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Ward's 10 Best Engines 2006 -- The HEMI Returns!

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Ward's 10 Best Engines 2006 (Jan 4 2006)

Forced induction, direct injection gasoline signal emerging trends in Ward's 12th annual competition for the industry's standout powerplants.

Excerpt from the parent article...

For 2006, Ward's 10 Best Engines judges nominated and tested 31 engines that must be available in regular-production vehicles on sale in the U.S. market no later than the first quarter of 2006. To be eligible, the engine also must be available in a vehicle with a base price of no more than $52,500.

The Winners

Audi AG 2L FSI Turbocharged DOHC I-4
Audi AG 4.2L DOHC V-8
DaimlerChrysler AG 5.7L Hemi Magnum OHV V-8
Ford Motor Co. 4.6L SOHC V-8
General Motors Corp. 2L Supercharged DOHC I-4
General Motors Corp. 2.8L Turbocharged DOHC V-6
Mazda Motor Corp. 2.3L DISI Turbocharged DOHC I-4
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. 3.5L DOHC V-6
Toyota Motor Corp. 3.5L DOHC V-6

[ article ]

DaimlerChrysler AG 5.7L Hemi Magnum OHV V-8
By Bill Visnic, Jan 4 2006

The word "Hemi" is synonymous with engineering -- and marketing -- success.

10 Best Engines stories Nobody could have predicted an engine name plucked from a dusty muscle-car past would have connected so completely with contemporary buyers.

Sure, the demographic of many customers buying Chrylser Group vehicles that offer the 5.7L Hemi V-8 is one that fondly remembers muscle cars and the simple-but-strong Hemi name.

But the Hemi's ongoing appeal -- which still surprises some industry analysts -- runs much deeper than a fortuitous marketing re-connect with baby-boomers. The Hemi is about real power and real engineering.

There is skepticism that the modern-day 5.7L Hemi V-8, returning for its fourth consecutive 10 Best Engines win, really has hemispherically shaped combustion chambers that led to the original Hemi's name.

But in a sense, it's not that important. Chrysler powertrain engineers studied the gas-flow characteristics of some of the world's best-engineered and best-performing engines (including Porsche AG's power-dense horizontally opposed 6-cyl.) and came up with a design that shares many of the attributes of a hemispherical combustion chamber.

The rest is history. The Hemi's simple architecture, combined with smart design details, makes a powerhouse package that wipes the floor with the competition.

If buyers actually need a test drive, dealers tell us most are ready to sign on the dotted line after their first taste of the Hemi V-8's mighty torque.

Ward's 10 Best Engines judges also continue to reward the 5.7L Hemi V-8 because it just plain works.

The throttle response is immediate but not artificially sharp, the Hemi revs as well as many overhead-cam V-8s (the Hemi's 5,200-rpm horsepower peak in the Charger application is not the signature of a lugging, low-tech V-8), and the exhaust and intake sounds are impeccably tuned. The Hemi speaks the language of power -- but also backs it up.

Need more evidence? After four years in the market, the Hemi's installation rates remain the stuff of a bean-counter's dreams. In every application, it's an option or part of an options package that typically gets a buyer spending thousands extra.

Consider these most recent installation rates, not to mention that in most vehicles, apart from the extra cost, the Hemi is one of three available engines: Charger, 65%; Durango, 50%; Ram 1500, 49%; Magnum, 45%.

This, after the past year's gasoline price shock that brought the market for consumptive domestic vehicles to a standstill.

Perhaps the Hemi's ongoing success in the face of unlikely odds is partly attributable to Chrysler's intelligent decision to include in the Hemi's initial design the fuel-saving Multi Displacement System cylinder-deactivation technology.

Chrysler says MDS allows Hemi-equipped vehicles to cut consumption by as much as 20%. The timing could not have been better to help keep the thundering 5.7L Hemi V-8 at the top of the heap.

Judges' Comments

McClellan: Hemi does it for me again. Wonderful package. Love the exhaust tone. Impressed by fuel economy on highway.

Murphy: Who needs an OHC layout?

Winter: Sounds exactly like the old Hemi -- at least as I remember it.

Engine type: 5.7L OHV 90 V-8
Displacement (cc): 5,654
Block/head material: iron/aluminum
Bore x stroke (mm): 99.5 x 90.9M
Horsepower (SAE net): 350 @ 5,200 rpm
Torque: 390 lb.-ft. (529 Nm) @ 4,000 rpm
Specific output: 61 hp/L
Compression ratio: 9.6:1
Fuel economy for tested vehicle (EPA city/highway mpg): 17/25
Application tested: Dodge Charger R/T

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