LT vs LS engine: What are the differences and which is better?

Updated Feb 04, 2021 | Same topic: Tuning & Mods

Let’s find out which GM-made V8 engine is worth its salt.

The differences between the LT and LS engine

We’ve talked about the LS engine before. If you read that article, then you’ll know that we practically gushed about it. It is, after all, one of the best GM products ever made, and is also probably one of the best V8 engines that money can buy today.

A picture of the LS3 on a Corvette C5

The 6.2-liter LS3 V8

But what about the LT engine?

Now the LT small-block V8 is currently in its fifth-generation, and like the LS, it is also made by General Motors. The LT as a product designation, however, came out much earlier in 1970, and the name was later reused for a newer V8 called the LT1 350 in 1991. The latest one, however, came out in 2014 and it is known fully as the LT1 Generation V.

Why the LT engine is even better than LS, and may be better for you.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll mainly be talking about the Gen V LT1 Gen. V and comparing it to its predecessor, which was the LS3.

If we compared LS vs LT engine in terms of construction, then the LS3 motor uses aluminum in its entirety. The same is the case for the newer LT1 Gen. V. While retaining the same 6.2-liter displacement and the same 4.40-inch bore.

The LT1 Gen V’s camshaft features a new cylinder head, a new tri-lobe camshaft, as well as a new piston design. Combined with the new high-pressure oil pump, the said engine can also introduce more fuel into its cylinders, thus having the potential for higher horsepower outputs.

A picture of the LT1 Gen. V V8

The 6.2-liter LT1 V8 Generation V engine

Also, of note on the LT1, is that it now comes standard with variable valve timing. Compare that to the LS3, which only had VVT on specific car models. One example of which was the 2010-2015 Camaro SS with an automatic tranny.

Specs
LS3
LT1
Displacement
6.2-liters
6.2-liters
Max. Horsepower
426-430
455-460
Max. Torque
576 Nm
623 Nm
Peak HP and Nm RPM
4,500 rpm
4,500 rpm
Bore Size
4.065-inches
4.065-inches
Price (Crate Engine)
Php 377,701*
Php 407,029*
Head Material
Aluminum
Aluminum
Block Material
Aluminum
Aluminum
Compression Ratio
10.7:1
11.5:1

Note: Before taxes/Price for LT1 is for the Wet Sump version

LT vs LS engine: So which is better?

If we’re talking about raw power per liter, then the newer LT1 offers more. At the same rpm range, the newer V8 can offer around 30 more horsepower. If what you’re after is more power without relying too much on forced induction, then this will matter a lot.

Apart from that, the LT1 comes standard with VVT. For those who don’t know what VVT is, it is a system that controls the intake of fuel and air. With this system, the engine can offer better fuel mileage and a slightly lesser carbon footprint depending on the use of the car. For a thirsty and relatively high displacement V8, this can be a godsend.

>>> Related: Engine configurations: A comprehensive guide to different engine layouts

A picture of a graph comparing the LS3 and the LT1's peak horsepower and torque

The LS3 and the LT1 both produce their max outputs at around the same rev-range

One huge disadvantage of the LT1 Gen. V is that it’s a newer engine. In comparison to the LS3, it has lesser available aftermarket parts. That however is slowly changing, and manufacturers are catching up. Of note, crate versions of the LT1 Gen. V are already for sale.

Do note though that the LT1 has a higher compression ratio than the LS3. This means that the latter’s components are subject to more stress, and if things go wrong, engine knock is more likely to happen.

A picture of the Chevrolet Camaro SS ZL1 on a racetrack

One of the production models that use the LT1 is the Chevy Camaro SS ZL1

While that may be the case, higher compression ratios also have their own advantages. In the case of the LT1 Gen. V, this allows it to make more torque and horsepower. Also, it provides greater efficiency of combustion. Combined with the VVT, this might mean that the newer LT1 might be more fuel-efficient than the LS3.

If we’re talking about local availability. Then it might be easier to find an LS1 engine. It's been around longer than the LS3, which in turn has only been available on the 2016-2021 Chevrolet Camaro SS, and on the 2014-2019 Chevrolet Corvette C7.

A picture of a Corvette 427 Convertible

The Corvette C5 uses an LS3 engine. Later on, the Corvette C7 switched to the LT1

>>> Related: 10 most popular car engine parts that you should know

The bottom line, however, both of these engines can be expensive to import into the Philippines even in crate-engine form.

If you have deep pockets though, you can buy a used PH-spec Corvette C7 (equally hard to find) and then scavenge it for its LT1 engine. Just don’t let the local Corvette fans know of what you’re planning to do.

For more informative articles like this, keep reading here on Philkotse.com.

Know more about Chevrolet Corvette 2021

Chevrolet Corvette

The Corvette is one of the popular American sports cars that was introduced in 1953 at the General Motors Motorama Expo in New York City. 65 years later, The Covenant Car Company Inc. (TCCCI) brought the Chevrolet Corvette into the Philippines, marketing a single variant which is the Stingray. The iconic 2-seater sports car was officially launched to the local market in 2019. Chevrolet Philippines promises a driving experience like no other with the Corvette Stingray’s all-aluminum 6.2-liter V8 engine with a power output of 455 hp and 621 Nm of torque attached to an 8-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission. Its power is transmitted directly to the rear axles, giving that authentic sports car driving feel. Apart from the brand’s cross flags emblem that immediately distinguishes the Corvette from other sports cars is the sharp yet flowing design aesthetic that doesn’t compromise its functionality. Its sleek and attention-grabbing exterior extends to the sports car’s cockpit, polished in premium materials. The Corvette Stingray is marketed in four shades- arctic white, long beach red metallic, torch red, and Corvette racing yellow tintcoat.

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Cesar G.B. Miguel

Cesar G.B. Miguel

Author

Cesar is a graduate of AB English with previous experience working as a freelance writer for varied internet publications in-between his former stints in the Pharmaceutical Industry, and later as a First Aid Provider and Training Staff at the Iligan City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

Since childhood, Cesar has been keenly interested in cars. He has learned the ins and outs of these marvelous vehicles and is a competent amateur mechanic who is keen on sharing his knowledge.

Cesar is perceptive of car culture in general – not only in the Philippines but in global regard, as well. His knowledge ranges from the prevalent stories and trends among car enthusiasts around the world, to closely following the latest local and international developments in the automotive industry.

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