Driven: Prototype 2011 GMC Sierra 2500 Regular Cab Duramax Diesel

Driven: Prototype 2011 GMC Sierra 2500 Regular Cab Duramax Diesel

While testing the latest heavy-duty pickup trucks during our 2010 HD Shootout comparison, General Motors showed up with a prototype 2011 GMC Sierra 2500HD regular cab work truck with the new 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 diesel for some high-performance fun at Milan Dragway. We drove it.

A two-door GM heavy-duty pickup with an 8-foot-long cargo box and Duramax oil burner is a $8,395 upgrade over the standard truck. The base engine is a 6.0-liter V-8 gas engine with 360 horsepower and 380 pounds-feet of torque.

The Duramax is the most powerful diesel engine in the segment, rated at 397 hp and 765 pounds-feet of torque. Put that mill under a regular cab Sierra HD’s hood and, according to Brent Deep, GM full-size truck development engineer, the truck isn’t just a workhorse; it’s also a fuel-efficient hot rod.

“We call the truck ‘the rocket,’” Deep said. “When we were putting [the idea for it] together, we were trying to beat the best fuel economy and performance [numbers] in all of today’s full-size pickup trucks, both light- and heavy-duty.”

White Rocket Window Sticker Warning

Deep got close to meeting both of those objectives. He said that in “real world” testing – heavy-duty pickups aren’t required to carry EPA fuel economy labels – only the GMC Sierra 1500 Two-Mode Hybrid beats it for highway mileage, and the GMC Sierra Denali 1500 with the high-performance 403-hp, 417 pounds-feet 6.2-liter V-8 gas engine is faster in the quarter-mile.

To find out for ourselves how fast the prototype is, we got behind the wheel and timed it on the asphalt at Milan.

The fastest run of the day went to Johnny Fort, a senior financial analyst for with the reflexes of a puma. Fort nailed the quarter-mile in only 14.79 seconds, beating journalists and truck engineers alike. He was the only person to break the 15-second barrier.

The best zero-to-60 time? According to Deep, it’s only 5.86 seconds. Not too shabby for a 6,522-pound work truck.

If you want a similar truck for your driveway or job site, it’s on sale now.

White Rocket Ready for Launch at Milan Dragway

Update 1: July 22, 07:33 am PT
Corrected statement that said the Duramax diesel is a new option for RCLB. The same configuration has been available in previous models. H/T to Alex for pointing that out (again).


WOW! Thats all I have to say about that...

Thats impressive.

Huh I always thought you could order the Duramax in an RCLB ? anyway I want one of those trucks in 4x4 that is .

They need to make a SRT10 fighter out of this. That would be way cool. This truck is only 1 second slower box stock. Go for it Chevy. Grow some - and do something unique.

I want one with a 6ft bed. Not only would it be a real hotrod, but it would make for an awesome plow truck.


Not suprised at all. Diesel or go home.

That sure looks like the 6 foot 6 inch bed. I thought you could already get a duramax in a regular cab 8 foot bed.

Meh. Regular cab 8' bed diesel configurations are not new to Ram and Ford.

I bet gm is just trying to pursway yall into choosing gm for #1. this is going to help them get ahead since they just had thier recall on hill assit. Gm needs to play it fair and let you decide without trying to show off. i would like to see you get a worktruck Ford or Ram!

Now that's what I'm talking about! A worktruck version with a 8' bed!

That is insane! Can I have that same engine in a Camaro? 0-60 in 3 seconds?

Notice how all the Ford fanboys seem to avoid commentating on this piece of news??? lol What now! Loss of words or wisdom Ford boys?? Probably both....

Go GM! Great piece of equipment

that is so awesome.... wish my 7.3 could do that!!!! o and zak, i am a Ford fan. i give credit where credit is due and i personally think that chevy/gmc will win the shootout this year.

Actually Zac, I have posted a lot of pro-Ford comments on this website, I have even been labelled "fanboy," but I actually like both trucks a lot, and I will give credit where due, no matter what brand. Perhaps you don't recognize there was a pro-Ford guy here because I don't sound like some of the pro-Chevy boys like Bobby.

@Tay, it's going to be close between Ford and Chevy. PM put Ford first by a small margin. Whoever wins this shootout, will win by a small margin too in my opinion. Dodge will be a distant third, other than the exterior and interior designs.

@ Tyler
So GM needs to play fair? How about all of Ford's advertisements claiming to be this and that comparing against older GM and Ram models.

So this is fair, but GM testing a production truck on a drag strip is not. LMAO

GM compared on their website the 2009 Silverado to the 2008 F150 when the 2009 F150's were out.

At the Dodge Drive and Ride event Dodge compared the 2009 Ram 1500 to the 2008 F150 and even told the dealers that the 2008 F150 was the 2009.

Ford compared the 2011 F250 to the 2010 2500 in those commercials because GM did not have their 2010's out yet - perfectly legitimate.

