Some time ago, we were told that a small number of unfinished Pentastar blocks had been sent out to Europe. We assumed then that they were to be used by Maserati, but additional information, including being able to examine the new Maserati V6, voids that assumption.
Based on the information we have now, the blocks are for the upcoming 3.0 liter Pentastar V6, which Allpar first discussed years ago. The 2.997 liter V6 was designed to avoid higher European displacement-based taxes (2.997 is under 3 liters), and is likely to be used in European versions of Chrysler/Lancia cars and to be an option for Alfa Romeos.
While it would likely be cheaper to engineer and finish them in the United States, American engineers have been running full tilt on other projects, and production facilities are equally booked; indeed, the twin Pentastar engine plants have been running on overtime and the refitting of Trenton North to also built the V6 will likely be needed just to fill the demand for Ram engines, especially if fuel prices rise and the V6 option becomes more popular (the Hemi is currently the overwhelming favorite of Ram buyers.)
Instead, the 3.0 is being finished and assembled in Europe, according to our sources, using Fiat’s generous excess capacity. The move puts European Fiat employees back to work, uses existing facilities that would otherwise lay fallow, and finishes the engines in the general region where they are needed anyway — if the rumors and our connecting of dots are accurate.
This would also explain the recent suggestion that MultiAir 2 is being adapted to the Pentastar V6. We were aware that this was being done in the lab, to see if there were significant contributions beyond the highly efficient, cost-effective dual cam phasing system created by Chrysler; while it might not pay in the United States, where fuel is relatively inexpensive and larger displacement is a good solution for adding power, it would be a far more favorable tradeoff in Europe, where larger displacements mean higher taxes, and where fuel is far pricier. The 5%-10% gains in efficiency would be worth the extra money for what will be a premium engine.
For the same reasons, we expect to see direct injection introduced on the 3.0 liter V6 first. The original plans for the engine called for a 3-liter direct-injection version.