Sporty rear-drive Mazdas to follow, it seems.
Is the Slant Six coming back? New FCA patent drawing reveals tech tidbits
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has long been rumored to be developing a new turbocharged inline six-cylinder gasoline engine, the GME-T6, related to the GME-T4 turbo four that first appeared in the 2016 Alfa Romeo Guilia and is now fitted to a variety of Alfa and Jeep models. Now, in a U.S. patent granted to FCA this past April, there is visual evidence of the new straight-six. The patent, number 10,247,142, is for a new exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system for turbocharged engines and the drawings clearly show an inline engine with six piston bores.
The inline-six engine layout has had a revival lately. Unlike an inline four-cylinder engine, the inline-six is inherently balanced, so they run very smoothly. Also, an inline-six is typically simpler to build than a V-6 or V-8, with fewer parts, as it has just one cylinder head and, in the case of overhead-cam engines, fewer camshafts.
While the forced-induction GME-T6 is thought to be augmented by FCA’s upcoming “eBooster” technology, which looks to be an electrically driven supercharger, no such device appears in the drawings, which do show two conventional exhaust-driven turbochargers, each powered by the exhaust from three cylinders.
Chrysler has a long history with inline sixes. Chrysler’s own Slant Six, in 170- and 225-cubic-inch displacements, has a storied history of reliability and durability, and the Auburn Hills automaker’s update to the American Motors inline-six has kept the original Jeep Cherokee on the road long past its shelf life. Hopefully, this new six will take up the mantle and provide smooth power for future Jeeps and perhaps offer a Hyper Pak option in a sporty car to relive the Slant Six’s glory days of NASCAR racing.