General Motors Corp. recently announced that it is launching a new inline 5-cyl. engine, which will combine the power of a 6-cyl. with the fuel economy of a 4-cyl., for its redesigned 2004 Chevrolet and GMC midsize pickup trucks.

According to Ward's Engine and Vehicle Technology Update, the Vortec 3500 I-5 is the latest addition to GM Powertrain’s Vortec inline engine family. It will be available for the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon starting this fall.

Ron Kociba, chief engineer for the Vortec inline family, told Ward's that it took 30 months to develop the I-5, which shares 76% of its parts with the Vortec I-6 and has 89% parts commonality with the 2.8L Vortec I-4.

The I-5 engines feature twin balance shafts and an exhaust manifold-mounted 3-way catalyst system, and also has main bearing caps that provide added strength and cut noise, vibration and harshness.

The I-5 cranks out 220 hp and 225 lb.-ft. of torque, which GM said is superior power output to the V-6s of many competitors. Kociba said the I-5 delivers about 3 mpg better fuel economy than a V-6 of similar displacement.