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A V8 engine is finally being put under the hood of a Jeep Wrangler again. It’s been so long since an open-top Jeep had an optional V8 that back then the Wrangler was still a CJ, or civilian Jeep, and the engine came from American Motors Corporation. Suffice it to say, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392’s 6.4-liter Hemi engine shares nothing at all in common with AMC’s old 304 cubic-inch block.
Let’s get the engine’s specs out of the way: The 6.4-liter naturally aspirated V8 will produce 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque in the Wrangler Rubicon 392, which will be offered solely in four-door Unlimited trim. It’ll do 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, no doubt aided by its standard eight-speed automatic transmission (no manual will be offered) and Selec-Trac full-time four-wheel-drive system, and the quarter mile in 13 flat. In other words, it will easily be the quickest Wrangler Jeep has ever offered. It also boasts a dual-mode exhaust system that we bet will make it the loudest Wrangler ever offered.
But the Rubicon 392 isn’t just meant for straight-line acceleration on the road. Jeep claims it will be the most capable Wrangler ever, and it backs that statement up with 10.3 inches of ground clearance (that’s half an inch less than the regular Rubicon) and suspension articulation that’s improved to allow an approach angle of 44.5 degrees, a departure angle of 37.5 degrees and a breakover of 22.6 degrees. The approach and departure are improved slightly over other Rubicons, possibly due to the 392’s additional 2-inch lift. Jeep says it can also traverse up to 32.5 inches of water depth, thanks in part to a unique air induction system that can divert as much as 15 gallons of water per minute away from engine. It also has a secondary intake so that the engine will keep running even if the functional hood scoop is caked in mud.
Other off-road bits and pieces include a 2.72 low-range gear ratio that enables a 48:1 crawl ratio (not as good as the 84:1 ratio provided by the manual-transmission Rubicon with its standard V6) along with driver-selectable Off-road Plus mode with settings for Sand and Rock. Unique Fox aluminum monotube shocks come standard. We don’t have details on the brakes, but Jeep says they are upgraded for the 392.
The Rubicon 392 benefits from upgraded frame rails and front upper control arms, cast iron steering knuckles and heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles that feature thicker axle tubes and Tru-Lok electronic locking differentials. As on other Rubicon models, the 392 features electronic front sway-bar disconnects to maximize suspension articulation.
Jeep says the half doors that we first saw on the Rubicon 392 concept (which not-so-coincidentally was revealed just prior to the Ford Bronco’s debut) will be offered on the production version. It will be available with any top option that’s offered on other Wrangler models, including the Sky One-Touch Power Top that we favor. Naturally, Jeep will happily offer a whole catalog of Mopar accessories, all backed by a factory warranty.
From the outside, bystanders will recognize the Rubicon 392 by its unique hood (borrowed from the Gladiator Mojave), bronze-colored badging and 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels. The bronze theme is carried inside with unique stitching on the leather seats and steering wheel. For the first time in a Wrangler, that steering wheel features integrated aluminum paddle shifters. The standard 8.4-inch Uconnect system includes Off Road pages to keep tabs on the vehicle’s stats.
We don’t know how much the Wrangler Rubicon 392 will cost, but we fully expect it to be the priciest Wrangler by a fair margin. It will be available in the first quarter of 2021 in Black, Bright White, Firecracker Red, Granite Crystal Metallic, Punk ’n Metallic, Sarge Green Metallic, Snazzberry Metallic, Sting-Gray Metallic and Billet Silver Metallic, each with a black leather interior with bronze highlights.
We look forward to testing this beast out in the real world. And we’re now taking bets on how long it will take before we see the 392 make its way to the Gladiator line.