GM Mulls Turbo-4 for Camaro

Samir Syed
by Samir Syed
gm mulls turbo 4 for camaro

Autoweek 's Richard Truett reports that General Motors, feeling squeezed by ever-tightening fuel economy standards and ever-rising gas prices, is considering offering a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine for the base trim of its upcoming 2010 (for this week, anyway) Camaro. Speaking at the NY Autoshow, GM Vice-Chairman and daily TTAC newsblog fodderman Bob Lutz said he feels that the RWD drivetrains available from the Solstice GXP and Sky Red Line would make an excellent fit in a Camaro. Of course, the last time GM tried the i4/Camaro recipe, we ended up with the "Iron Duke" in slower-than-molasses 1982 Camaro. It's not so much the number of cylinders or the power output that bothers me – indeed, a 260 HP Ecotec is more powerful than some V8's of yore – but the turbocharging. To me, American muscle means a big, lazy, rumbling naturally-aspirated torque bomber with even power and torque-curves. I don't think I could ever get used to a Camaro with the exhaust note of a Cobalt SS.

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  • on Mar 20, 2008

    Maybe my antipathy (or worse) towards the idea of a turbo 4 in a Camaro is because I see it as more of a niche car than a sales leader, and a big part of the cars "retroness" is the type and sound of the engine. Mustangs, the pony car sales leader for as long as there have been pony cars (ergo the name), went astray for a while, but for the most part, Mustangs sound like a Mustang. In a review of the Bullitt Mustang posted on this website last week, the reviewer pointed out the great sounding engine to much derision. While an engine sound may not sell a car, it is a part of that car's persona, particularly this type of car, and the wrong engine and engine sound could very well cost a sale. I'm all for a turbo four in a Cobalt for instance. I'm all for 4 and 6 cylinder engines, turbo or naturally aspirated, for daily drivers. I just think that a "muscle" car like a Camaro should have some muscle. So, it's not really a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" criticism of GM. It's a case of recognizing your market and catering to it. I might be wrong, but I think that the Camaro is appealing to people, mainly men, over the age of 35. It seems tome that if Camaro wants a bite of the Mustang pie they'll need to have a car, like the Mustang, that has that throaty V8 rumble or at least something close. Even the base V6 Mustang is going to sound more like a muscle car than a whiny turbo4. Finally, I do not have a bias against turbo charged or small displacement engines. I owned an Rx7, liked and nearly bought an Rx8, like the Mazdaspeed3, like the Honda S2000, and think the Ariel Atom is absolutely awesome, much more so than say a Veyron or other car with a large displacement engine. I saw a video on Jay Leno's Garage of a Honda S600 and absolutely loved the look and sound of that car. Of the lot, I think the turbocharged 2.4L Ecotec in the Atom is the largest.

  • Whatdoiknow1 Whatdoiknow1 on Mar 20, 2008
    geeber : March 20th, 2008 at 2:44 pm shatdoiknow1: My generation did not turn to little Japanese cars just for the quality, it was also the ease of and lower cost of ownership that also helped. You also ended up with a “real” car. Yeap I talking about a car with very good performance yet was still capable of being used like a APPLIANCE when need be. All of those Japanese “real” cars - Prelude (and I owned a 2001 model), Supra, Celica, 240SX - are long gone, and show no sign of returning. Meanwhile, the “outdated” Mustang soldiers on, and the Camaro will be back soon. It appears as though the one-trick ponies have more than a few kicks left. Ok, Geeber let be honest here and break it down. Toyota has no sports models, from a company that used to sell a Supra, Celica, MR2, an Corolla SR5 GT all at one time to zero sports cars is amazing, yet they keep growing and growing in the USA. I think that says more about us in the USA than Toyota. As the the rest; The Prelude was actually replaced by the RSX (since replaced by Civic Si)and the S2000. The Mazda RX7 is gone but it was replaced by the RX8 and the Miata is still going stong. The Nissan 300xz died but was born again as the 350z and the 300zx 2+2 does live on in the G37. The Mitsu Diamondstars are gone but Mitsu came to the plate with the EVO. Like it or not the thing they call an Eclipse is still with us. We can't forget Subaru with its WRX and STi in addition to a Legacy GT. To be even fairer Lexus does have the IS350 and IS-F. Nissan has the killer GT-R coming in a few months. There are also such cars like an Accord coupe that when equiped with a stick can be considered to play the role of the prelude. Lets also add in the Mazdaspeed3, recently departed Speed6 into the mix, not to mention the Sentra SE-R. I think most of the Japanese performance cars grow two more doors to remain relevent in a changing world, neat trick err. Remember the majority were based off of simple FWD platforms to begin with. Since we are talking about "Muscle power" why not add in all of those FWD v6 powered sedans that can all pull 0 to 60 in about 6 seconds flat!

  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Mar 21, 2008

    BuckD: the SVO and T-bird Turbo were fun cars, but the Camaro will be much, much bigger and heavier. Odds are the Iron Duke references are fitting. But the 'duke didn't need premium fuel to be efficient, and cars from the 1980s were much lighter than today's counterparts.

  • Kericf Kericf on Mar 24, 2008

    The problem with a turbo-I6 is that it would eat into the more expensive=more profit V8 and I'm guessing Supercharged-V8 buyers.