During the past 10 years, the auto industry has been downsizing engines as a way to reduce consumption, toxic exhaust emissions and also weight. Thanks to turbocharging and direct fuel injection, the engine outputs have actually increased in spite of displacements decreasing.
But while most people are happy with smaller, more fuel-efficient engines, Americans still miss the big ones that have been typical in their vehicles, especially the vee engines. Jeep fans, in particular, have been wishing for a V8 Wrangler in recent years, and their request has been noted. The last time a Jeep was offered with a V8 engine was in 1981 when the CJ had a 5-litre V8.
Yes, a V8 is returning
As an indication they may soon get their wish, Jeep has revealed the Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept. This has a huge 6.4-litre V8 engine that delivers 450 bhp/610 Nm and can go from 0 to 96 km/h in a timed of less than 5 seconds, it is claimed.
“Jeep Wrangler enthusiasts have been asking us for a Wrangler V8, 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 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.”
Capability on and off-road
To accommodate the massive 6.4-litre V8 engine and stronger 8-speed transmission, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept has upgraded engine mounts and a modified frame. Suspension upgrades include new aluminium, monotube Fox shocks for improved damping and heat dissipation. A dual-mode exhaust alters the performance sound at the touch of a button.
The Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept boasts even more capability courtesy of third-generation Dana 44 axles, a Selec-Track full-time 2-speed transfer case, Tru-Lok electric front and rear-axle locking differentials. 37-inch mud-terrain tyres wrap around custom 17-inch beadlock wheels that hold tyres to rims under extreme lateral loads, allowing for reduced tyre pressure operation and added traction.
The factory-fitted Jeep Performance Parts 2-inch lift kit from Mopar enables additional suspension articulation for improved approach, breakover and departure angles. There are also Rubicon rock rails, steel bumpers with a Warn winch, and a steel belly pan – all to ensure protection when going over the roughest terrain.
Custom design inside and out
The Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept features Granite Crystal exterior paint adorned with bronze accentuated tow hooks, badging, springs, shocks and wheels, while featuring a heavy-duty raised performance bonnet with an aggressive appearance. Custom half doors and Wrangler’s Sky One-touch powertop, with removable side panels allow for open-air freedom when weather conditions are nice enough.
The vehicle made its appearance just recently and Jeep is doing final real-world testing before launching the production version. It’s not likely to be a long wait as Jeep must be eager to have a new model to prevent Ford’s new Bronco from drawing too many customers.