Jeep has announced it will put its Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept, which it unveiled earlier this year, into production. The newcomer, which is expected to have a Hemi V8 under the bonnet, will be "available (in the US) early 2021".
It has been many years since the Wrangler last featured a V8 motor – almost 40 years, in fact. When Jeep unveiled the Rubicon 392 Concept in July, it had enthusiasts of the iconic US brand in a proverbial froth. However, because the barrel-chested off-roader was unveiled shortly before the official release of the reimagined Bronco, many dismissed the move by Jeep as a ploy to steal some of Ford's limelight... and nothing more.
But Jeep has now used its Instagram account to announce the 392 was #NotAConcept. It posted a video showing a Wrangler ripping across a dry riverbed while emitting a distinct, full-throated exhaust note: "Some concepts are so powerful they storm into reality. Preproduction model shown."
Of course, many enthusiasts will hope that Jeep will simply slap a "V8" badge and number plates on the Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept before shipping it off to showrooms, because it is reported to have a 6.4-litre Hemispherical (Hemi) V8 motor, which has peak outputs of 335 kW and 610 Nm and is mated with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Jeep claims a 0-100 kph time of under 5 seconds, which is simply astounding!
Aesthetically speaking, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept really looks the part with its bronze-accentuated tow hooks, badging, springs, shocks and wheels. The half doors are unmistakably Jeep and the entire package looks ready to tear up the asphalt, gravel, sand, you name it!
It's not all about that stonking V8, though... The production version should also feature the concept's full-time 2-speed transfer case, Rubicon Dana 44 axles (with electric front- and rear-axle lockers), 17-inch wheels shod with 37-inch mud-terrain tyres and a Jeep Performance Parts 2-inch lift kit from Mopar. The automatic transmission has been beefed up from the Grand Cherokee SRT to use taller 3.73:1 gear ratio.
Will Jeep produce the Wrangler V8 in right-hand-drive guise? That remains to be seen, but if there was even the remotest chance of the newcomer being introduced in South Africa, we imagine there would be more than a handful of enthusiasts lined up to order one...