'Nice Little Bronco You Got There…' - Jeep Fights Newfound Competition With Muscle
Having watched The Hunt for Red October last night, your author knows all too well what can happen when two superpowers engage in a game of brinkmanship. He’d also like to see Montana.
Having enjoyed years of nearly complete dominance in the true off-road SUV market in America, Jeep now finds itself in a battle against a vehicle no consumer has yet laid eyes on: the Ford Bronco, due for a public unveiling on Monday. On Saturday morning, Jeep decided to crank that newfound rivalry up to “11”, teasing a future product with a monster engine.
Via a wordless Facebook post, Jeep let a number do all the talking.
The badge adorning the Wrangler’s (or Gladiator’s) newly power-bulged hood marks the all-American displacement of Fiat Chrysler’s 6.4-liter Hemi V8, a naturally aspirated big boy slotted between the automaker’s 5.7-liter Hemi and supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat engines. A fun toy in the Dodge Charger and Challenger, the 6.4L also serves as the base engine in Ram’s HD pickups.
In a Wrangler or Wrangler-based vehicle, the 6.4L, which generates 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque in Dodge’s SRT products, would make for a swift machine indeed. When placed under the hood of a Challenger, the 392 can rocket the portly coupe to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
The Bronco hasn’t even has a chance to bare its secrets and already Jeep is fighting it with what one can only assume is upcoming product. This didn’t go unnoticed at the Blue Oval.
*whisper voice* (someone is nervous) pic.twitter.com/fltgqDNdac
— Mike Levine (@mrlevine) July 11, 2020
Nervous? Perhaps, though Jeep’s Wrangler boasts heritage and name recognition that even the Bronco can’t match. And unless Ford decides to Raptor-ize its upcoming body-on-frame two-and four-door SUV, the Jeep will handily beat it in terms of available power.
The question, of course, is — does the addition of a larger available engine really sweeten the overall pot all that much? A vehicle aimed at rock crawlers and other off-road adventurers doesn’t really seem like a great fit for a honking muscle car motor. All that extra weight and power would do nothing for someone inching along in low range, brow beaded with sweat as jagged boulders threaten their undercarriage. If it’s low-end pull you’re looking for, the Wrangler — and now the Gladiator — offers a 3.0-liter diesel.
It’s entirely superfluous. Yet Jeep saw fit to add the 6.2L Hellcat engine to its Grand Cherokee line, transforming the SUV into the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Bragging rights and ostentatiousness still counts for something in the truck/SUV realm, especially in the sector that waves the stars and strips proudly above its head.
And it’s not like owners weren’t already outfitting their Wranglers with V8 power via the aftermarket. Jeep isn’t talking about the Facebook post, of course, presumably preferring to its powder dry until the time is right to touch off the pan.
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