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ALPHA DOG

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, May 18, 2008

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

© All photos by Harvey Schwartz

ALPHA DOG By Harvey Schwartz

The new, more powerful Hummer H3 Alpha offers the towing capacity that only a V8 can, as the new H3 Alpha broadens Hummer's range of versatile, do-anything and go-anywhere vehicles. The H3 Alpha is the second member of Hummer's exclusive Alpha series, representing the pinnacle of performance, both off the road and on it. It comes with a 5.3 liter V8 engine that delivers 300 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque, and is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission that enables maximum towing capacity of 6,000 pounds, and a faster 8-second time to 60 mph from a standstill. That's a big difference from the standard 242 horsepower in-line five-cylinder engine.

The 5.3 liter small-block V8 engine features an aluminum cylinder block to help reduce overall mass and maintain a more desirable front-to-rear weight balance and includes a deep skirt cylinder block with cross-bolted main caps, high-flow cylinder heads, electronic throttle control, 58X ignition system, E67 32-bit controller, polymer-coated pistons with full-floating wrist pins, returnless fuel system, lightweight valvetrain, steel camshaft and a low-restriction air intake system and exhaust. In addition to the V8 engine, the H3 Alpha also includes the popular 'luxury' equipment package, the chrome appearance package, 16-inch chrome wheels, a 4.10 rear axle ratio and special Alpha tailgate badge, horn pad badge and embroidered front headrest with the 'Alpha' insignia. You can also order the new H3 Alpha combined with content from the H3 X which includes bright roof crossbars, chrome fuel filler door, body-color grille and unique spare tire cover, tires, wheels, center cap and brush guard. The H3 is the newest model to carry the Alpha flag, and represents Hummer's first Alpha model engineered in conjunction with GM's Performance Division.

Hummer H3 and GM Performance Division engineers did more than simply shoehorn a V8 engine into the H3's engine compartment. Accommodating the new power plant necessitated the execution of a seemingly endless number of technical details-many of which have been implemented across the entire H3 lineup. The H3's frame was modified to accept the V8 engine, and a special oil pan was designed to ensure constant oil pressure when driving on steep grades-a hallmark of Hummer's off-road capability. Also, the engine compartment in front of the dash was modified to accommodate the V8, and a steering system is used on all H3 models to deliver better on-center feel and even more improved off-road reliability. To support the torque output of the powerful V8 the H3 Alpha's front differential case is made of cast iron; other models feature an aluminum case. New engine mounts, higher torsion bar rates to support the increased mass, and specific shock valving also are unique to the V8 powered model, ensuring it continues to deliver the unparalleled ride quality-both on-and off-road-that consumers expect.

That equates to a 37-foot turning circle, a 9.1-inch ground clearance and maximum breakover angle of 25-degrees with 33-inch tires, making it possible to clear large obstacles in off-road driving. Serious off-road performance is also aided by the maximum approach angle of 39-degress and maximum departure angle of 37-degrees. Of course the H3 Alpha can ford 24-inch streams at 5 mph, climb 16-inch vertical steps and rocks, and make its way through deep sand and race easily over sandy surfaces. This new Alpha model is what H3 enthusiasts have been waiting for and is now realized. © Words and pictures by Harvey Schwartz

SUMMARY JUDGMENT If you thought the H3 was the perfect Hummer for you but for its power, the Alpha is the answer to your dreams. For more information about Hummer products, go to www.hummer.com More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be found at www.autofotos.com

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2008 Hummer H3 Alpha Price: $39,160.00 base/$44,535.00 as tested Engine type: 5.3 liter OHV, cast aluminum block/heads, V8 Horsepower: 300 at 5,200 rpm Torque: 320 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm EPA mileage: 13 mpg/city, 16 mpg/highway Drive configuration: Front engine/all-wheel-drive Transmission: Four-speed electronically controlled automatic Front suspension: Independent SLA torsion bar, 46 mm monotube gas-charged shocks, 36mm tubular stabilizer bar Rear suspension: Hotchkiss design multi-leaf, semi-elliptic dual-stage leaf spring, 46mm monotube gas-charged shocks, 25mm solid stabilizer bar Wheels/tires: 16X7.5 chrome wheels/LT285/75R16 Bridgestone Off-Road tires Brakes: Front: 12.4-inch vented discs with four-piston calipers Rear: 12.28-inch solid discs with single-piston calipers ABS and Dynamic Rear Proportioning Overall length: 186.7 in. Overall width: 85.5 in. Overall height: 74.5 in. Curb weight: 4,854 lbs.

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