Jeep Big-Bore Rubicon Concept Unveiled

Jeep could be rediscovering its big butch, red-blooded roots with the unveiling of its 6.4-liter V8 Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept.

It’s the first time since the 1981 Jeep CJ that the automaker has fitted a large gasoline V8 to one of its products as it fell in line with the industry moves towards smaller, less polluting powertrains. Now fans of American off-road muscle cars have been treated to the possibility of a new rock-scrambler boasting 392 cubic-inches of brutish power.

This V8 engine claims to deliver 447bhp and 449ft-lbs of torque and a zero to 60mph time of less than 5 seconds. Naturally, that’s a step change over the old CJ’s 121bhp and 219ft-lbs of torque seen as the bench-setter back in the ’80s.

To accommodate its extra grunt, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept features upgraded engine mounts and a modified frame.  Suspension upgrades include new aluminum, monotube Fox shocks for improved damping and heat dissipation. A dual-mode exhaust alters the performance sound at the touch of a button.

It also boasts even more capability courtesy of third-generation Dana 44 axles, a Selec-Track full-time two-speed transfer case, Tru-Lok electric front and rear-axle locking differentials, 37-inch mud-terrain tires that wrap around custom 17-inch beadlock wheels that hold tires to rims under extreme lateral loads, allowing for reduced tyre pressure operation and added traction. A Jeep Performance Parts 2-inch lift kit from Mopar combine with suspension enhancements.

Also a more robust 8-speed automatic transmission and full-time 4×4 transfer case improve overall drivability its low-end torque allows for a 3.73 gear ratio for better highway efficiency and a greater range of off-road capability. The chassis features Rubicon rock rails, steel bumpers with a Warn winch, and a steel belly pan – all added to help navigate the toughest off-road terrains.

Jim Morrison, head of Jeep Brand, FCA North America, said: “Jeep Wrangler enthusiasts have been asking us for a Wrangler V8 and our new Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept proves that we have the ability to make that happen. From the recently introduced 29mpg Wrangler EcoDiesel, to our award-winning Jeep Gladiator, and the upcoming Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, Jeep is clearly listening to its customers.  We are anxious to gauge their reaction to this new Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept, a vehicle that delivers an incredible and unmatched level of fun-to-drive performance and capability, on- and off-road.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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