The design change is simple but brilliant: by casting the exhaust manifold into the head assembly of their 3.6-liter V-6 engine, Chevrolet engineers managed to eliminate 12 parts, shave 6.5 pounds per side, boost fuel economy and increase horsepower. Gone is a cast iron exhaust manifold, a high temperature gasket (and potential point of failure), a heat shield and a total of nine bolts. The weight savings of 13 pounds per engine helps fuel economy, but so does the more efficient flow of air through the heads. Better yet, more air in and out means more horsepower, and the 2012 Camaro V-6 gets a bump of 11 horsepower, to 323 hp.
There are other benefits to the change in engine design as well. The elimination of the exhaust manifolds makes the engine over 4.5 inches narrower, and the catalytic converters can be located closer to the exhaust point of the engine, lowering emissions compared to last year’s V-6. It’s even 1 decibel quieter at idle than the outgoing V-6 engine, but I’m not sure that’s a selling point on a car like the Camaro. Look for 2012 Camaro models to start hitting dealer showrooms sometime this summer.