(All images via GM)

Heavy-duty 2017 Chevrolet Silverado diesel trucks are getting a new air intake system, fed largely by this big badass hole in the hood. Too bad nobody will tell us if it actually adds any power.

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A press release from GM tells us that starting with the new model year, 60 percent of the air sucked down by Chevy trucks’ 6.6 liter Duramax turbo diesel engine will come directly from the “functional” hood scoop you see here. The rest will come in from an inlet in a front fender.

Air coming in across the bow of the truck would be much cooler than air under the hood, which would be denser and theoretically better for engine efficiency. How much better? Who knows! GM is declining to report any actual end-user benefits from the new intake system.

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We do know the Duramax engine is rated to 397 horsepower at 3,000 RPM and 765 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 RPM without the scoop. I’m no engineer, so I won’t speculate on what kind of gains the intake might provide. But I do work with an engineer named David Tracy who confirms that cooling is generally one of the major factors limiting a truck’s towing capability.

GM might be able to eek up their trailer ratings by keeping the truck running cooler even if they don’t move the needle much on engine output.

Still sort of weak that the company is excitedly selling us on a “functional hood scoop” without reporting any functional benefit, but it sure does look cool. (Ah! Get it!?)

As for how that open mouth is going to avoid sucking down water, GM explains:

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“...the functional hood scoop includes a unique air/water separator to ensure only combustion-enhancing dry air is drawn into the engine. The air charge enters an expansion chamber containing a sharp, 180-degree turn on its way to the air filter housing. That creates a velocity change that causes humidity or mist to form larger, heavier droplets that are flung centrifugally against the outside wall of the housing. The collected water drains through a valve, while the air charge continues on to the filter housing and into the engine.”

Apparently that system works well enough for the hood scoop to be functional without preventing you from driving through rain, car washes and a misty breeze. GM’s exact marketing language is; “works well with water droplets of all sizes” which I inexplicably find adorable.

Of course you’ll remember the Ford Super Duty is being redesigned for the 2017 model year as well. Let the ridiculous capability arms-race continue!