon be supplemented by the Hurricane Fours.
Other gas engines
Expect a 6.2 liter supercharged Hemi engine. We expect anywhere from 620 to 680 horsepower, with several sources claiming 700 horsepower (we suspect that won’t happen). A supercharger for the 6.4 Hemi is said to be on the way, as a Mopar aftermarket kit, once the 6.2 is out. This engine will debut in model-year 2015 with the revised Challenger; it will be shown in March 2014, and production is set to start around July 2014.
A revised, naturally aspirated Apache 392 Hemi with higher power ratings is under wraps for calendar-year 2014-2015, according to one source, along with an Eagle 5.7 Hemi upgrade slated for 2014.
There were once (and may still be) plans for a Pentastar 4.8 engine; it would be an odd layout for a V8, but other companies have used such V6-based V8s. It would provide an entry level Ram V8, and help with fleet fuel economy.
Our early mentions of 6.4 Hemis in trucks have been validated, with the big gas engine available from Ram 2500 to 5500, as an option in the lighter models and standard engine in the heavier ones. Our prediction of a more capable Aisin automatic has also been verified.
Chrysler will probably work on a new V8 family once it finishes work on the new four cylinders and on power boosts to the V6 and Hemi V8. The Hemi itself will continue for the foreseeable future, with a power boost rumored in the next year or three.
Side notes: RVC wrote, “The new Alfa Romeo engine being developed at Pratola Serra is not derived from the WGE at all. It is a new design, starting from the Alfa Romeo 1750, with a redesigned block, cast in aluminum.” Likewise, Maserati representatives said that the 3.0 V6 in the Levante, Ghibli, and Quattroporte is not based on the Pentastar V6, but is a fresh Maserati engine. The block itself appears to have been derived from the Pentastar but with numerous changes.
The Cummins straight-six diesel is still planned for future Rams; power was boosted to 800 lb-ft of torque.
VM powers Chrysler/Jeep in Europe, and now has V6 diesels in Ram 1500 and Grand Cherokee. A Fiat diesel is being tested for US certification in Wrangler. Some believe a VM 2.8 liter four-cylinder diesel will end up in Wranglers in the US (it is already used in Europe), the main question being “when” — before or after the redesign.
Hybrid cars, electric cars
The Ram 1500 hybrid has changed to a limited production plug-in Ram hybrid; a hybrid minivan may still be made. Other cars might use Fiat's start-stop system which shuts off the engine when the car is stopped, once it has been adapted to US customers. Chrysler will be Fiat’s headquarters for electric and hybrid car development, with an electric Fiat 500 first. Some projects are likely to be held until 2016 as the company works on regaining its market share. CNG is available on Ram Hemis for fleet use.