Lutz: GM mulls 4-cylinder engine for new Camaro

NEW YORK — General Motors is considering a four-cylinder engine for the new Chevrolet Camaro as a response to rising fuel prices.

Speaking on the sidelines of the New York auto show, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said the drivetrain under consideration for the Camaro is the same high-performance one used in the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky roadsters. It’s a 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder rated at 260 hp. Lutz said that if fuel prices continue to climb, the four-cylinder Camaro could see production.

GM has said it plans V-8 and V-6 versions of the Camaro but otherwise has been secretive. Lutz confirmed to Automotive News that the V-6 version of the Camaro will be powered by the same high-tech V-6 used in the Cadillac CTS. It’s a direct-injected, 3.6-liter four-cam V-6. In the CTS, the engine is rated at 304 hp.

Low-priced version dropped

In the Camaro, the 3.6 liter’s horsepower should be around 260, Lutz said, Fuel economy, he said, will be around 17 mpg city and 25 highway. That would place the V-6 Camaro among best in class for a performance car.

Lutz said GM has dropped plans to offer a low-priced, entry-level Camaro with one of GM’s low-tech V-6s. GM will position both the V-6 and V-8 versions of the Camaro as premium cars compared to the Camaro’s chief rival, the Ford Mustang.

The base model Mustang uses a 4.0-liter overhead-cam V-6 rated at 210 hp. The base model Dodge Challenger, due in the fall, will use a 250-hp, 3.5-liter V-6.

Most enthusiast attention has focused on the Camaro’s V-8 engine, which is likely to be a 6.0-liter with about 400 hp. Lutz said the V-8 will have a cylinder cutoff system that shuts down half the engine when the car reaches cruising speed. That will help it get better fuel economy.

But Lutz said he thinks most buyers will opt for the V-6 because the performance will be strong, especially when the engine is combined with a manual transmission.

“Back in the old days, if you wanted a muscle car, to get a decent one, you had to buy the V-8,” Lutz said. “And if you bought the V-6, you got a fairly rough, unrefined pushrod engine with low horsepower and weasely performance.

“This time, the V-6 is 260-odd horsepower, four overhead cams, very smooth and decent 0-to-60-mph times. And now the V-6 is in its own right a very fast, very legitimate car.”

We are going to be above Mustang”

Lutz said that with the V-6, the Camaro achieves a nearly perfect 50-50 weight distribution: “With the V-6, it is not a heavy car. The Camaro will be a very lively and engaging car,” he said.

Lutz would not talk specifically about the Camaro’s pricing. The car is scheduled to go on sale next February as a 2009 model, but Lutz did say GM views the Camaro as better equipped than the Mustang, and the price will be higher.

The Mustang V-6 coupe has a base price of $20,235. The V-8 GT coupe begins at $26,825. Both prices include shipping.

“We are going to be above Mustang,” Lutz said. “We have a very sophisticated suspension system and, frankly, a much nicer interior. We are not going to try and match the Mustang on price. We are going to be premium-priced compared to the Mustang.”

Editor’s Desk – World Magazine Vol. 16

New Chevy Malibu Welcome to all of the many new members that have joined since the last issue of the WORLD.

I am happy to inform you that Technical Sections Volume I is now available which contains a complete copy of all the Technical Sections, topics, questions and answers published in the World. It is available on CD-Rom only for PC or Mac in pdf format and contains reprints of the Worlds published from 1998 to 2007. It is indexed by subject for easy reference and contains articles, topics, questions and answers and is available in the Club Store section of each World and on the website at www.chevyclub.com. Another new item in the store is a complete copy of the past ten years of the World available on CD only for PC or Mac.

Finally the club has a new and much improved message board. This is something that many of our members have wanted for a long time. Be sure to check it out. You can access through the club website at www.chevyclub.com or directly at http://board.chevyclub.com .

We have a members only section of the message board. You can use the user id and password on page 3 of each World or you can get a personal id and password. To do so, register and then logon to the message board and send a message to us. This allows you to access the MEMBER ONLY QUESTION & ANSWER and UPKEEP & PERFORMANCE HINTS area.  It also allows you to post items in the FOR SALE and WANTED sections as well as post photos in the MEMBER PHOTOS area. Also there is a now a Local Groups/Activities section.

The club also now has a blog located at blog.chevyclub.com. Members can publish items to the Blog.

The Chevy Club has a new photo gallery located at photos.chevyclub.com. The same login is used for the gallery as the Message Board. Members can download photos to the gallery.

You can now find us on the popular networking sites www.myspace.com , www.facebook.com , www.friendster.com and www.yuwie.com in the groups/clubs section.

We now offer a 3 year membership or renewal rate which includes a free t-shirt. The rate is $65 or $95 for members outside the USA. And in response to many members we now have a 3 year eMembership for $35 which also includes a free t-shirt or tech sections CD. So save some money and get a free t-shirt or tech CD in the process!

We have improved our web site to include on-line payment of membership dues on our secured site. You can also print out a renewal form to send by mail or FAX. So you now have another way of renewing your membership. Take a look at our web site to see up to date info on our Meets. Our web site address is easy to get to. It is simply chevyclub.com .

We also have a members only section where only members can access with the User ID and Password found on page 3 of this issue. Members now have access to the newsletter and other items.

We also send members the eWorld so send us your email address. Do not worry if you do not have an email address as you will get all of the information sent in the eWorld in the regular World but it may be in a different format and at later date because of printing and mailing considerations. Please let us know what you think of this and what type of info you would like to see included. Also be sure to update your email address when and if it changes.

We are in need of additional people for our technical staff. If you think you would like to help your fellow members in this way, please contact us. The position could also benefit you as the technical staff people can advertise their business free in the newsletter as well as by letter and phone. Help your fellow members while you publicize your expertise. Contact us if you are interested.

If you have parts to sell or exchange be sure to send us your legible list so that it can be distributed to members. We also offer free classified ads to members that appear world wide on the Internet.

Thanks for your support and enjoy driving your Chevy!!