The new V8's compact size enables it to fit within the same space as petrol units, offering GM the flexibility to introduce it in a wide variety of vehicles to meet market demand and new CAFE regulations.
It is expected to deliver 231kW of power and an enormous 705Nm, returing a 25 percent improvement in fuel efficiency over comparable petrol engines.
The environmental benefits of the new engine include a 13-percent reduction in CO2 emissions and at least a 90-percent reduction in particulates and NOx compared to many diesel vehicles today.
"This new V-8 diesel meets the toughest emissions requirements in North America, and it also delivers an effortless performance feel because of its high torque across the speed range," said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Powertrain Diesel Engineering.
An electronically controlled, 29,000-psi common-rail fuel system is also used on the engine which has the ability to inject fuel five times per combustion event, reducing noise and emissions while enhancing fuel economy.
The new 4.5L diesel V8's technical details include lightweight aluminum cylinder heads with integrated manifolding; a variable-vane turbocharger with intercooling; a compacted graphite iron (CGI) cylinder block for a stronger and lighter base engine; and a fracture-split main bearing cap system.
GM has applied for patents on a number of these features and expects to have several patents granted before the engine launches.