Spied! 2011 GMC Sierra 3500 Heavy Duty

Spied! 2011 GMC Sierra 3500 Heavy Duty
Photo: Brenda Priddy & Company

Last month, our spies caught a lightly disguised 2011 GMC Sierra 2500 Heavy Duty pickup out and about, showing off its new three-bar perforated grille that shares styling with the 2010 GMC Terrain midsize crossover.

Now, we’ve just received this picture of a completely uncamouflaged 2011 GMC Sierra 3500 dually, which sports a brand new hood that features reverse-power-dome styling with prominent center mounted louvers. It says “Duramax 6.6-liter” on the louver sides, along with the logo for the Duramax’s six-speed Allison transmission.

The Sierra HD, along with its GM corporate twin, the Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty, will also feature an all-new chassis and a next-generation 6.6-liter “LML” Duramax V-8 clean diesel engine.

What else might GM have up its sleeve? We hear from our sources that GM is working on a large displacement (approximately seven liters) direct-injection gas engine that would produce lots of power but with a much lower price tag than the Duramax diesel. The new DI gas engine could arrive by 2013.

Spied! 2011 GMC Sierra 3500 Heavy Duty


Hopefully this new engine will actually make some torque down low, I've been disappointed with GM's latest crop of gas engines in their truck line. Sure they are good for 0-60 sprints and bragging rights, but they just aren't that great where the engine lives the vast majority of the time.

First impression...Is I like the styling of the grill, hood, bumper, and rear dual wheel fenders. Looks nice...

@ Allen

The Duramax produces 660 lbs of torque @ 1600rpm. That's pretty stout and certainly compatible with the competition.

With adoption and additional gearing of the 6L80E and 6L90E in the gas applications, there's plenty of torque for at the low end use.

Also don't let the peak torque specification present a false since of great capability of power. Example merging onto a highway towing a load, with the throttle at 50% would never have gear changes drop say below 2500rpm, therefore having peak torque at 2000rpm does no good. Peak torque at 2000rpm would only used one time, in first gear, all subsequent gear changes wouldn't drop low enough to take advantage of peak torque offered at 2000rpm.

Most of today's gassers will have a peak torque that's quite high in the rpm range, although they product a large percentage of that peak torque over a wide operation range (rpm range), the result is a good combination of power and efficiency to fit a multitude of owner uses.

The 6.2 liter produces 417lbs of torque @ 4300rpm. Yet produces a large percentage of this peak value at lower rpms. 385 ft lbs is available at 2300 rpm.

3 bar grille looks very ford like...

ultimately though, this truk doesnt look much different than the last gen

That grille would look awesome if/when it's chrome! I don't like the black plastic but a chrome one with the chrome on the bumper would really make it look nice! I hope GM has some trick up it's sleeves for the interior as well because from what I've seen from the Ford SuperDuty coming out, nothing will touch it. Ford has gone above and beyond what I ever expected and I just don't think GM has put itself in a position to compete with it, as far as looks and interior functionality. GM has a lot of catching up to do if it wants to compete! And that's coming from a die-hard Chevrolet/GMC loyalist!

IF GM didnt scrap the torsion bars why bother ? riding on the bumps stops is lame .

Take a close look behind the passenger side front tire and you can see the urea tank against the frame rail.

Dang that new ford is looking really good! Oh wait.... thats is that a GMC??? Really though, in my opinion I think this is what the super duty should have evolved into when it comes to looks.

Man that looks horrible, I was typing one thing then changed my mind and didn't fix the whole sentence. Oh well you should get it.

Nice looking truck, I always did like the GMC look better than the Chevy, especially when Chevy went to the Avalanche look in 03-06, my least fav of the Chevy years. Of course looks are subjective though and not everyone shares the same opinion.

Forgot to add....makes one wonder if Ford will EcoBoost the 6.2L to compete with the big gasser from GM, I imagine that would be more cost effective than designing a whole new big block.

What are the details of the "all new chassis"? End of the line for the GMT900 platform in the HD trucks?

Very curious about the new chassis. I hope the new car 'spies' will forget about the minor styling updates for a second and get a shot of the underside of these trucks.

Funny how GM comes full circle. First, they get rid of the large cubic inch big block gas engines, because the mileage really started to suck and they got too expensive, so people weren't buying them. Then, the diesel started to replace the big block for the max towing package because the mileage was good and fuel costs were low. Now, the diesels have gotten too expensive with poorer mileage, so GM decides it's time to bring back the big cubic inch gas engines again.

