There were a lot of dubious responses when the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept on the same day as the unveiling of the new Ford Bronco. However, the Jeep factory in Toledo, Ohio, has allegedly produced around 30 examples of a V8-powered Wrangler since the plant reopened after the coronavirus closure, according to an insider speaking to Road & Track.
Concepts are generally one-off vehicles. If the factory is really building so many prototypes, then there are better chances of seeing a production version.
The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept packs a 6.4-liter V8 making 450 horsepower (336 kilowatts) and 450 pound-feet (610 Newton-meters) of torque. It runs through an eight-speed automatic with the Selec-Track full-time four-wheel-drive system and two-speed transfer case. Dana 44 axles handle the power, and there are locking differentials at both ends.
Gallery: Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept
At least on the concept, Jeep tweaks the suspension with a two-inch suspension lift and monotube Fox shocks. It rides on 17-inch beadlock wheels with 37-inch mud-terrain tires.
Given that Jeep execs have played down the chances of a V8-powered Wrangler for so long, it's still hard to believe that this is a vehicle going into production. In the announcement for the Rubicon 392 Concept, the company says there are upgraded engine mounts and a modified frame. Perhaps these alterations are more comprehensive than the company is letting on.
If the Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept really goes on sale, it's hard to imagine the vehicle being in showrooms this year. The Jeep factory in Toledo has a busy year ahead by adding the turbodiesel V6 to the Gladiator pickup and introducing the 4XE plug-in hybrid version of the Wrangler.