Just a few days after teasing its existence, and on the verge of the Ford Bronco's reveal, Jeep has revealed its V8 Wrangler. The good news is that this Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 looks good and surely sounds good. The bad news is that it's just a concept. Or at least that's what Jeep says officially.
According to Road & Track, there are some additional V8 prototypes at the factory in Toledo, suggesting that this is something that's coming to production down the road. Certainly Fiat-Chrysler has a history of dropping ever-more-powerful V8s into all its models, so this wouldn't seem like that much of a stretch. Then again, Jeep previously confirmed confirmed that it couldn't put a Hellcat engine in a Wrangler or Gladiator from the factory because it wouldn't pass crash tests. Granted, that was the supercharged Hemi, and maybe the naturally aspirated one is small enough Jeep can find a way to make it work. Of course if they can't, the aftermarket will happily help you drop in a Hemi or many other engines on the market.
Concept consternations aside, the Rubicon 392 is still quite cool. Underneath the hood, which appears to have been poached from the Gladiator Mojave, is the 6.4-liter V8 making 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. That's a bit less than the version in the Durango SRT, but more than the Ram 2500's variant. It's coupled to a heavier-duty eight-speed automatic transmission and a two-speed full-time four-wheel-drive transfer case. Dana 44 axles are fitted at the front and rear with electric lockers, and the rear-axle ratio is 3.73:1 rather than 4.10:1 like in a standard Rubicon.
The whole thing is lifted with a Mopar 2-inch suspension lift. Accompanying the lift are Fox monotube shocks. The Wrangler also gets 17-inch beadlock wheels with 37-inch mud-terrain tires.
- Related: Bronco vs. Wrangler comparison
Visually the Wrangler isn't too different from what you can get at your local Jeep dealer. Even the steel bumpers, Warn winch and rock sliders are available Jeep parts. But the custom half doors are unique to this concept. They offer a blend of the standard full doors and the openness of the Mopar tube doors. Jeep didn't make any mention of these doors becoming available in the future, but Jeep has had half-doors on offer for past models. Jeep also has a habit of bringing concept parts to production if there's enough demand, such as with the aforementioned tube doors.
The reveal of the Ford Bronco (and Bronco Sport) is at 8 p.m. EDT Monday — that's tonight. Check back with Autoblog then to see what the Jeep Wrangler will be up against.