GM Epsilon Performance Potential
by, April 15th, 2008 at 03:53 AM (2363 Views)
When it comes to aftermarket automotive performance, the industry has done a wonderful job in pretty much ignoring the otherwise popular General Motors Epsilon platform. Whether in long or short platform variations, Epsilon provides the foundation for various mainstream passenger cars: Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Malibu Maxx, Pontiac G6, Saturn Aura, and more. On the downside, aftermarket parts availability is dismal, and to be honest, the situation is not likely to change any time soon.
For those hoping to extract serious performance from the Epsilon platform, look elsewhere. To date the performance market has largely served up a quite limited selection of parts and solutions. The usuals are available - cold air intake, exhaust, ECM tune - each offering only a modest performance boost. Forced induction has thus far proven quite elusive, with only a single claim of a partially working FI solution as far as I know. Nitrous is an option, assuming you don't mind spraying a serious shot on stock internals with high compression pistons.
Then again, it is not like General Motors is doing much to help Epsilon enthusiasts in the United State either. It what amounts to a smack in the face, General Motors offers the Epsilon-based Opel Vectra C with a turbocharged 2.0L I4 in other markets, but us in the United States are not even deserving of a Pontiac G6 or Malibu SS with factory forced induction available on any domestic engine offering.
Now don't take me wrong, the Epsilon platform does have a rightful and well-earned place among the General Motors lineup. Personally, I have been impressed the interior room, exterior styling, and overall design offered by my Malibu Maxx. The power level is more than acceptable for urban traffic and even highway cruising. Fuel mileage is equally impressive for such a large vehicle at nearly 30MPG on the road. Still, the downside is feeling limited in available potential. Even the base 3.5L LX9, which is derived from the venerable 3400 series V6, is hardly approaching maximum potential at 200HP.
If you want a great passenger car, definitely checkout the Chevrolet Malibu and Saturn Aura. If you want an affordable General Motors passenger car with performance potential, you would probably fair better looking for an used low-mileage Pontiac GTO with a LS2 V8.