"How about all of Ford's advertisements claiming to be this and that comparing against older GM and Ram models. "

Ford's trucks have been out awhile. The 2011 Chevy was available and just became available. The 2011 Ram still is not available yet. You have to compare them against what is out there.

How about Chevy and Ram still using their 2010 trucks against Ford's 2010 trucks for comparison?

"How about all of Ford's advertisements claiming to be this and that comparing against older GM and Ram models. "

Ford's trucks have been out awhile. The 2011 Chevy was not available and just became available. The 2011 Ram still is not available yet. You have to compare them against what is out there. Give them time and they will start ripping the 2011's once Ram gets out there.

How about Chevy and Ram still using their 2010 trucks against Ford's 2010 trucks for comparison?

@Bert, You will notice Ford was the first company to come out with the 2011 trucks and those Ford commercials were from 3 months ago.

The 2011 Ram still isn't out yet.

The 2011 GM's just came out this month.

Therefore the 2010's was used for comparison. Once the Ram makes the 2011 models available, new commercials be made.

At least Ford is trying to do some kind of comparison. All GM seems to be doing are these geeky basketball hoop commercials which are worthless for comparison purposes. Are they trying to target kids?

I just found this one GM HD commercial that was just uploaded to GM's youtube channel 11 minutes ago. They say it is the strongest "GM Sierra" ever made but they don't say it is the strongest truck every made.

Speaking of advertising little white lies. All the Ford commercails I've seen lately claim that the new Super Duty is the most fuel effecient HD regardless of engine. Fine print at the bottom (you gotta squint pretty hard) says Most effecient HDs Ford has ever made. Commercails are full of BS these days. New Ram commercail says most powerful 1500. Fine print says engines under 6.0L.

The Chevy checklist on the website had brand specific things on there, i think they changed it slightly, but they had ALLISON TRANSMISSION: Chevy (tick), Ford (X), Dodge (X), and they even had things like Stabilitrak and Onstar! What a laugh. You have to drive them all yourself and do your own research, and just decide which you like best.

GM diesel awesome as usual. Blow away a sports car with your work truck, and look better too. I love diesel power.

General Motors Propaganda, GM is such a joke.

Mike, you got this wrong again. As already mentioned above, the Dmax is not new to the regular cab. A few months back, you wrote that there was going to be a RCSB HD w/the Dmax. You called me and said that you misspoke. But now I see:

"Until now, the sole engine choice for this entry-level work truck was the 6.0-liter V-8 gas engine with 360 horsepower and 380 pounds-feet of torque."

Not true at all! The Dmax has been an option in the regular cab since the start.

Please explain._

The best sleeper in the world ever!!! Diesel work truck and
sub 15 second 1/4 mile and 5.86 sec to 60 - cmpletely out of the box!!! God bless America!!!

@Alex: Fixed permanently. Sorry about that. A bit of a mixed message coming from different sources.

OK, you mention that it has the best highway mileage, but why don't you do a test of "regular cab work trucks" and include the RAM with the Cummins, and the F-250 with the 6.7 PowerStroke. We need to see actual numbers, not just chatter.

@Wayne: We've got detailed fuel economy figures we'll be reporting from the Shootout. We'll also be reporting DEF usage for the first time.

For you guys saying the Dodge RAM will be a distant third....there was a road test done at a popular magazine with Crew Cab models of the 2011 Ford Diesel vs a 2010 Dodge Ram..the Ram was quicker 0- to the 1/4 mile.. with 350 hp and 650 torque Diesel the Ford had the 390 hp 735 torque....Though the Ford was a bit quicker with a load,but not by a whole bunch..They also had estimates of the 0-60,1/4 mile times of the new GM diesels and are roughly the same ballpark,but will wait to judge them when I see actual test numbers,obviously......I bet some other road tests will have either trucks a few tenths of a second quicker...

...Not really impressed with the Ford,thought it would really blow the Ram away,but it didnt !! Really thought it would be a second faster to 60 and in 1/4 it isnt !! WOW !! That 408 c.i Cummins really shakes it !

Mike, (slightly off topic) since you have driven a lot more pickups than most of us, when the load is empty, is there any difference between a three-quarter ton and 1 ton pickup, when everything else is the same (brand, model, bed size, cab size, engine, diff ratio, wheel, tires etc). The dealers say there is no difference in ride quality, but I trust them as much as I trust Obama to fulfill his campaign promises. What is your opinion?

@Zak - Notice how all the Ford fanboys seem to avoid commentating on this piece of news??? lol What now! Loss of words or wisdom Ford boys?? Probably both....

Why is it you OMG (Obama Motor Group) Fanboi's cry like little gurlz when Ford guys post on a GM thread and whine when they don't ?

A work truck that can run 1 second slower in the 1/4 mile than a SRT10 is impressive. I bet the competition could generate similar numbers.

