2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392: A 470-HP V8 Off-Roader With a Dual-Purpose Hood Scoop
It might not have 35-inch tires, but that exhaust is…*chef’s kiss*
Most assumed it was just a matter of time before Jeep put a V8 in the Wrangler. Then again, it's been nearly 40 years since the iconic off-roader was offered with a V8 from the factory. The wait is now over as the Wrangler Rubicon 392 has officially transitioned from the concept phase to a real production vehicle with a 470-horsepower, 6.4-liter Hemi engine under the hood. But there's more to it than that, though.
Kicking off with the essentials, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 sports an equal horsepower/torque split with both metrics weighing in at the aforementioned 470 figure. Compared to the Pentastar V6 Wrangler, that's an increase of 185 hp; though when pitted against the EcoDiesel variant, the newest Jeep makes 28 pound-feet more torque. That results in kind of pointless performance feats like zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds, but we won't complain.
Instead, we'll focus on the off-road attributes that are improved by the Hemi and the upgrades that come with it. This being based on the top-shelf Rubicon, it has the same four-wheeling features and then some with a one-inch lift over the non-V8, which is already an inch higher than a Wrangler Sport. It rides on Fox aluminum monotube shocks tuned for both speedy and technical driving, and it has five-link suspension at the front and rear.
The Wrangler Rubicon 392's upgraded suspension allows plenty of room for factory 33-inch tires on beadlock-capable 17-inch wheels. These are mounted to Dana 44 axles, and four-wheel drive is permanent with off-road capabilities aided by electronic locking differentials and a two-speed Selec-Trac transfer case. It boasts a crawl ratio of 48:1 and, as with the regular Rubicon, it comes standard with an electronic front sway bar disconnect.
The four-door-only Wrangler Rubicon 392's approach/breakover/departure angles measure 44.5, 22.6 and 37.5 degrees, respectively. For comparison's sake, a new Ford Bronco without the Sasquatch Package makes do with 35.5, 20.0, and 29.7. Fit those 35-inch tires, though, and the Bronco swings a 43.2, 26.3, and 37-degree triple slash.
While the V8 Wrangler's 10.3 inches of ground clearance falls short of the top-spec Ford Bronco's 11.6 inches, most of that can be attributed to its smaller tires. The same can be said for its water fording, with the Wrangler Rubicon 392's rating marked as 32.5 inches compared to the Sasquatch-equipped Bronco's 33.5. It's a wonder why Jeep didn't spring for 35-inch tires here like Ford, though the automaker did develop one party piece the Blue Oval doesn't have—a fully functional, exceptionally innovative hood scoop.
This tri-level intake system makes use of a secondary air path that allows the Wrangler's almighty engine to run at full capacity, even with the primary source blocked completely by dirt, sand or snow. Likewise, the Hydro-Guide air intake funnels 15 gallons of water per minute away from the 6.4-liter, meaning you can wade through a crossing without worries of damaging that raucous Hemi.
The Wrangler Rubicon 392 will, of course, have all the luxuries that premium truck buyers want including durable leather seats and the latest Uconnect infotainment system. What Jeep fans should really care about, though, is that you can spec the rig with any top you want. In addition, half-doors are making a comeback, meaning you can have a soft top, open-air Jeep with stylish looks first showcased on the Wrangler 392 Concept.
Nobody knows how many of these Jeep will make, nor do they know how much they'll cost. It wouldn't be surprising to see highly optioned examples going for $75,000 considering you can build a non-V8 Rubicon to $70,000 right now. Regardless of that, people will buy them just like they do other limited-run performance trucks. Just ask the folks at Ram—they know first-hand.
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