With all the attention on the future of electric vehicles, less attention is given what the companies plan to offer in the meantime during the great transition of the next two decades. Some automakers have lineups that can easily adapt to change, relatively speaking. But others, like Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge, have aging internal combustion engine lineups that need updates yesterday and can’t wait for the EV overhaul. That’s why Stellantis invested money in a the all-new 3.0-liter twin-turbo straight-six engine family it calls the Hurricane.
Stellantis has committed to manufacturing half of its vehicles battery-electric by 2030, but in 2019 the company also quickly realized that it would need workarounds for the remaining 50% of its portfolio, and its current ICE technology would not be enough. So a small team of engineers in Auburn Hills, Michigan went to work that year on an all-new clean sheet engine, and Hurricane is the impressive result.
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The Hurricane will be a family of new, twin-turbo 3.0-liter I-6 engines, with standard-output (“SO”) and high-output (“HO”) versions ready for production. In fact, the first production engine rolled off the line in November 2021—something a leaked document gave us a glimpse of that era, although at the time we thought it might be called the “Tornado” (a name that could still possibly be used).
The standard-output Hurricane, Stellantis promises, will deliver “over 400 horsepower and over 450 lb-ft of torque,” at a maximum of 5,800 rpm. The high-output variant will deliver “over 500 horsepower and over 475 lb-ft of torque” up to 6,100 rpm in their initial configurations. Those are Hemi horsepower numbers, so fans of the current V-8 can start to sweat. Especially considering the availability of offering hybrid variants, which are planned, even though the engine won’t launch with a hybrid setup. Engineers say the new motors maintain at least 90 percent of peak torque from 2,350 rpm to redline.
“As Stellantis aims to become America’s leader in electrification, with a 50% battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales mix by 2030, internal combustion engines will play a key role in our portfolio for years to come and we owe it to our customers and the environment to deliver the cleanest, most efficient propulsion possible,” said Micky Bly, Stellantis Propulsion Systems Manager. compromise that offers better fuel economy and a significant reduction in greenhouse gases without asking our customers to give up performance.”
Stellantis has designed the Hurricane engine family to meet all current North American emissions requirements, and has further future proofed the line with provisions for more stringent standards in the future. For example, the company’s engineers say there is room for a particulate filter, but it won’t be fitted unless it’s needed.
North America will be the main market for the engine, with some exports to other global markets in specific model lines. Stellantis claims the SO emits 15% less CO2 than larger displacement engines in the company’s portfolio, and the HO produces 13% less. The new engines are expected to help the company’s brands stay on schedule for their Carbon Net Zero initiative by 2038.
If the name Hurricane in this context sounds familiar, the engineers admit they were more than a little inspired by the older Willys “Hurricane” I-4 engine that was put to use in the CJ-3, -5 and -6, claiming that its specific output of 30 hp per liter was “a game-changer” at the time. That said, 30 HP per liter can’t put a candle to the new Hurricane’s 133+ HP per liter—and that’s just the SO version.
The new Hurricane is all-new but beyond the name, however, with Stellantis engineers using state-of-the-art technology to achieve the engine’s ridiculous horsepower-per-litre figures in such a tight package. The block is cast from lightweight aluminum, but Plasma Transfer Wire Arc (PTWA) technology has been used to spray a vaporized steel alloy onto each cylinder wall, which we’ve seen relatively exotic production engines like Ford’s dearly defunct Voodoo V-8.
The result is a strong coating with a near perfect metal-to-metal bond, with 10 times the wear resistance of traditional coatings that is also 50% thinner. Stellantis claims it also saves 3 pounds per engine block compared to a traditional iron liner. Bly says the new spray coating still had a “mirror finish” after durability testing, unlike anything he had seen before.
Hurricane engine details
The Hurricane is a DOHC design, with direct injection and individual cooling systems for the turbos, separate from the engine cooling circuit. There is a structural oil pan with a pump that can circulate oil in extreme driving conditions. As a unit, the SO weighs 430 pounds and the HO weighs 441 pounds, both fully dressed, lighter than the company’s 5.7-liter Hemi V-8.
Another key efficiency of the new Hurricane engine family, beyond its packaging, is the number of components shared between the standard and high-output variants, which share 96 common parts. However, the turbochargers are unique to each variant. The SO reaches a maximum increase of 22 PSI and the HO of 26 PSI.
The new engine is already ready for production, with test units already passing through the Saltillo North engine plant in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, Mexico, where the spray technology is implemented. The plant has the capacity to produce up to approximately 250,000 new Hurricane engines per year, with full production commencing in the coming months.
The HO variant will require premium gas, and the SO variant will run normally, but offer more power on premium fuel, which is recommended.
What vehicles will the hurricane propel?
No specific vehicles were announced during a Stellantis presentation of the new engines, with individual brand announcements to be made on vehicles equipped with the new Hurricane engine coming soon. We know that the company’s new STLA Large and STLA Frame vehicle platforms, which will be installed under future D-segment vehicles and pickup trucks respectively, are confirmed to use the Hurricane engine family. That probably means Ram trucks and Dodge and Jeep SUVs, so we’ll see. SUVs and crossovers are the hot stuff these days, and surely an important (and profitable) part of Stellantis’ future product lineup, so it’s no surprise that this all-new line of engines should find its way into those products.