Since the day it was released (and even before for some prophetic pundits) the H3‘s worst quality has been that it could lose a race to Rosie O’Donnell riding a turtle. Who knew that a 220-hp compact pickup engine would seem sluggish in a 4700-pound SUV? Anyway, Hummer engineers have remedied the baby Hummer’s biggest problem by dropping in a Chevy Silverado V-8 and calling the resulting monster the H3 Alpha. That engine is a 295 hp, 5.3-liter V-8 with an aluminum block. A high torque rating–317 lb-ft–allows the four-speed automatic H3 Alpha to tow up to 6000 pounds.
This is the second-ever Alpha series Hummer, with the first being a higher performing H1. The name is meant to imply the top dog trim for each model line, but no such model exists for the H2 (which, for ’08, already boasts 393 hp). The H3 Alpha is the first Hummer to be engineered in conjunction with GM’s performance division, and it will work its way to sixty mph in about eight seconds. Not too bad for a brick.
The H3 Alpha will come standard with the H3’s luxury package, 16-inch chrome wheels, and a 4.10:1 rear axle ratio. Like all ’08 H3s, side air bags, stability control, traction control, and a tire pressure monitoring system are all standard. The Alpha dog will mark its territory at Hummer dealerships this summer.