V8 return may be

Jeep reality

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept, 2020, front
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept, 2020, rear

A V8 engine may be making a comeback to the Jeep fold as the legendary off-road brand reveals a concept model of the Wrangler with a 6.4-litre block under the bonnet.

It gives the Wrangler Rubicon 392 - to give the concept its proper name - 450hp of power, a 0 to 60 time of less than five seconds and a whopping 610Nm of torque.

With Dana 44 axles, a full-time two-speed transfer case, electric front and rear-axle lockers, 37-inch mud-terrain tyres and a Jeep Performance Parts 2-inch factory lift kit the concept takes Jeep's Trail Rated standard to a new level.

The last the Wrangler was offered with a V8 engine was in the 1981 Jeep CJ, with its 5.0-litre V8 that delivered 125hp and 298Nm torque.

In the Rubicon 392 concept the engine is mated to an eight-speed auto box specifically set up to deliver performance both on and off the road.

Jeep says that its enthusiasts have been clamouring for a V8 powered production Wrangler in recent years, and the new concept is an indication they may soon get their wish.

To accommodate its 6.4-litre V8 engine and the stronger transmission, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept features upgraded engine mounts and a modified frame.

Suspension upgrades include new aluminum, monotube Fox shocks for improved damping and heat dissipation. A dual-mode exhaust also alters the performance sound at the touch of a button.

A factory Jeep Performance Parts 2-inch lift kit and 37-inch mud-terrain tyres are fitted to improve articulation, and contribute to a water fording capability of 34 inches and ground clearance of 13.25 inches, as well as improved approach (51.6 degrees), breakover (29.5 degrees) and departure (40.1 degrees) angles.

Inside, it features rich Red Rock-coloured leather bolstered seats with gold stitching, along with a performance steering wheel while on the exterior the concept is finished in Granite Crystal paint with bronze accentuated tow hooks, badging, springs, shocks and wheels.

There's also a heavy-duty raised performance bonnet, custom made half doors and the Wrangler's Sky One-touch powertop, with removable side panels for open-air freedom.

Whether or not it goes into production is still to be seen but Jim Morrison, the head of Jeep brand for FCA North America, said: "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.

"From the recently introduced 29mpg 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."

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