Automotive & Performance Blog

Chevy Announces LFX V6 engine.


News is a few months old, but I figured I’d post it up here. Only two years after releasing one of the most potent engines in the 3.6L LLT V6, GM and Chevrolet announced that the 2012 model year will receive a new engine. Here’s the nitty gritty of it:

The new engine option description is: “LFX 3.6L SIDI, DOHC, VVT, E85 MAX, Alum GM

The LFX should displace 3.6L, like the current V6 found in the Camaro. And it’s packed to the brim with advanced technologies like Spark-Ignition Direct-Injection, Dual Overhead Cams, Variable Valve Timing, and E85 capability!!

Those are the hard details…but a little research raises some other interesting points. It is likely that the LFX is going to build on the innovations of the 3.0L LF1 V6 found in vehicles like the Cadillac CTS, SRX, and Chevy Equinox. That engine features a composite intake manifold, integrated exhaust manifolds and optimized NVH/airflow treatments.

When the LLT was transplanted from the CTS into the Camaro, it picked up 8hp, or 2.6% because of different intake/exhaust efficiencies. The LF1 produces 270hp in 3.0L form in the CTS. If we scale up the displacement of the 3.0L engine to 3.6L, and use the same 2.6% power increase as the LLT, estimates have the new LFX producing anywhere from 325-330 hp when used in the Chevy Camaro.

The new LFX cylinder heads

A comparison between the LLT & LFX heads.

Here’s an excerpt from the latest press release on the new engine:

PONTIAC, Mich. – In auto production, more power, better fuel economy and fewer emissions rarely appear together. But the 2012 Camaro 3.6L direct injection V6 engine achieves all three by combining the exhaust manifold with the cylinder head into a single aluminum casting.

Each integrated exhaust manifold cylinder head – a V6 has two — replaces a cast iron exhaust manifold, six bolts, a gasket and a heat shield and three bolts. By eliminating this joint, the potential for a gasket failure is eliminated. And the change reduces engine weight by 13 lbs. or 6 kg per engine. Reducing mass helps improve fuel economy and the 2012 Camaro 2LS model is EPA estimated at 30 mpg highway.

“Reducing engine mass of this magnitude doesn’t happen often,” said Ameer Haider, GM assistant chief engineer for V6 engines. “Engineering usually looks for reduction in terms of grams not pounds. It’s just like removing a set of golf clubs from your car when you don’t need them – ultimately it saves fuel. When combined with other mass reductions, the customer will see better fuel economy over time with better performance.”

Extensive simulation and bench testing was performed to perfect cylinder-head airflow. Intake airflow is improved 7 percent with the use of larger intake valves (38.3 mm v. 36.9 mm), which are primarily responsible for an increase of 11 horsepower. Exhaust flow is 10 percent better than the previous V6. 

Lower emissions, narrower engine size and noise reduction round out the list of benefits for the new head design. With the catalytic converter closer to the engine exhaust point, the emissions reduction process begins sooner, resulting in lower emissions. The new cylinder heads decrease the overall width of the engine by 4.6 inches (117 mm) for significantly more packaging space in the engine bay making under hood work easier. Due to less surface area, the new design contributes to a 1 decibel reduction in engine noise at idle.

“The new, patented design benefits the customer in all the key areas without any trade offs, said Haider. “Emissions, performance, fuel economy, and noise all improve with the integrated exhaust manifold.”

The new engine is essentially just head redesign, so theoretically the new heads should be compatable with the LLT and in turn a nice performance mod for those with the LLT trying to get a little more out of it.

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One response

  1. Pingback: Cadillac unveils new car with intriguing power plant… « rpmperformanceblog

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