Makes me wonder if they would have just been better off keeping the big block around, but reducing the displacement a bit and work on making it more efficient.

Its definitly a nice looking truck and the duramax is a proven powertrain, but the new generation shows little improvements or additions in comparison to the ford and dodge heavy duty trucks.....both ford and dodge are paving the future of trucks and gm is lagging behind....the only reason they still sell is because the duramax is excellent, but they are going to start losing business if they do not keep up with ford and dodge in terms of amentities and features

Looks ok aside from the funky front grill. And the front wheel caps remind me of prepubescent nubs. GM never had the best looking hub caps.

I too would like to hear some news on the new chassis.

Obama Motors is pulling out all the stops. It looks almost exactly the same as the 2009.


7L DI V8 gasser! Now that would tempt me!

this is a real puller,,,,,,Wye bye the rest when you could have the best ...gm king of the pull..d max .ford lover,is ok to be second or third,,,,,nobody whatching you in the back..

golly "they sure changed alot" wonder where that money went, oh yeah the had to buy more super glue to keep their chevys together, super duty would kick the living lights out of this and so would the ram hd

Compared to the Super Duty, I think GM is a generation ahead. The GMT 900's were introduced in 2007, the Super Duty is pretty much the same truck except for the front suspension and a bunch of unsuccessful diesels that is was in 1999. I guess Ford firgures if they keep making the grille and headlights bigger their customers won't figure out it is the same old truck!

Gee DM, don't you know that the torque of the Duramax is far better than any gasser? The 6.6 makes 600 ft lbs at it's HP peak of 3200 and only improves from there to the 660 at 1600 rpm. That leaves that anemic 385 of the 6.2 at 2300 looking a little soft.

Gee DM don't you know the Duramax makes 600 ft lbs at 3200? It only improves from there to the 660 at 1600 rpm. That makes the 385 of the 6.2 at 2300 look a little anemic.

I think a big gasser will find a healthy market. Sure a diesel makes more torque, but a lot of buyers (myself included) don't want to put up with DPF's, SCR's, urea, and a very substantial price increase for more torque. Something like a direct injection 7L ought to be good for 450 h.p.+, and if it is geared right that much horsepower will more than make up for less torque.

the hd gm's were never on the gmt900 platform. that was only the light dutuies that got that redesign. the current frame dates back to 2001 when the HD logo was asdded to the 2500/3500 lineup
hopefull this new frame is boxed. maybe finally some refinement in a heavy duty worth mentioning
and the interiors of the gms are falling behind again. hope the do spruce it up




As for looks, please spare me of the generations ahead line. It's the same old crap, just a little different.

As for looks, please spare me of the generations ahead line. It's the same old same old, just a little different.





Hopefully the new frame is NOT boxed! A boxed frame caused Dodge no end of trouble with the last Ram. It is very difficult to mount aftermarket bodies on boxed frames, and that caused Dodge to loose most of their commercial sales until they redesigned the frame.

this truck will never compete with a ford

ford stands alone. there is no comparison. chevy or dodge don't have the take off of a ford when loaded.

James ever read any of the Heavy-Duty shoot-outs on this website ? Guess you havn't because you would see that GM wins about every pulling test in the article.... dumb a** ford troll.

If Ford Diesels were so much greater then why have they had 3 different ones in the last 5 years once the scorpion arrives ?

Of course this truck is going to look the same, its not like it is a full redesign. that will come in 2012... As long as GM keeps their Engines and Interiors updated, GM will fine in truck market and continue to sell more trucks then anyone in the world.

Company - Displacement - Torque - RPMS - Fuel Economy

GM 4.8L 305 ft/lbs @ 4600 14/19
Ford 4.6L 320 ft/lbs @ 4000 15/21
GM 5.3L 335 ft/lbs @ 4400 14/20 SFE 15/21

Ford 5.4L 365 ft/lbs @ 3500 14/20
GM 6.0L 375 ft/lbs @ 4100 14/19

GM 6.2L 417 ft/lbs @ 4400 12/19
Ford 6.2L 434 ft/lbs @ 4500 14/19 estimated

GM 8.1L 455 ft/lbs @ 4000 N/A
Ford 6.8L 457 ft/lbs @ 3250 N/A

Lets hope that the direct injection ends the era of GM engines being high reving engines with no low end torque and piss poor fuel economy. These engines are for full size trucks not passenger cars. It's not about 0-60, it's about whether or not your transmission is constantly hunting gears because you don't have enough low end torque in the gear you are in. My Fords don't do that. However, my Silverados and Sierras do it all the time.

