By on May 9, 2016

2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 75th Anniversary Edition, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

It’s not the engine you’d want for rock crawling, but it’s just the ticket to please commuters and the Environmental Protection Agency.

A source tells Automotive News that a high-output 2.0-liter four-cylinder under development by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will first appear as an option on the next-generation Jeep Wrangler.

The aluminum block engine is code-named Hurricane (a nod to Jeep’s engine heritage), and is said to make in the neighborhood of 300 horsepower, with torque figures being anyone’s guess.

Produced at FCA’s Trenton Engine Complex alongside the Pentastar V6, the new mill reportedly features direct injection, variable valve timing and a twin-scroll turbocharger.

The new engine is one of several ways FCA plans to make the next-generation Wrangler — due to appear next year as a 2018 model — friendlier in the area of fuel consumption. A myriad of engine choices are rumored to join the lineup, including a diesel and hybrid, but a turbo four seems the likeliest bet for Day 1 availability.

The capable Pentastar returns as the model’s mainstay engine.

Other mileage-making efforts include adding an optional eight-speed automatic transmission and adopting lighter aluminum architecture. Any advances in the area of aerodynamics will have to be subtle, as the Wrangler’s traditional boxy shape is revered nearly as much as the U.S. Constitution.

Offend the Jeep purists, and you’ve got a revolution on your hands.

[Image: FCA US LLC]

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66 Comments on “Hurricane Force: Jeep Wrangler’s Turbo Four Could Make Nearly 300 Horses...”


  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    I think the 8 speed auto would be great in the Jeep, and especially for offroading. Might not even feel the need to pay more for the super low range in the Rock-Trak transfer case if you get the 8 speed auto.

    As for the turbo 4, if it can generate a lot of torque down low that could be good. I always felt the pentastar really lacked low end torque which is what you want in something like a Jeep.

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      I doubt the extra gears would be lower than the current first. Well maybe with the 4cly.

      Hey how do small turbos do with engine braking?

      • 0 avatar
        mason

        Without the ability to close off the vanes and lock the TC, not any better than any other engine.

      • 0 avatar
        Pinzgauer

        1st gear in the 8 speed is pretty damn low. Lower than 1st in the current WA580 in the JK.

        • 0 avatar

          Indeed, the 1st gear in 845RE is pretty damn low at 1:4.71, but not low enough. With a final drive of 1:3.45, you only get 1:16.2 total. My 42RLE only has 1st at 1:2.84, and yet the the total is 1:46.56 with low (1:11.64 without). In my experience 1:16 would be close but no cigar. At least 1:22 is needed, IMHO.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatist

      I think a hybrid might be a better choice. Full torque at zero rpm, what’s not to love..

      Open pit mining trucks like Liebherr have used electric drive at the wheels for years.

  • avatar
    NoID

    In lieu of my intense desire to marry a scrap Fiat 124 and a scrap Pentastar to create an overpowered little Viperette and convince important people to sell it as the Dodge *Insert some resurrected name here* SRT, maybe we can plan to throw this little mill into a suitable outsourced small car instead?

    Anyone? Bueller? Sergio?…

  • avatar

    Ultimately it’s the TORQUE that most jeep purists really need – especially for off-roading/ rock-climbing.

    Diesel/ Turbo Diesel makes more sense if you aren’t in a regular passenger Jeep like the Cherokee, Grand Cherokee.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      I’ve never been able to figure out which looniverse internet offroaders do their thing in.

      When you are in low range, your wheel torque is already multiplied many times over. And off road, you are either on soft ground, meaning, you can’t use much torque before spinning, or with the driveline locked up, meaning all you’ll accomplish with “diesel torque” is grenade your diffs.

      The best by far, like another galaxy far, powertrain calibration for low range crawling in a production vehicle, is the NA 6.4 gasser in the Power Wagon. Which massively retards throttle tip in, to the point where it feels like you have a Civic motor down there, until you are at almost full throttle. It feels really slow until you calibrate to it, but makes for virtually lurch free hundred point turns on a saddle trail with 100 feet drops each side. And is exactly what you want for slowly dragging yourself out of slippery stuff without breaking traction. Or even just towing your buddy out of a snowdrift on a slippery road. Which is the kind of drivetrain you want. Or at least what most normal, non internet, offroaders want. And why Ram engineers went to the trouble in the first place.

