2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8Enlarge Photo
With Chrysler reporting its first profitable fiscal year since 1997, the news that the company's one millionth "Pentastar" engine rolled out of its Trenton, Mich., marks more progress in its turnaround.
The milestone comes a mere eighteen months after production began in July of 2010.
"To build one million of anything, and in an impressively short amount of time, is a significant achievement," Chrysler VP Brian Harlow said in a release. " But to do it with such a high degree of quality is a testament to our skilled and dedicated workforce at both Trenton South and Saltillo engine plants."
The Pentastar, originally designated as "Phoenix," is a 3.6-liter V-6 engine available in eleven Chrysler Group models spread across four brands--everything from the Jeep Grand Cherokee to the Chrysler 200. The Pentastar replaced multiple powertrains--six of them, all older, heavier, and less-powerful V-6s ranging in size from 2.7 to 4.0 liters.
The Pentastar is also more efficient on the production line. Chrysler cites an 83-percent reduction in major components, theoretically permitting easier assembly and maintenance. One cited omission is the exhaust manifold, which is now integrated into the cylinder head.
The engine's host vehicles range from medium-sized family sedans to full-size sport-utility vehicles. The millionth engine is intended to be equipped inside a Jeep Grand Cherokee. The all-aluminum V-6 generates maximum output figures ranging from 283 horsepower in its front-drive sedans to 305 hp in its sportier rear-drive offerings. EPA combined gas mileage ratings vary from 22 mpg on the Chrysler 200 sedan down to 19 mpg on the base two-wheel-drive Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Though it omitted a now-common gasoline direct-injection (GDI) system, the company still boasts that the Pentastar "is the most advanced six-cylinder ever produced by Chrysler." In supporting that claim, Chrysler cited the new Pentastar-equipped Grand Cherokee as an example of the gains in power and mileage with a 40-percent hike in horsepower and a 10-percent gain in torque over the preceding model's 3.7-liter V-6.
Ward's Auto named the Pentastar as one of its 10 Best Engines in 2011, where it ranked alongside the likes of Nissan's 80-kW electric motor and BMW's turbocharged 3.0-liter in-line six.