All auto manufacturers are thinking "green" these
days and many will showcase their fuel-efficient vehicles at the upcoming 2008
Chicago Auto Show. In this age of broken embargos and leaked specifications, it
comes as no surprise that one of GM's vehicles to be showcased at the show was
The new GMC
Denali XT Concept is based on the same Zeta
platform that forms the basis of the upcoming Pontiac G8 sedan and Chevy
Camaro. The low-slung concept features a fully-independent front and rear
suspension, 23" wheels and a 55" bed with Midgate. The Midgate feature
-- similar in concept to the Chevrolet Avalanche and Cadillac Escalade EXT --
extends the bed to a full seven feet.
The most important part of the Denali XT Concept, however,
is its advanced powertrain. The concept uses a brand new 4.9-liter, 326 HP small-block
V8 engine with direct injection. The new 4.9-liter engine can be powered by
regular gasoline or E85 ethanol and uses cylinder-deactivation to run on just
four cylinders under light loads for better fuel economy.
In addition, the Denali XT concept features GM's two-mode
hybrid system which can also be found on the 2008
GMC Yukon Hybrid, 2008
Chevy Tahoe Hybrid and 2009
Saturn Vue Green Line. GM's two-mode hybrid system allows lumbering behemoths
like the Yukon and Tahoe achieve 20+ MPG in the city.
"Like all GMCs, the Denali XT is functional and
capable, but it blends those traits with a more efficient, sporty driving
experience," said GMC general manager Jim Bunnell. "It is a vehicle
that exemplifies GMC's engineering excellence, as well as GM's commitment to
hybrid and advanced technologies."
The GMC Denali XT Concept foreshadows the production
model which could debut in the U.S. within the next year. Styling will no
doubt be toned down somewhat for the production model, but expect to see many
of the fuel-saving technologies to carry over to the road-going version.