General Motors Australian unit Holden has revealed details of the new global V6 engines it will use in upcoming new generations of its locally-built vehicles.

The new V6, named ‘Alloytec’ for Australia, has been produced for export in Holden’s engine plant in Port Melbourne, Victoria, since late last year and will be introduced to the local market next month in the updated VZ Holden Calais, Commodore and WL Caprice and Statesman models, replacing the 3.8-litre Buick-designed Ecotec V6 engines that power current models.

Versions of the Commodore line are exported to the Far East, Asia-Pacific, South America and the UK with Holden, Chevrolet or Vauxhall badging.

Holden said the global V6 engineering and manufacturing project is the most significant engine programme ever undertaken by an Australian vehicle manufacturer, given the five years of strategic development, the manufacturing of variants for markets around the world, the development of its own Alloytec variant and the commissioning of a $A400 million engine plant.

The Alloytec engine for the Commodore line is a lightweight all-aluminium 3.6-litre V6.

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There are two variants – Alloytec and Alloytec 190  – which deliver more peak power and considerably more torque across the rev range than the current 3.8 litre V6 while maintaining a similar level of fuel economy and producing fewer emissions.

The base Alloytec produces 175kW of power at 6,000rpm and 320Nm of torque at 2,800rpm – 14% more power and 5% more torque than the outgoing 152kW V6 – while the sports performance Alloytec 190 version produces 190kW of power at 6500 rpm and 340Nm of torque at 3200rpm – 90% of the torque is produced between 1570 and 5870 rpm, which is a 59% wider rev range than the previous 171kW supercharged V6 performance engine.

The 175kW engine will be combined with an updated version of Holden’s current four-speed automatic transmission while the 190kW unit is teamed with either a new five-speed automatic or a six speed manual transmission.

Like similar engines recently introduced in GM’s North American-built Cadillac line, the new Holden V6s have double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder and electronically controlled and hydraulically actuated continuously variable inlet cam phasing.

The 190kw versions also has variable cam phasing on the camshaft, a GM engine ‘first’, and a dual stage variable intake manifold.

Other new features include electronic throttle control and coil-on-plug ignition.

Localisation of the Alloytec V6 for Australia took place both there and in the US and required more than 200,000 staff hours, 143 experimental engines and 60 specific tests.

Calibrating the engine software for local conditions and driving alone took two years and required 15 specialist engineers. The programme involved frequent test trips to extreme climate and altitude locations in Australia, Europe and the USA as well as hundreds of thousands of proving ground kilometres and a rigorous emissions testing schedule.

Holden’s V6 engine plant, which began building export engines last year, is currently one of only two such facilities in the world and there are plans for a third. It can build 900 engines a day or 240,000 a year.

It is now delivering fully locally produced six-cylinder engines for the first time since 1986 – previous V6 engines, introduced late in 1988, were assembled locally using a mix of imported and Australian-made parts.

Annual Alloytec V6 production is expected to top 175,000 units next year.