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  • Writer's pictureCory Fourniquet

For the First Time in Forever

For the first time since 1981, Jeep's most iconic vehicle will have a V8 under the hood!!!

Say hello to the New 6.4-liter V-8 Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept!

"The last time the most recognizable vehicle on the planet was offered with a V-8 engine was in the 1981 Jeep® CJ, with its 5.0-liter V-8 that delivered 125 horsepower and 220 lb.-ft. of torque."

There is much to love about this new concept, and Jeep has not forgotten the heritage of this vehicle.

First and foremost, there is a 392 cubic inch Hemi V8 under the hood packing 450hp and 450 Lb-ft of torque. Jeep claims a sub-5 second 0-60 time. Not that anyone buying this will be drag racing their Wrangler Rubicon, especially since it also features a 2-inch factory lift and 37 inch tall tires! That is the most popular lift size and wheel size in the aftermarket for the new generation JL Wrangler. This rock crawler also features Dana 44 axles, a full-time 2-speed transfer case, electronic front and rear acle lockers, and a more robust eight-speed transmission to deal with all the extra power and torque from the V8.

“Jeep Wrangler enthusiasts have been asking us for a Wrangler V-8 and our new Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept proves that we have the ability to make that happen,” said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA North America. “From the recently introduced 29-mpg Wrangler EcoDiesel to our award-winning Jeep Gladiator, and the upcoming Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, Jeep is clearly listening to its customers. We are anxious to gauge their reaction to this new Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept, a vehicle that delivers an incredible and unmatched level of fun-to-drive performance and capability, on- and off-road.”

To make the V8 possible, a new 8-speed transmission was necessary, as well as upgraded engine mounts and a modified frame. Jeep understands customers will be putting this thing through its paces in Moab and across the country. Suspension upgrades include Fox monotube shocks, inline with some of Jeep's Gladiator upgrades. And the exhaust features a two-mode function that alters the sound at the touch of a button.

The wheels are a new, unique design in 17-inch diameter featuring a beadlock design to hold the tires to the rims in extreme conditions. Jeep has also added its Rubicon rock rails, steel bumpers, Warn winch, and a steel belly pan to protect the important bits from rocks and off-road hazards. Couple that with 3.73 gear ratio and the large 37-inch mud terrain tires, and this thing is ready to do some work.

"A factory Jeep Performance Parts two-inch lift kit and 37-inch tires combine to improve articulation and contribute to unprecedented levels of water fording capability (34 inches) and ground clearance (13.25 inches), as well as improved approach (51.6 degrees), breakover (29.5 degrees) and departure (40.1 degrees) angles."

The passenger compartment was not overlooked on this rig either. Featuring a unique Red Rock-colored leather bolstered seats with gold stitching and a performance steering wheel, you will be greeted in style when you open up the half-doors on this concept. Lets pray these doors finally make it into production as enthusiasts have been clamoring for a Jeep-branded half-door since the original JL concept was unveiled.

This particular model is painted in the Granite Crystal exterior paint and is adorned with Bronze tow hooks (because every serious off-roader needs special color tow hooks), badging, springs, shocks, and wheels. Oh, and don't forget that distinctive hood bulge and scoop that was teased over the weekend to get us ready for this announcement, proudly announcing the 392 under the hood.

No word on towing figures, or when/if this "concept" will make it into production, but with increased competition coming in the form of the Ford Bronco, I would expect this to be one way for Jeep to keep their king of the trail status. Especially when the Bronco is "only: rumored to get an EcoBoost V6.

Between Matt and I, I do believe this would be the off-road rig I would take. What are your thoughts?


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