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Jeep's new 335kW Wrangler V8 has fulfilled the dream of many followers

2020-07-15 10:00

Lance Branquinho

jeep wrangler

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept

• Jeep has revealed its new 392 Concept.
• The new Wrangler's 6.4-litre V8 engine produces 335kW/610Nm.
This Wrangler Rubicon 392 is every bit a serious off-road vehicle
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za


Jeep has fulfilled the dream of many Wrangler followers, with its new 392 concept. 

Built on the existing Wrangler platform and finished in Rubicon specification, this 392 version looks ready to roll over any terrain – and with its enormous V8 engine, it will probably drive up any incline, too. 

Although the brand's V6 Rubicon is hardly underpowered for its purpose, Jeep's product people believe there is a market for this new 392 variant, which features the largest engine ever fitted to a production Wrangler. 

Using the same basic engine architecture and components as the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk's powertrain, the Wrangler 392 does without the mechanical drag (and boost) of a supercharger. It still displaces a huge 6.4-litres and in this Wrangler Rubicon application, produces 335kW and 610Nm. 


What do you think of Jeep's new Wrangler? Please email us your thoughts.

Those are deeply impressive numbers and very uncommon for a ladder-frame rock crawling vehicle, with a 3.73 reduction ratio transfer case and 336mm of ground clearance. AMG might produce its assortment of G63s, but those are marketed as luxury SUVs with novelty styling. 

jeep wrangler

Image: Jeep

Power and traction 

This Wrangler Rubicon 392 is every bit a serious off-road vehicle, with Dana 44 axles and Fox monotube suspension components. It also rolls enormous 37-inch mud-terrain tyres, which are mounted on 17-inch beadlock rims, allowing for extremely low operational pressures – further boosting traction off-road. 

Despite the rolling resistance of those massive tyres, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 is incredibly quick. It drives through an eight-speed automatic transmission and Jeep claims that 0-100kph should be achievable in a whisper under 5 seconds. 

The only comparable vehicle of recent memory, in both its styling and off-road purpose, is the Land Rover Defender Works. It was produced in 2018 and sold in minimal numbers, with only 150 of these 5.0-litre supercharged V8 Defenders being assembled, each good for 298kW. 

Jeep has not announced a production date or global delivery schedule for the Wrangler Rubicon 392, but this concept vehicle is absolute proof of concept. Although it could be argued that the Wrangler 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 petrol engine is plenty powerful, there will always be a market for dedicated off-road vehicles, with way more performance. 

No dune too tall – or steep 

Why would you want a future factory produced Wrangler with 335kW? That is theoretically a good question, as most technical off-road driving is done at exceptionally low speed, using the vehicle's tyre profile, suspension stroke and gearing to roll up and over obstacles. But there is one feature where power trumps all: sand. 

jeep wrangler

Image: Jeep

For off-road enthusiasts who live for that yearly Namibian dune adventure, or enjoy conquering towering red Kalahari dunes in the Northern Cape, linear engine power is crucial. Sand driving is all about speed and momentum, and when you add long climbing gradients to the equation, engine power becomes everything. The standard Wrangler's V6 is good for 209kW, but this 392 version has 60% more power – which should make all the difference. 

With this Wrangler Rubicon 392, Jeep has the potential to offer something unique to hardcore off-road enthusiasts. It might be dramatically overpowered for a road vehicle riding on an ageing platform, but as an off-roader's toy – any production version of this Wrangler Rubicon 392 will be highly desirable. And it needs to be because the competition has just become a lot more severe, thanks to Ford's new Bronco. 

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