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Holden's new V8 previewed

2011 Holden Commodore SSV sedan.

General Motors says the V8 won over heavy support for a bi-turbo V6. But Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter told Automotive News that the V8  “could deliver better power with improved fuel economy by improving the iconic small block V8 with new technologies that allow it to run more efficiently”.

He says that swapping the small-block V8 for a V6 “probably would have been a tough sell to the Corvette's rabid fans”. “When you talk to Corvette customers, the most important part of the car for them is the engine,” Juechter says.

“They want their Corvette to have a V8.” This is the fifth generation of the small block that was introduced in 1955 on the first Corvette. The new engine - which will dribble down the GM range including models for Holden - will feature several firsts for Corvette including direct fuel injection, continuously variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation to shut down four of the eight cylinders when idling or coasting.

GM engineers say the new engine will deliver better power and responsiveness when it is running at lower speeds. The torque on the standard 2014 Corvette at less than 4000rpm will be comparable to the current Corvette Z06, which has a higher-displacement 7-litre engine.

The overhead valve engine, which GM has named LT1, was under development for five years. It replaces the fourth-generation small block, which has been produced since 2005, and will be made at GM's engine facility in Tonawanda, New York State.

GM admits that the LT1 is 210kg - about 14kg heavier than the outgoing engine - but says the new efficiency technologies more than offset the fuel economy penalty. Versions of the new engine will be used in GM's next generation of pickups and SUVs, including the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, to be launched mid next year. Holden says it will not comment on if or when the engine will arrive in Australia.