Jeep debuts Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept as a muscle off-roader
Jeep has unveiled a new conceptual vehicle, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept, which shoves a 6.4-liter V8 into the Wrangler in place of its usual V6. The engine, which is found in several Fiat-Chrysler vehicles, has 392 cubic inches of displacement – hence the vehicle's name.
The 450-horsepower (336 kW) engine powering this concept produces 450 pound-feet (610 Nm) of torque. These metrics give the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept a 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) launch of less than five seconds. We imagine that getting that to happen in the Wrangler Rubicon is no easy feat, however, given the squishy suspension and off-road top- heaviness of the rig in normal circumstances.
Jeep seems to have addressed those concerns by just not mentioning them, and instead emphasizing torque delivery and its off-road implications. The Wrangler concept keeps its Dana 44 axles and two-speed transfer case (though in permanent 4x4 configuration), axle lockers, and 37-inch mud tires. The concept is even lifted by 2 inches (5 cm) over its standard height.
The 6.4L engine mates to an eight-speed automatic transmission with gear ratios starting at 3.73. A two-mode exhaust system allows on-the-fly tuning with a button press. If any of this sounds familiar, it's very much like the setup in the Durango SRT we reviewed a couple of years ago.
The last time a Jeep Wrangler had a V8 engine from the factory was in 1981, with that CJ having only 125 horses as a result. "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," says Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA North America.
Changes made to the Wrangler, in order to stuff the big 6.4L into it, largely consist of engineering details like motor mounts and suspension. The framing for the Wrangler was beefed up to handle the extra twist from the added torque. Suspension changes include aluminum monotube Fox shocks for damping and heat dissipation.
Jeep says that boosting torque to 450 lb-ft and adding custom 17-inch beadlock wheels, not to mention the 2-inch lift, improves the Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept's off-road capability. The concept has 34 inches of water fording capability and 13.25 inches (33.6 cm) of ground clearance. This also changed the Jeep's approach angle to 51.6 degrees, breakover to 29.5 degrees, and departure to 40.1 degrees. For reference, the standard Rubicon has a 44-degree approach, 27.8 breakover, and 37 degrees for the departure.
The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept sports other unique flourishes. The Granite Crystal paint is adorned with Bronze tow hooks, wheels, and and badging. A performance hood with a raised profile to account for the larger engine and custom half-doors are also present. The concept also features Jeep's new Sky One-touch convertible top, which debuted with the current-generation Wrangler. On its interior, Red Rock leather seats have gold stitching along with a performance steering wheel.
The Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept may hint at a production performance model from Jeep. The company has not said if that will be the case, but to us, this feels like a definite toe in the water to test the public's reaction to the idea.