Why Four Cylinders Are Better Than Six

The 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 debuted last month and the update is more than cosmetic. Inside, there’s a revised center console with a larger touchscreen, a fully digital instrument panel, and the use of more refined materials. Keeping all the functionality of this new technology is a higher capacity electric architecture that acts as the brain for the entire vehicle, and even enables OTA updates. There’s also the introduction of the highly anticipated ZR2 trim level for the new Silverado. And, mechanically, there are some updates too. Recently, we touched on an upgrade to the 3.0L LM2 Duramax I6 diesel engine in the 2022 Silverado 1500. Now it’s time to see a major update to the 2.7L L3B turbocharged four-cylinder.

“This is an engine re-release,” said Kevin Luchansky, Assistant Chief Engineer, 2.7L L3B Turbo Engine. MC&T in an interview. “In my opinion, this is a truck engine, it’s all about low end torque, and our low end torque speaks for itself.”

2.7L L3B Turbo Engine Updated In Chevrolet Silverado 2022

“We have basically reintegrated the engine into the vehicle. We installed a new torque converter, a new engine mount, a retuned exhaust system and more front dash acoustics,” said Luchansky. “We want to improve the sound quality of the engine. So that’s how we got a stronger crank and block, and that’s what keeps all the combustion forces under control.”

Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra customers who have experienced the previous L3B version should see the difference right away, according to Luchansky.

“Trucks are quieter, sound much smoother, faster, shift gears faster, traverse like day and night. The whole order of magnitude is smoother. ”

Image via GM.

Why Four Cylinders Are Better Than Six (In This Case)

The 2.7L L3B is about the size of a four-cylinder engine you can get before the balance problems start. If you look around the competitive landscape, there really isn’t a bigger four-cylinder petrol engine. In addition, it is very power intensive. Especially with the 420 lb-ft torque figure; which comes in at 155.5 lb-ft per liter. There is a Mercedes AMG turbo which is more powerful, but requires premium fuel.

“No one in the world does what we do with regular fuel, and it all boils down to an amazing and awesome combustion system,” said Luchansky.

From the start, the power target had to be matched against a small block V8.

“We wanted to make the same power and torque as the old 5.3L and make 115 hp per liter. So if you take 5.3L and divide by 115, the result is 2.7. And then we look at line engines vs V engines versus sixs and fours. And it comes down to time-to-torque. It makes torque really fast, and eats it up.”

The high-capacity four-cylinder engine also means large pistons that can produce more power than smaller six-cylinders of the same capacity, as seen in the Ford 2.7L EcoBoost V6 in the F-150 and Bronco. Luchansky affectionately calls the L3B piston in the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 a “hammer.”

“(Compared from 4 to 6) depending on how much time it takes to turn to torque. Since the L3B has four large cylinders, imagine if they were like a hammer hitting a turbine wheel. Think four big bangs versus six small bangs,” says Luchansky. “The turbo spins a lot faster. We make more torque at 1500 RPM and we do it twice as fast. That’s why it’s a four-cylinder.”

2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country
Image via Chevrolet.

Real World Testing

“Take the new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 2022 and a competitive truck (Ford F-150), put the trailer behind them with equal weight, and stay away from the traffic lights, and you’ll see why,” Luchansky said. “We did it at Davis Dam, and I was blown away. It was a defining moment that our team is still talking about.”

All that said, the maximum tow rating on the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with the 2.7L L3B turbo engine is listed at 9,500 pounds, while the 2021 Ford F-150 with the 2.7L EcoBoost can tow with a maximum of 10,100 pounds. For those looking to pull more, there’s the 2022 Silverado 1500 Duramax, as well as the 6.2L L87 V8 option at the higher end. But Kevin notes that it’s more than just a number on a spec sheet.

“The capability at around 8,000 pounds is incredible… compared to the competitors, it blows you away… the engine is not the limiting factor, I’ll just leave it at that,” he said.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT Duramax V8 Diesel Engine LM2 L87 L84 L83
Image via Chevrolet

2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 L3B 2.7L Turbo Fuel Economy

Luchansky tells us that “fuel economy will be the same (as before)” with the 2.7L turbo, despite the increase in power.

“In my opinion, customers want trucks that are capable, fast and drive really well. That’s what we focus on. But by the way, we have great fuel economy… we spent a lot of time towing with this thing.”

The 2.7L L3B Turbo is also the base engine for the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and possibly 2022 GMC Sierra 1500, replacing the small block-based 4.3L LV3 V6, which is currently being discontinued. The engine produces 280 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque. It is rated for a maximum tow of 7,900 pounds. The 2.7L Turbo comes in at 310 horsepower, and 420 lb-ft, with a maximum towing capacity of over 1,600 pounds. The turbo is better on the EPA fuel economy cycle than the 4.3L V6 too.

“(L3B) has 13 percent better fuel economy than the 4.3L. From an engineering perspective, that’s a huge improvement. But that’s not the message we want to convey. It’s more about you not having to give up anything. ”

Except the number of cylinders, maybe. But four big kids would usually beat up six little ones in the schoolyard. However, fuel economy is not the main factor in buying a full size truck.

“We have the cleanest trucks in the world in terms of emissions and greenhouse gases, but people don’t buy trucks for that. People buy trucks for torque and driving ability.”

The 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 are expected to go on sale in the first quarter of 2022. Pricing has not been announced.

New Silverado 1500
Image via Chevrolet

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