By on March 20, 2014

GM Ecotec New Trinity

General Motors has unveiled a new generation of their Ecotec engine family, whose 11 three- and four-pot powerplants will find a home under the bonnets of 27 models by 2017.

Automotive News reports the new clean-sheet engines range from a turbocharged 1-liter I3, to a 1.5-liter turbo-four, feature modular design for efficient assembly, consist of aluminium heads and blocks, and include VVT, dual overhead cams with four valves per cylinder, and water-cooled exhaust manifolds among other offerings. Power in the family ranges from 75 horses/70 lb-ft of torque, to 165 horsepower and 184 lb-ft.

The first of the new engines, the aforementioned I3, is already under production, and will debut under the hood of the Opel Adam later this spring, while the 2015 Cruze will come with a turbocharged 1.4-liter and a naturally aspirated 1.5-liter for the Chinese market. No word on when the Ecotec engines will debut in North America, however, let alone which vehicles will receive them.

GM expects annual volume to reach 2.5 million units by 2017 once all five factories responsible for their production are in full swing. The factories are located in Michigan, Mexico, China, Hungary and South Korea.

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24 Comments on “GM Unveils New, Clean-Sheet Ecotec Family...”

  • avatar

    São Carlos plant in Brazil, too. If not then I’ll lose hope as to GM in Brazil. They have a very competitive line now, all they need is better, really modern engines to become the best options in various segments in this country.

  • avatar

    I really like the “big” NA ecotecs. They have served me well over the years. Hopefully GM works on keeping them modern as well, in addition to the smaller turbo mills.

  • avatar

    Boy, did GM ever miss an opportunity to tell a bunch of gear-heads (like us) all about the cool new improvements in the Ecotechs. Seriously, you guys know we would have eaten it up had they reported on the interesting efficient new technology that went into the new, say, fuel pump impeller. Or some random technology sh*t like that.

    I tell ya, GM’s PR folks really missed an opportunity to make an impression. On us. The gear-heads.

    You guys had my attention, and you wasted it!

  • avatar

    I’m curious why the 1.0 makes so little power. Even if in the name of efficiency that’s 55 less than Fords 1.0 ecoboost. Makes me think of the old AMC Gremlin ad making fun of VWs low HP.

    • 0 avatar

      One of the 1.0L’s will be non-turbo.

      • 0 avatar

        Is GM launching a lawnmower line?

        • 0 avatar

          The presumption is that it’s for the Volt, which does not need an ICE with power as much as it needs one with efficiency and light weight.

          However, I’ve seen no mention of a faux Atkinson cycle for improved efficiency in the Volt, which is disappointing.

          • 0 avatar
            sunridge place

            yeah…lets develop a unique engine for a segment that might move 30k units a year if they are lucky. lets go crazy and dream it doubles to 60k units a year.

            You gripe about the price of the Volt all the time….lets do something to make it cost even more. Brilliant thinking.

          • 0 avatar

            I also whine about the mediocre CS mode fuel economy, which probably hurts sales as much as the price. Why buy it if it’s not “as good” as a Prius? A more efficient ICE would help.

            Nor does it seem to be all that expensive to do. There’s some description of what Toyota did here:


            and they can get it into a sub-$20K car. Looks like Mazda did something similar with the Mazda 2 in the JDM. I don’t think it’s a given that this would have much impact on the Volt’s MSRP.

  • avatar

    Hopefully the water pump is external, the oil filter looks easy to get to also. To me they look like the Toyota 1.5 & 2.4s.

    • 0 avatar

      Not that it’s relevant to these, but I have a European GM engine (although it’s really designed by Fiat), and the oil filter literally could not be easier to get to.

      Front of the engine, with absolutely nothing in the way.

  • avatar

    “water-cooled exhaust manifolds”

    what is the advantage of that? I imagine to extract more heat from exhaust to heat up the engine faster? But wouldn’t that in turn slow down the catalytic converter to get to operating temperature? But maybe the engine will make up for that by being warmer faster and in the end the catalytic converter is ready at the same time?

    Maybe I’m just not knowledgeable enough, but it would be good every time a fancy feature is mentioned it could be mentioned why it is good. At least for uncommon and less obvious advantages.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      Standard fare on marine inboard and sterndrive engines. Wonder what the advantage is an automotive application? For sure it will make the engine quieter.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      I would assume that this is due to the exhaust manifold being cast as a part of the head, and the turbocharger housing being integral with the manifold.

    • 0 avatar

      I did some googling on the subject. It sounds like exhaust gas temp can be a limiting factor for some of these new high power small displacement engine designs. The exhaust is so hot that they are running into materials issues and making nasty emissions byproducts. The easiest way to combat this has been to over fuel the engine (the over rich mix burns cooler). With the advent of water cooled exhaust manifolds they can avoid the inefficiency associated with over fueling.

  • avatar

    “while the 2015 Cruze will come with a turbocharged 1.4-liter and a naturally aspirated 1.5-liter for the Chinese market.”

    No chance of North America getting a decent naturally-aspirated engine in the Cruze, right?

  • avatar

    1.5 n/a Cruze sounds like heaps of fun

    effortless hwy passing

    i dont see much wrong with the current 1.4-1.6 turbo Cruze motors

    they are port injection but the top line motor runs on crappy gasoline yet does 175hp and 170lb/ft or so

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    I suspect we’ll see one of the smaller engines show up in the 2nd Gen Voltec.

  • avatar

    Looks like the plan is to meet future CAFE regs with smaller, lighter vehicles powered by small, low-power engines. They will ace the EPA numbers while delivering terrible mpg’s in real life. Note the current 2.4 EcoTec I4 rated at 32mpg in ~ 3500 lb Terrains. Will the 1.5 turbo improve on that?

  • avatar

    I was also wondering about water cooled exhaust manifolds. Interesting idea. I guess there’ll be another reason for white smoke out the tailpipe now.

  • avatar

    Now if GM could just make sure I can get a 6.2 engine in a base 1500 without having to spend $55,000 for accessories I neither want nor need, I’d be happy.

  • avatar

    Other than the Ecotec label, these engines have little in common with the current crop. First, the head flow is reversed, with the exhaust valves to the front and the intakes to the rear. This puts the turbo closer to the intercooler. The water (coolant) pump is external, belt driven, and on the opposite side of the current layout, which improves its accessibility. The oil filter is no longer a casette type but a conventional can type. The alternator is moved from the current high forward position in the engine bay to low and behind, a poor location for service.

    I see three cylinder turbo, and four cylinder NA and turbo engines in the picture above.

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