In response to the, pickuptrucks.com shootout, 2 out of 3 went to ford.


Out of the three-quarter-ton trucks we'd go with the Ford F-250 V10 Triton. It may not be the quickest performer on the flats but if you need a solid, proven powertrain that can pull hard in the hills with diesel-like performance, this is the truck for you.

We think the one-tons are an easier decision. We'd park the Chevrolet Silverado 3500 and its Duramax in our driveway tomorrow and not give it a second thought. For our reasons why, just read the results below and our assessments from each test.

And the Ford F-450? It's in a class all its own. With the form factor of heavy duty pickup and the towing power of a medium duty, this is one bad-to-the-bone pickup that begs to be used for towing and hauling only the biggest payloads. We think this is the first of new class of one-and-one-half-ton trucks we'll also be testing from Dodge and GM next time we do the Heavy Duty Shootout.


I currently drive a 2008 Super Duty Diesel...I was once a chevy guy...one day my chevy transmission took a crap, it couldnt handle the weight i was hauling...The day i drove my Super Duty I came to the decision i would never drive a truck made by an other...I tow horses, dirt, tractors, rocks, lumber, pipe, tools, etc...I drive off-road daily. Sand, mud, rocks, water, and snow...basically, if you can name it, my truck has done it 5 fold...i have beat the crap outta the thing and yet, i wake up everyday, turn the key and off i go...My truck is also a King Ranch Edition, the cream of the crop when it comes to luxury. I have never felt like i had so much room, a comfy ride, all the amenities you could ever need all within an arms reach...GM and Dodge have a lot of growing up to do.

I drive a 300 6 Ford, 275,500+kms original, works everyday, fords make the best transmissions in the buis.

That looks much better, still a little over-sized on the wheel wells but the front end looks much better...looks like they are also going with the smaller fenders in the rear like ford.

I noticed many of the posts refering to "big block" engines. My understanding was that no one one made a true big block any more. Any of the larger displacement gassers like the 6.2 or hemi are actually small blocks. Does anyone have any information on this topic? Thanks.

There are still big blocks made, but they aren't used in consumer vehicle lines anymore. Where you'll find them is in commercial vehicles, recreational vehicles/boats, and as crate engines for old cars.

With that said, modern engines are kind of funny. The engines blocks are typically the size of a traditional small block, but the heads are sometimes massive. Modern engines can also produce horsepower and torque numbers that surpass typical factory big blocks of old. So, in reality, one could argue modern engines kind of split the difference.

Sometimes, you'll also hear the term small block and big block used in reference to a light duty V8 engine vs. a larger displacement or heavier duty V8 engine. For example, Gm's 5.3L vs. their 6.0L or Dodge's 5.7L vs. their 6.1L. It's just a habit a lot of people have.

Thanks Paul, the definition I remembered as to the difference between a "small" block and a "big" block was that the "big" block had thicker castings, was thicker between the cylinder bores , and more "robust". The actual cubic inch or Liters had very little to do with it. Ford's 351 Cleveland and Windsor motors spring to mind.

Does anybody know how much the urea additive is going to cost and how often long a tank full last? And how readily is this additive going to be available? This seems to be a big pain to me. I like to see "pickuptrucks.com report on this topic

from what i haqd read it has a 5000 mile life capacity with bells and whistels going off at the last 100 miles. I read 2.75 a gallion also. so far p.u.t. dot com said 2 stations have them but im unsure of the name. It is a huge name like sheetz or pilot and only 1 on east cpast and 1 on west cpast , this is what I had read not to long ago. PS. I got an 08 sierra crewcab doolie duramax 4x4 slt AND I ABSOLOUTLY LOVE IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TYPE - O It asposto be 1000 miles not 100 miles. I also herd it will be available via on the shelf possibly truck stops and auto parts stores?

Heres more info on Diesel Exhaust Fluid SCR in a truck


The grille looks like a ford's and can the luvers on the hood be removed or are functional

Nice looking truck. I like it a lot. GMC is a great truck!

I drive a 2007 GMC 2500 H.D. I love it. I bought it because it didnt have the PLASTIC CRAP on the hood like the chevy. Can you take a hint GMC ?

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