For the last five years, the Detroit 3 truck manufacturers have engaged in a continuous battle for supremacy in the heavy-duty pickup space. In that time, while Ford, GM and Ram rigs have undergone numerous changes, inside and out, engine performance is where the battle gets serious.
Yes, horsepower and torque—especially for diesel-powered F-250/F-350, and 2500 and 3500 rigs—are the criteria that really matter to truck buyers and enthusiasts. Since diesel’s unofficial OEM “Power War” began in 2015, we’ve seen torque values climb to beyond 1,000 lb-ft for Ford (1,050) Power Stroke and Cummins (1,075) oil burners. But, horsepower gains have remained below 500 hp for the duration of the battle. That may change very soon.
GM’s contribution to the diesel-engine scrum has been minimal, since the debut of it’s 6.6L Duramax L5P V-8 in 2017. In that time, the engine has had a mid-pack existence of sorts, making 445 horsepower (910 lb-ft of torque). They’re impressive numbers; slightly above the 6.7-liter Cummins I-6’s 420 horsepower, but much lower than the 475 ponies Ford’s 6.7-liter V-8 puts out.
If rumored plans for GM’s next-generation 6.6-liter D-Max come to fruition, the 500-horsepower barrier might finally be shattered. That’s right, we have it on good authority that a 505 horsepower/1,087 lb-ft V-8 diesel engine will be available for 2023 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500/3500 heavy-duty rigs.
Of course, if it does happen, the improved engine immediately catapults GM’s heavy-duty to head of the class for power and torque, and that probably will do the same for its position in the all-critical towing war, as well. Which, at 37,000 pounds (max) for Ford’s 2021 F-450, is on a steady pace to reach 40,000 pounds.
It’s critical to note that we are only reporting unsubstantiated rumor at this time. In the big picture, it’s a report that’s almost like fantasy, as 500 horsepower from a Ford, Duramax, or Cummins diesel has been an unreached performance plateau for many years. It will be interesting, and cool, to see it happen and reignite the “Power War” among the major U.S. truck manufacturers.
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