      Last thing in the world you’d want, is some weirdo turbo engine, with zero torque until exactly 1543rpm, then max torque by 1544, with a 1.03 second delay. Causing you to lurch back and forth and break traction, like your truck just turned Parkinsonistic.

      Massively powerful, torquey engines on “off-roaders” are great in the dunes. Especially running paddles. But are otherwise mainly useful for making lifted bro trucks on 37s, seem less lethargic on the way to the mall.

  • avatar
    RetroGrouch

    A turbo 4 with 2xx ft-lbs is perfect for a brodozer like this.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Does that mean we might see a “Go-Devil” version of the Tigershark for the Renegade? :-P https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willys_Go_Devil_engine

  • avatar
    Snail Kite

    As if Jeep owners actually go rock crawling. For the vast majority it’s just a lifestyle vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      That may be so, however, the car does have a strong community of people that actually *do* take it off-road and do such things as rock crawling. Roughly half of the Wrangler owners I know participate in off-road events.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        I can’t imagine anything worse for rock crawling (or any other moderately serious off-roading) than an engine with a non-linear throttle response like every forced induction engine I’ve ever driven. I would think a larger displacement engine with cylinder deactivation would avoid this problem while generating improved fuel economy. Admittedly, small displacement engines ace fuel economy tests that involve lots of idling. . . But that’s what start-stop is for, right?

        • 0 avatar
          olddavid

          DC, you voiced all the things going through my head as I read the article. Jeep already has the solution in the 4.0 straight six. Inherently balanced, costs delineated since Kennedy was in the White House and easily built. Of course, sense and the obvious are not Sergio’s strength. If someone with a Milano accent suggested a re-designed cylinder head to go with a new alloy block and a use in the Ram lineup? I figure there is a reason I see very few turbo’s when out riding my bike on the trails those Loons drive on.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          I’d have no issues rock crawling with this engine if the torque curve was similar to the Ford EB 3.5. Turbo lag would be the only issue depending on design but if this Jeep has low enough gears lag won’t be an issue. Too many people equate turbo’s with rev happy narrow powerband engines of old. Fuel injection, variable vane geometry turbo’s, variable valve lift, high processing speed ECU’s all create a powerband that can be very diesel like.

      • 0 avatar

        Hiked a local hill. I saw what I thought were tires tracks, but not sure. Lots of strike marks on the exposed rocks. You could do this with a dirt bike, but on four wheels ? tight, really tight.

        Motor vehicles aren’t permitted.

        Eventually I get up to a spot, come over a hill. Four jeeps, one kinda stuck on a rock, but they were working on it and didn’t look stressed.

        I was super impressed. I’d not go up that hill, but, following the old horse and carriage road, the jeepers make the summit, and were having fun. These guys, at least weren’t posing…

  • avatar
    Hummer

    A V8 would probably be a much easier sell, and it wouldn’t require any turbos.
    V8 + 4.10 gears, that’s respectable.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      But Mother Earth would be disrespected, which is where the drive to downsize is coming from.

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      Would rather have a diesel. Wrangler community has wanted a diesel for ever. V8 is cool and all but you can’t drive these things fast anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I refuse to believe they couldn’t make the 3.0 diesel fit.

      • 0 avatar
        cgjeep

        There was the VM Motori 2.8 4cly diesel that they but in the 1 gen Libertys. Something like that with a turbo would be great.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Ehh the V8 isn’t about being fast, but rather having the top off, doors off and a lightly cammed V8 singing sweet tunes as you cruised into the sunset.
        A 4,6 cylinder engine just sound awful, and the diesel isn’t exactly desirable when you end up varying another 400 lbs of additional diesel heft + emissions equipment; though it probably won’t smell as bad as past diesels, you may get a few unpleasant scents.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        A really small, frugal diesel and a larger tank, in the 4 door long wheelbase version, would unlock a chunk of the (older, wealthier, think BMW GS) “exp” market for Jeep. Range is a problem with the current one, and rolling around the dessert in 120 degrees with jerrycans full of gas exposed to the sun, isn’t all that comforting.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    A Fiat engine in a Jeep? Sacrilege! Worse than that phony “Jeep” Renegade.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I worry about the throttle response/jumpiness at very slight throttle openings, crucial for folks who use these as intended offroad.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      The advent of electronic throttle control means that these kinds of concerns should be alleviated by pedal calibrations. I would expect different pedal calibration for low range for sure, and perhaps in the different drive modes.

