Not that we didn't like General Motors Corp.'s “high-feature” 3.6L DOHC V-6 when it launched in the Cadillac CTS for the '05 model year.

Its initial output was 255 hp and 255 lb.-ft. (346 Nm) of torque, and there were several competing similar-displacement V-6s already making in the neighborhood of 300 hp.

Thanks to a decade of horsepower wars, 300-hp V-6s now are the price of entry in the premium market.

To get fully in the game for the critical new '08 Cadillac CTS (and to upgrade the larger standard engine on the STS), GM powertrain engineers looked to gasoline direct injection, a technology quickly sweeping through powertrain-development departments on several continents.

Strap on the high-pressure (1,740-psi/120-bar) GDI hardware and fair-to-middlin' 255 hp becomes 304 horses. And just as important, torque also is boosted by about 8%.

This is a world-class engine we'd stack up against any V-6.

ENGINE SPECS

Engine type: 3.6L DOHC 60° V-6

Displacement (cc): 3,564

Block/head material: aluminum/aluminum

Bore × stroke (mm): 94.0 × 85.6

Horsepower (SAE net): 304 @ 6,400 rpm

Torque: 273 lb.-ft. (370 Nm) @ 5,200 rpm

Specific output: 84 hp/L

Compression ratio: 11.3:1

Assembly site: Flint, Michigan

Application tested: Cadillac CTS

EPA fuel economy, city/highway (mpg): 17/26