The automotive world is going crazy over the new Ford Bronco, which just made its return after several years off the market. Not to be completely outdone, Jeep slipped in a press release that gives an overview of an interesting new Wrangler concept, the Rubicon 392. It sports a (you guessed it) 392 cubic-inch V8 and is an ultra-powerful, ultra-rugged upgrade for the Wrangler.
Jeep says that engine will bring 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque to the Wrangler and will be good enough to push it to 60 mph from a standstill in less than five seconds. That power and speed doesn’t come at the expense of the things that make the Wrangler such a formidable off-roader. The Rubicon 392 Concept has Dana 44 axles, a full-time two-speed transfer case, front and rear lockers, a two-inch factory lift, and 37-inch tires. That’s on top of the eight-speed automatic transmission’s 3.73:1 gear ratio.
The move to drop a 392 into the Wrangler isn’t surprising. Companies have been offering a Hellcat conversion for both the Wrangler and the Gladiator for some time now, so it was only a matter of time before Jeep jumped in with a factory-backed build. If you’re wondering why Jeep didn’t step all the way up to Hellcat power for the new concept, they already did that with its Trailcat concept, but quickly shut down hopes of it ever reaching market. It’s apparently more than possible to toss the 6.4-liter Hellcat block into a Wrangler, but doing so makes it impossible for there to be crumple zones, which is a big no-no for crash testing. There’s also the issue of cooling, which becomes way more difficult with the larger engine.
The Rubicon 392 concept is a good indication that we could soon see a Wrangler with serious power hit dealers’ lots. The Jeep press release even says that fans “may soon get their wish.” When that will happen is anyone’s guess, though, as company spokespeople don’t comment on future product.