When Chrysler first announced the Pentastar V-6, the big-picture plan was for the single engine architecture to replace the various and random V-6s within the company's lineup. For the most part, the transformation is complete. But there was one glaring holdout; the base engine in the Ram 1500 truck. The Pentastar's victory and domination will be complete come 2013, as the company inadvertently leaked the truck would be getting the V-6 paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission as its base power train in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Nearly all of Chrysler’s lineup is already available with the 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar engine, which is significantly more fuel efficient than the company’s older V-6 designs. The Ram 1500 is currently offered with a 3.7-liter V-6 engine 215 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque; the Pentastar’s output will probably be between 270 and 290 hp.
The 2013 Ram also will also score Chrysler’s ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission, which already is available in the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 and is coming soon to the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango. The company’s SEC filing says the new transmission will help increase overall fuel efficiency by up to 12 percent. Currently, the Ram 1500′s V-6 is mated to a four-speed automatic. Present EPA ratings for that powertrain combination are just 14/20 mpg (city/highway).
Chrysler’s filing goes on to say that the new transmission will eventually be used in all of its rear-wheel-drive vehicles s except for its heavy-duty trucks.
More Future Product Plans
The SEC filing also revealed that Chrysler Group is adapting Fiat’s dual-clutch transmission technology for use in the U.S.; that may make its debut in the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger at some point in the near future. Chrysler says the Fiat-sourced transmissions, called DDCT, will improve fuel economy compared to regular automatics.
The filing also confirms that an all-electric version of the Fiat 500 is under development and slated to be ready by year end. The model is said to return a driving range of 100 miles per charge. It will be built in North America, with production to start later in 2012.
As previously confirmed, Chrysler will begin using a ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic transmission for front-wheel-drive cars. The transmission will be used in C- and D-segment vehicles starting from 2013. Like the eight-speed automatic, Chrysler will license the rights from ZF to build the nine-speed transmission in Kokomo, Indiana. The new transmission will reportedly be 11 percent more fuel efficient than the company’s existing six-speed units.
Finally, Chrysler’s SEC filing revealed that the company will launch engine stop-start technology in the U.S. soon. The European-market Jeep Wrangler diesel already has such a system; by 2017, Chrysler says 90 percent of its U.S.-market vehicles will be equipped with engine stop-start.
We expect to see the updated 2013 Ram at the upcoming 2012 New York auto show.
Source: Chrysler SEC Filing (PDF)