The the heavy duty truck arms race is starting to make the Cold War military buildups look downright civil thanks to the latest escalation by Ram at the 2011 Chicago Show, where it showed the uprated Ram 3500HD. Though this HD Torque war hasn’t been raging for too long, but its been an intense battle with lots of casualties on both sides.
The arms race kicked off with the launch of the 2011 Ford Super Duty. Initially, its Ford's 6.7-liter diesel V-8 was good for "only" 390 hp and 735 lb-ft of torque. Shortly after, however, GM launched the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD. The GM trucks' 6.6-liter V-8 makes 397 hp and 765 lb-ft. Ford fired back, upping the output on the Super Duty to 400 hp and 800 lb-ft midway through the year (and offered a free upgrade to early adopters). Much to Ford's chagrin, the Silverado took the 2011 TOTY Calipers despite the torque disparity. Ram - our 2010 TOTY -- meanwhile, found itself outgunned, its 6.7-liter Cummins I-6 with 350 hp and 650 lb-ft on tap suddenly seeming inadequate (the 2010 Superduty also had 650 lb-ft, while the 2010 GMs had 660 lb-ft). Not anymore.
Thanks to some foreign military aid, Ram has announced that it's been able to arm up to the same level as the Ford, its Cummins I-6 now making 800 lb-ft as well. Horsepower remains at 350, but does go up to by "more than 40" at what Ram calls "typical highway speeds." Despite the extra power, the Cummins is able to continue to make do without the use of diesel exhaust fluid, which has been a major selling point since its debut. On top of that, Chrysler's come up with the Max Tow package, which increases the Ram 3500HD's GCVWR to 30,000 and max towing to 22,700 pounds by adding a 4.10:1 axle, upgraded steering box, and new engine and transmission coolers.
It's clear that these hostilities aren't going to subside anytime soon, so it'll be interesting to see how GM and Ford respond to this latest provocation from their rival in Auburn Hills.