GM Lifts The Veil On New 420 Horsepower Twin-Turbo 3.6L V6

The LF3 makes an SAE-certified 420 horsepower and an even more impressive 430 pound feet of torque. It is officially the most powerful V6 engine GM has ever mass produced.

Back when GM finally released the new LT1 Gen V V8, we spotted a mysterious twin-turbo V6 engine in one of the test videos. There was the expected wild speculation as to what the new mill might be, but today we finally found out for sure, and GM sure didn’t let us down.

Meet the new “LF3” V6 – the most powerful V6 engine ever built by General Motors. The 3.6L twin-turbo V6 produces an SAE-certified 420 horsepower and 430 pound feet of torque. Best of all, GM says that 90% of the LF3’s very impressive torque is available as low as 2,500 RPM. We don’t get any details on the “smaller” turbochargers, but we are told that they produce 12 pounds of lag-less boost even with the LF3’s relatively high compression ratio of 10.2:1.

The LF3 will initially be offered in the new 2014 Cadillac CTS, but you can bet that it will eventually find it's way into other models.

The twin-turbo LF3 is based on the current naturally aspirated 3.6L V6 found in the Camaro and CTS, and will also feature direct injection, variable valve timing, and dual over-head cams. Of course, the engine block is a bit different and is fitted with oil and coolant ports for the turbos. The cylinder heads are an all-new design that have what GM is calling “high-tumble” intake ports that improve the motion of the intake charge for more powerful and efficient combustion. To cool the boost down before it enters the single throttle body, the LF3 makes use of an intercooler set up that is very similar to the one currently being used on the LSA.  

The LF3 features an intercooler set up very similar to the one used on the LSA, and has an all new 8-speed automatic transmission to transfer the power to the rear wheels.

The LF3 will be powering the all-new 2014 Cadillac CTS, and will be mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission that can “skip” gears for added efficiency (You didn’t think they forgot about gas mileage, did you?). The new CTS will also be available with a naturally aspirated version of the LF3 that makes 321 horsepower, and a 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder that makes 272 horsepower. We can’t help but wonder if the LF3 will be the engine for the newest CTS-V, while the other two engines will service the “base” models.    

We’ve got to really hand it to GM on the LF3, as it seems to have a ton of potential based on these preliminary facts. As much as we love thumping V8s, V6s like this can be a whole lot of fun. We’re already having dreams of what one of these things could do with a pair of huge snails hanging off the side and the boost cranked up. How about you?

Get all the details on the new LF3 3.6L Twin-Turbo V6 in GM’s press release here.      

About the author

Clifton Klaverweiden

Clifton has been a car fanatic since his late teens, when he started the restoration of his '67 Camaro. He considers himself a student of automotive science and technology, and particularly loves all things LSX. And, although he has an appreciation for everything, from imports to exotics, his true passion will always be for GM musclecars.
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