PONTIAC, MI – When it comes to V-6 engines, powertrain engineers here are giving us something old, something new, something borrowed and something GM blue.

The General Motors Powertrain headquarters here has been busy recently filling the product pipeline with plug-ins, new 4-cyl. gasoline and diesel engines and, of course, the small-block V-8 family that’s been a central focus for a few years now.

This year, it’s the V-6 that gets to shine.

GM offers up three of them, all displacing 3.6L, for 2016 Wards 10 Best Engines testing: the naturally aspirated “High Feature” (codename LGX) in the Cadillac ATS and CTS and ’16 Chevrolet Camaro; the twin-turbo LF4 in the ATS-V, based on the previous-generation High Feature V-6; and the bi-fuel Chevrolet Impala that runs on both gasoline and compressed natural gas. The Impala CNG is primarily for fleet use.

Cadillac ATS Coupe vs. Cadillac ATS-V Sedan specificationsIt’s about time GM shows a little love for the 6-pack. Yes, the automaker launched a 4.3L V-6 in the fullsize pickups a few years ago, but it’s essentially a small-block V-8 minus two cylinders. The 4.3L isn’t bad, but it’s unremarkable.

GM’s “High Feature”  3.6L DOHC V-6 launched more than 10 years ago and was significantly upgraded with the addition of direct injection for the ’08 Cadillac CTS, earning two consecutive Wards 10 Best Engines trophies at a time when the market was brimming with potent naturally aspirated 6-cyl. engines from multiple brands.

Since then, this V-6 has become a workhorse across GM’s portfolio, seeing duty in family sedans, luxury cruisers, muscle coupes and 7-passenger CUVs.

Finally, an all-new High Feature direct-injected 3.6L arrives, and the only parts borrowed from its predecessor are the hydraulic lash adjusters in the valvetrain.

Relative to the previous-generation 3.6L, the LGX has the same compression ratio (11.5:1), but the aluminum block and head are new. There’s slightly more displacement, with a longer stroke and slightly wider bore size. The engine is 22 lbs. (10 kg) heavier than its predecessor.

A new variable-displacement 2-stage oil pump saves energy by reducing the pressure and flow of oil within the engine and increasing it only when high speeds and high loads require it.

The engine now has four full phasers, enabling continuously variable cam phasing to help the engine breathe better in all operating modes. The timing system switches from a 3-chain intermediate drive to a 2-chain direct drive to improve sound characteristics.