It's not just a Wrangler with a big engine.
When Jeep tried to crash the Ford Bronco's debut celebration with the V8-powered Wrangler 392 Concept, the world knew it was just a matter of time before it went into production. That time is now, as the cover is officially lifted on the first factory-V8-powered Wrangler in upwards of 40 years. The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is here, and it's ready to tear up asphalt as well as sand, dirt, rocks, trails, and possibly the egos of Ford Bronco owners.
For starters, here's the juicy information you've been waiting for. Yes, the production-ready Rubicon 392 is pretty much the 392 Concept you met back in the summer. There are some differences, starting with the 6.4-liter (392 cubic-inch) naturally aspirated Hemi V8 wedged under the hood. It's the same mill from the concept, but power is up from 450 horsepower to 470 ponies. Torque is also up to 470 pound-feet, which Jeep says is enough for the Wrangler to reach 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Take it to a drag strip (yes, a Wrangler at a drag strip) and it will rip a quarter-mile in 13 seconds flat.
Apparently, Jeep expects some 392 buyers will partake in such activities. The engine is connected to an eight-speed auto with paddle shifters – a first for the Wrangler – and it breathes through an active exhaust system that opens valves automatically under full throttle or manually at the driver's whim. Torque Reserve is a type of launch control for on-pavement antics that allows the Rubicon 392 to make the move of solid-pavement grip, accessible during a brake torque launch. AMax shifting makes the most of engine torque and cog swaps, and if it sounds familiar, it's also used on the Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.
However, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 isn't designed to be a pavement-only showpiece. Like the concept, it benefits from a two-inch increase in ride height. The frame rails are upgraded, and it utilizes an upgraded suspension with unique geometry, Fox shocks, upper control arms, and heavy-duty brakes. It comes standard with 33-inch tires on Beadlock-capable 17-inch wheels, and as a result, Jeep says the approach/departure and breakover angles are improved.
Gallery: 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392
The Rubicon 392 can also wade through 32.5 inches of water despite the gaping hood scoop feeding air to the big Hemi V8. It uses a Hydro-Guide air intake system with tri-level ducting that directs water away from the mill, even if waves break over the hood. Additionally, should the hood get covered in mud – as often happens in the Wrangler world – this air inlet system will still function safely even if the driver demands full throttle.
Speaking of which, the Rubicon 392 gets a full-time Select-Track 4WD system with a 2.72 low-range gear ratio. Four selectable modes include 4WD Auto, 4WD High, Neutral, and 4WD Low. Dana 44 axles front and rear have thicker axle tubes, and for sticky off-road situations, electronic locking differentials and an electronic disconnect for the front sway bar are still there. Furthermore, Jeep says nearly all the Hemi V8's torque is available very low in the rev range for gentle crawling over rough terrain. Going downhill, a 48:1 crawl ratio means drivers can use the Hemi's displacement as an effective engine brake.
Visually, the Rubicon 392 wears badges, special wheels, and there's the hood with the big scoop. The grille is also optimized to better cool the V8, and a new instrument cluster for the interior properly conveys the significantly increased performance capabilities delivered by the engine. Rubicon 392 branding is found inside on the seats, and it comes standard with a plethora of features like leather trim, the Infotainment Group, Safety and Advanced Safety Groups, body-colored hard top, and other items normally optional. Mopar will also offer a wide range of accessories specifically for the Rubicon 392, because of course it will.
Jeep doesn't specifically say the Rubicon 392 is only available in four-door trim, but stats for the off-roader reflect four-door capacities. Jeep also doesn't mention a price, but it's a safe bet this will be the most expensive Wrangler in the lineup. Right now, that honor goes to the Wrangler High Altitude at just under $50,000 so $60,000 isn't out of the question.
We expect to see pricing information closer to the 392's on-sale date, which comes some time in the first quarter of next year.