    • 0 avatar
      mason

      That’s the beauty of a twin scroll charger. They are more responsive down low than even a VGT or VVT set up. Twin scrolls have been around for a while but up until recently were only found in high end sports cars and the aftermarket performance crowd.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Well I just had a rental 1.4TSI Jetta that had a bit of a hair-trigger response where it would bog-bog-bog then take off very suddenly in a rush of turbo torque. Of course that could have very much to do with the transmission calibration, and not so much inherent to the motor.

        • 0 avatar
          mason

          That engine utilizes a single scroll compressor. I believe it is more of an entry level engine which would explain the use of a “budget” turbo. Twin scrolls are still a good bit pricier but are becoming more mainstream due to their driveability.

  • avatar
    DanyloS

    TURBO-4 ALL THE THINGS! Blech… at what point do automakers and consumers fully succumb to the EPA and every single new vehicle is strictly available with only a 4cyl’s or less, maybe a turbo?
    Compacts: Done
    Midsize: Done
    Full size: Done (528i, A6, CTS…)
    SUV’s: Coming soon!
    Full Size Pickup Trucks: good bye V6 & V8! we have a 2.0L Turbo 4 that will work

    Makes me feel like any engine with six or more cylinders, or a displacement of greater than 3.0L will be long gone within 10yrs. Buy them while you still can… smoke them if you got ’em…

    I don’t care if they have more power or torque on paper. At anything less than foot on the floorboard these things kill any semblance of fun in driving.

    (thanks for listening had to vent)

  • avatar
    frozenman

    For this application a 2L turbo seems like weak sauce. They should look to develop something like the Ford 2.7TT to improve performance and economy over the current 3.6 Pentastar.

  • avatar
    anti121hero

    I will keep my 4.0’s as long as I can, thank you very much.

  • avatar
    derekson

    Presumably this is the same 276 HP 2.0T that is supposedly going to be in the non-performance Alfa Romeo Giulia. Seems like a good fit for the Wrangler, though I wonder if it will be the only option (or only gas option with a 2.8L diesel from VM perhaps as the other choice?).

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    I’m more interested in what this engine can do in FCAs other models.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Where’s the F`ing twin turbo 3.6L?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Wrong engine for the vehicle. The engine is only being used because most Wranglers are used as “hair dresser” transport, ie, for the look at me, aren’t I gorgeous set.

    The high output twin scroll turbo will have little off throttle torque/power. No good in an off road situation.

    I agree with Big Trucks a diesel is needed, but not the VM V6, but the 2.8.

    http://www.themotorreport.com.au/59405/jeep-wrangler-diesel–review-2014-unlimited-sport-28-crd-automatic

    • 0 avatar
      mason

      Twin scroll chargers are the best turbo off the line that is currently available. I’m not saying it is the best engine for this application but it won’t be as bad as many are making it out to be.

      How spoiled we have become. I am used to wheeling around in my “junk” 135 HP 3 speed LandCrusier. That thing would be an animal at 300HP.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Those old Cruiser engines were great for the soft stuff. The whole “biggest V8 turbo monster in the world needed for an “offroader,” only became a necessity once people started taking them on roads, and expecting to go faster than 50.

        I drove an old military 6 wheeler with supposedly around 130 horses. Thing must have weighed 5 tons, but had clearances to roll over downed trees like they weren’t even there. Great off road, a bit slow and crude (40-50mph before scary, the guys maintaining it said 40 max) on. But it did have a manual, and a flywheel seemingly off a marine engine, that wouldn’t stall no matter what you did.

        • 0 avatar
          mason

          It has been a great engine. Granted, it’s only got approximately 65k miles on it, but in nearly 50 years its never been opened up further than the valve cover. I once pulled my neighbor out down the road from me. He was trying to brush hog an area that was a little too wet for his 8N. Hardly broke a wheel loose pulling him out. My biggest gripe was the quirky 3 speed column shift but took care of that by converting it to a floor shift from a later model. I only wish it had another gear, preferably a low 1st gear for creeping around in the woods, but low range works so what the hell.