S T U D.
Work on Friday.
Race on Saturday.
Want it.

@Alex: The three-quarter-ton trucks I've driven are single-rear-wheel and most of the one-tons I've been in are dual-rear-wheel. But when I've driven SRW one-tons, I've not really noticed much of a difference between the two. At least nothing that would make me prioritize comfort over the extra capability of a one-ton.

That said, I'm amazed at how much work a SRW one-ton can do today vs. duallys from just a few years back but with much better ride quality and handling.


A single cab RAM SRT-10 runs high 12's in the 1/4 mile !!! 4 second range 0-60.. I know of a few good drivers who own these and they can get 12.70's..with spinning prone stock tires..1 now runs a 12.3 with a Computer upgrade..headers,exhaust..needs slicks to really improve !

My 2005 ,4 door SRT ran 13.30's all stock...and yes traction is a mods,nicely broken in..First run ever 3500 miles on the clock,I was getting 13.50's but tried not to spin to hurt the engine,walked it out a bit before tromping on it..I now have different exhaust,computer it runs high 12's ! With not so much traction on take off..It's like my Hemi Ram when its wet out ,traction wise,but on dry pavement (so ya get the drift)!

Also new Ram R/T HEMI's run high 13's right out of the box,singlecab ect..yes,I know lighter curb weight,but less h.p/torque..

Also a 2010 4 door Crew Cab Hemi Ram Heavy/Duty ran 15.4 @95 in the 1/4 a single cab should run in the 14's.

Yes,I would guess the single cab GMC should move,its got enough torque ! And h.p !

Wonder what axle ratio in the GMC !!

Remember Lou,the article says only 1 driver could make it run in the 14's ! I know with the SRT-10's are all over the map,just like old muscle cars some people know how to drive/control power/wheelspin/some are just average ! You have find the balance between wheel spin/acceleration..

I'm thinking the shootout will be close between Ford & the GM twins with Ram coming in third. I don't care who wins but I would still buy the Ram/Cummins diesel. This horsepower & torque war will never be over. We are already hearing 800+ ft/lb torque coming from Ford and Dodge. GMs next DMax will be in that range also. Time for a second choice smaller diesel for those like me that love diesel but don't tow too much.

Dodge, I believe in that compairison, the Ford had 3.55 rear end, Ram had 3.73. That makes a difference.


Yep..but with my past in racing...with that much more h.p/torque the Ford should of spanked the Ram !! Its not like the Ram had 4.10's to 3.55's...3.55's and 3.73's are pretty close,especially with the h.p/torque handicap of the Ram..The Ford should of been all over the Ram !It wasnt !

Does anyone notice the passenger side front bumper is mis-aligned?

@Frank: It's an old early-build prototype truck that's been through the wringer. Plastics in the interior weren't even grained. I'd focus on the performance, not fit and finish.


Where are you getting you're numbers? The Ram was behind the FORD by 4 second loaded with 10,000# trailer in PM Heavy Duty Shootout. The FORD weighs 500lbs more then the Ram.




Like I said in the other post...Other tests will have either trucks a few tenths ahead or behind in their testing..And I was right....Depends on the driver ,conditions ect..ect... I thought the Ford would totally spank the Dodge with that much more of a power difference ! It didnt..

****Only Mike Levine knows who the real champs are****

Almost forgot! It was 91.25 mph at the line. :-)

I want a Deisel Half ton

@Mike, thanks for the feedback, that confirmed that I do want a SRW 1 ton over a 3/4 ton for sure!

Gm is moveing to buy AmeriCredit for 3.5 billion can anybody out there make any sense of this ? This truck will never make the streets Gm will be broke again before anyone knows it !! Dumb moves destoryed this company once thats why i drive a ford!!

@Bill - GM lost GMAC with their bankruptsy. I had read that GM wants their own credit arm. Part of the reason is so that they can finance people whom are high credit risks. Honda for example finances up to 20% of their sales by taking on risky debtors. The difference between Honda and GM is that Honda has money of it's own to offset the risk.

Back on topic -

GM should offer a performance packaged diesel as a flagship truck.
Duramax SS.
Sounds cool, sounds tough, sounds fast.

GM has what?
The Denali doesn't push any excitement buttons in relation to performance.
Ford has the Raptor.
Dodge had the SRT10.

Duramax SS.

Go for it GM.

@ James that sounds like a good idea. A smaller entry level diesel would be cool for the guy who cant afford a mega powerhouse diesel. It would be cool to see 2 different size engines offered in the HDs and light duty trucks.

How about in the 1500, offer the 2.9L V6 diesel with 250 HP/406 lb-ft (30-35 mpg) with an optional 4.5L Duramax with 310/520 (25-30 mpg)

2500 and 3500 offer the 4.5L Duramax and have the 6.6 optional

No this makes too much sense, you will have too many pickups getting over 16mpg! That would be ridiculous, the oil companies would be losing money.

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