The Bronco debut is forthcoming, industry buzz is talking about it competing with the Wrangler and offering a true alternative to the king of the segment. The competition may be heating up, but Jeep isn’t giving any ground with their latest concept vehicle.
Packing 392 cubic inches of ‘Merica under the hood the Hemi Wrangler concept is the answer to the question “What if Jeep built a V8 Wrangler?”.
Jeep has never offered a Wrangler with a V-8 from the factory. Beginning in 1987 with the YJ every model since 1987 never had larger than a 6-cylinder engine. The last time a Jeep was V8 powered was the 1981 CJ. The AMC 304 in the CJ made 125 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque. A far cry from the 450HP 392 Hemi stuffed into the concept vehicle.
For years Jeep enthusiasts have swapped modern V8 drivetrains into their Wranglers. Some have gone so far as to install the Hellcat and even the Hellephant.
The Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept shown here has power is routed through an upgraded eight-speed automatic transmission, third-generation Dana 44 axles featuring Tru-Lok electronically locking differentials, and 3.73 gears to maximize the efficiency of the V-8’s broad torque curve. The concept 392 powered Wrangler hustles from 0-60 in less than five seconds on 37-inch tires. That speed is nice but I am more excited by the 450 pound-feet of torque on tap.
The 392 Concept’s frame has been modified and fitted with the Selec-Track two-speed, full-time 4WD transfer case. We are going to assume that other areas are beefed up to handle the extra power. Driveshafts, u-joints, and more. It will be interesting to see how much is different from a standard Rubicon with the V6 when or if this vehicle hits the market. Depending on bolt patterns some of the V8 take-off parts may be upgrades for lower models.
The concept is fitted with a Jeep Performance Parts 2-inch lift kit. Custom 17-inch bead lock wheels look great. The 392 Concept is fully protected by Rubicon rock rails, steel bumpers, Warn winch, and a steel belly pan.
The 392 Concept has a unique look using a Granite Crystal Metallic exterior with bronze-colored accents on the tow hooks, springs, shocks, wheels, and badging. Combine that with an interior with Red Rock leather seats and gold contrast stitching. (Yuck)
The 392 concept has Jeep’s Sky One-Touch power top and (finally) half doors. The half doors need to be available now and at a reasonable price. The rear glass of the power top is removable. Something power top owners have requested sine the top’s debut. The steering wheel is from the Gladiator Mojave.
From Jeeps press release is appears we may get a V8 Wrangler at some point soon. “Jeep enthusiasts have been clamoring for a V-8 powered production Wrangler in recent years, and the new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept is an indication they may soon get their wish.”
My guess is we might not get the full 392 concept Wrangler, and I am fine with that. A 350+ horsepower 5.7 Hemi with 350+ pound-feet of torque would be perfect and less costly.