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Inside the Tornado

by David Zatz on

Speculation.  The new FCA in-line six-cylinder — reportedly dubbed “Tornado” — will have to fit into some tight spaces. Because of that, we don’t expect the block to be a “four-cylinder with two more holes tacked on.”

Sources expect a displacement of just under 3.0 liters (versus the Hurricane Four’s just-under-2.0 liters). To reduce the length, the bore size will be limited and the space between cylinders kept tight; a variation of old Lancia or Volkswagen tricks may be used.  To save that extra tiny little bit, Chrysler’s traditional steel cylinder liners could be replaced by the aluminum-hardening processes used by some other companies.

We believe that the company will try to keep the new engine within a two or three inches of the length of the current 2.4 liter four and the current Pentastar. It will be a challenge, but past engineers have been quite innovative at shrinking in-line engines.

space-saving design, patented years ago, might help fit the new powerplant under low hoods.

Forced induction would likely be through twin scroll turbochargers for the Chrysler versions, and perhaps dual turbochargers for Alfa Romeo and Maserati, if they share it. The Italian versions would most likely have Ferrari-designed heads and different characteristics.

The Tornado is rumored to be mainly a 5.7 Hemi (“Eagle”) replacement, but could replace today’s V6 too. Straight sixes are inherently smoother than V6s, and have a bit of snob appeal, given their use by BMW (mainly) and by Mercedes. They may also please Jeep traditionalists who miss the old 4.0.

As for the Hemi, the rumor mill claims an update is in the works — something taking lessons from the Hellcat and other past work — but it’s going to be meant less as a mass-market engine and more as a niche… as far as we know.

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