          I’m honestly lucky to put 500 miles a year on it anyway. Probably closer to 300-400 average. Hasn’t been registered in years so it only sees (very) local to me roads.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      It’s called a transfer case. They multiply torque and allow super low crawl speeds at elevated rpms. That’s is how off roading is done sans mudbogging and some extreme cases of rock crawling. Ironically this engine will do fine mudbogging.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “for the look at me, aren’t I gorgeous set.”

      That comment coming from the owner of a BT50 Mazda is irony (or envy)at its finest.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Along with most midsize rwd/4wd SUVS, the Wrangler finally requires V8 power, so why skirt it? The next generation promises to be an even bigger pig, and anything but a V8 means any small engine “economy” is gone from always having your foot in it, pushing the thing through the wind with high RPM or constantly spooled up turbo. Too much wind resistance including the ladder frame, axles, suspension, T-case, flat nose, shoebox cab, plus off road tires.

    A diesel would be completely laughable, besides pricey. Time to get real. It doesn’t have to be a HEMI, but maybe a 280 hp 4.6 V8. Let Europe have Wranglers with weenie engines off Alfa Romeos.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      Was the journey here from 2000 a rough one? Maybe you were cryogenically frozen for the last decade and a half, but the CURRENT Wrangler makes more than 280 HP from its 3.6L V6. Why would they need a 4.6L V8 to make 280 HP?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’d like a one way seat on the return flight please.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Even a 300 hp V6 doesn’t have nearly the pull of a 4.6 V8 with just 280 hp, even with more aggressive gearing used with the V6 drivetrain. Figure a 3.6 V6 is turning lots more RPM, while consuming just as much fuel or more, than a 4.6 V8, let alone if the V8 is tuned for economy, with hwy/economy gears.

        A V8 doesn’t have to be tuned for max power. 280 is more than enough. The 4.6 V8 in my F-150 is just 260 hp, (2 valve). It barely knows when it’s under a load.

        Without a properly sized engine for a given (increased) load, it’s just more chasing of ones own tail.

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          A smaller displacement engine with fewer cylinders making similar power will be more efficient and with the 8 speed it can run the same RPM on the highway making it more so.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @derekson – he is on a roll. Why disrupt it with logic.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    All these comments about torque. Ugh.
    You get rocm crawling torque via the low speed transfer case. Unless you are running very built axles a normal Rubicon’s MT crawl ratio of 73:1 will provide more than enough torque to get over anything. More torque without building elsewhere will break stuff.

    About the only valid comment I see is from gtemnykh. Throttle response is key as no turbo will give very consistent throttle response as torque changes with load.

    The “lack of low end torque comments” make me think people only off road on the internet or are ham footed “more gad is better” drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      This isn’t about off-road nuances. Any engine excels in 4Low. This is about its average mpg problem, CAFE, staging for the global market, plus sharing FCA engines to save a buck.

      Hair dresser, original owners are less concerned with “off-road” and rock climbing anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @See 7 up – I agree. throttle response would be the only issue but with drive by wire throttle control that could be tuned into the vehicle’s driving dynamics.

  • avatar

    Frankly, I do not see why anyone would want a 300 hp engine in Wrangler. I have 201 hp engine and it’s plenty in a Wrangler of about the same weight (e.g. not in YJ). That said, if the throttle calibration allows to ignore all that power easily, then I would not say no to improved fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Back in 1966, a couple of friends and I put an old Chevy 283 small-block V8 into an old WWII surplus Jeep. That was a fun car to toss around. All that torque! From idle on up.

      But four cylinders and forced-air induction? I find it hard to believe that the power&torque comes on at 600rpm.

      More likely, the power&torque comes on at 2000rpm with a six-second delay before it kicks in.

      Not exactly my cup of tea for rock-crawling. Or mudding, for that matter.

  • avatar
    zipper69

    “Any advances in the area of aerodynamics will have to be subtle, as the Wrangler’s traditional boxy shape is revered nearly as much as the U.S. Constitution”

    ..and there is the gorilla in the room. Fool with the mechanics how you will, but this is still a walk-in Freezer on wheels.

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