General Motors Corp. will pack its most powerful Ecotec yet under the hood of the Saturn Sky Red Line that will be unveiled next week at the New York International Auto Show.

The ’07 Sky Red Line and its ’07 Pontiac Solstice GXP platform mate will mark the first GM cars to offer direct-injection gasoline engines in North America.

The new DI 2L turbocharged Ecotec generates 260 hp and 260 lb.-ft. (353 Nm) of torque, good enough, GM says, to make it its highest specific output engine ever at 130 hp/L.

The engine features variable valve timing to go along with its twin-scroll turbocharger with an air-to-air intercooling system.

GM Powertrain engineers from North America and Europe played rolls in developing the new engine, drawn from the 2.2L DI Ecotec offered in Europe and 2L turbo engines already in production, the auto maker says.

The new powerplant, based on the 2.4L found in the base Pontiac Solstice roadster, makes use of a stronger “Gen II” Ecotec aluminum engine block developed with input from GM’s racing programs.

Cylinder block bulkheads and bore walls were enlarged to handle the higher power output. The water jacket is deeper for added cooling capacity, and cylinder bore roundness was improved, GM says.

The twin-cam, 16-valve engine also employs a high-strength steel crankshaft and forged connecting rods, aluminum cylinder head with sodium-filled exhaust valves, high-pressure engine-driven fuel pump and a variable pressure fuel rail.

Pistons feature dish-shaped tops that deflect fuel toward the spark plugs for better combustion. Compression ratio is 9.2:1.

“The 2L Turbo is the pinnacle of Ecotec performance to date, with additional growth planned,” says Ed Groff, assistant chief engineer-Ecotec 2L Turbo engine. “The groundwork for its capabilities was laid on the drawing table at the very beginning of the Ecotec’s development.

“Prior work and a far-thinking engine design continue to help GM respond to market demands around the globe more quickly and with greater accuracy.”

The engine, which will be produced at GM’s plant in Spring Hill, TN, also will be used in the Sky-based Opel GT for the ’07 model year.

The Sky Red Line will be available at U.S. dealers this fall.