By on July 13, 2020

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There’s nothing coincidental about the timing of this vehicle’s release. Alas, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept is exactly that, a concept, though Fiat Chrysler’s off-road brand strongly hints that it will become a reality one day.

That confirmation, if it is forthcoming, will take place long after the debut of a vehicle this concept is meant to fight: the Ford Bronco.

You’ll recall that Jeep raised eyebrows by releasing a teaser shot of the vehicle’s hood on Saturday morning, leading car watchers to deduce that Jeep planned to battle its rival’s new off-roader with a muscular Wrangler boasting horsepower the Bronco couldn’t top. And that ncould still be the plan.

Jeep claims the concept is “an indication” that fans who’ve demanded a V8-powered Wrangler for years “may soon get their wish.” Better follow through on that suggestion, Jeep.

With a detuned 6.4-liter Hemi under hood (450 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque, vs the stock 6.4L’s 485 hp/475 lb-ft), the Rubicon 392 Concept further beefs up the package with Dana 44 axles, electronic locking differentials, a full-time two-speed transfer case, and a 2-inch lift courtesy of Mopar’s vast catalog of Jeep Performance Parts. Suspension enhancements include Fox monotube shocks, with more terrain-tackling capacity attained via 37-inch mud-and-snow tires wrapped around 17-inch beadlock wheels. A beefed-up eight-speed automatic doles out the power.

Externally, the concept sets itself apart from other Wrangler Unlimiteds with a power bulge hood and air scoop, shaved fenders, and half doors. There’ll be plenty of side curtain acreage to stash when the power fold-down top gets put to use.

But it’s still a concept, and on a day where a very real off-road vehicle will see the light of day at Ford, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 comes across as a cynical diversionary tactic, even if it does one day enter production.

Which isn’t to say this concept isn’t both cool and desirable.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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22 Comments on “Timing Is Everything: Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392… Concept...”


  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Is the Bronco designed to accommodate the new Ford 445 gasser?

  • avatar
    NoID

    37″ tires would be quite a jump from the 33″ tires on the Rubicon today.

    If Jeep really does offer this it will be quite the send. From an engineering perspective, combining 450HP and 37″ tires in one fell swoop is not small potatoes.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      Everything required to move a current jeep to 37″ wheels is available right now from Mopar for dealer installation. They have a transmission rated to handle that much torque already also with 3.73. Seems like the engine swap has been figured out to some extent.

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        While this is true, generally the dealer-installed items don’t make it onto the development fleet for durability testing, and you’ll find the warranty terms on such parts are often not as high as the standard terms. This isn’t always the case, but it isn’t unusual across the OEMs.

        The reliability/durability requirements for the OEMs are quite severe, so it isn’t just a matter of making the parts fit and handle the peak loads. For options offered from the factory, they need to survive the full tests, which is easier said than done.

        I can’t speak for Jeep’s current MOPAR offerings, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out that this is the case.

        • 0 avatar
          MrIcky

          I think the MOPAR offerings with Jeep may not be the average offerings. It only takes a 2 inch lift to fit 37s. Heavier duty axles and ring and pinions are in there. They sell fox shocks. Oh it’s ungodly expensive, but it is very good stuff.

          • 0 avatar
            NoID

            Oh, I don’t doubt that the hardware is very robust when compared to the typical aftermarket offerings. What I cannot be certain of is if they’re robust to the extreme vehicle testing that OEMs subject their production hardware to.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            If they are fitting 37’s with a 2 inch lift, I’m betting that those tires are going to be more narrow than your typical 37 or even 35. Ford advertises 35’s on the Tremor with basically the same lift but those tires are 285’s which are 11.2 inches wide not your typical 12.5 inch or 315’s.

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          Road and track had an article and it was reported there were 30 mules in this configuration driving around. Sounds like maybe some durability testing is in place.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    A Wrangler 392 is so over the top that I don’t see it as an actual competitor to the Bronco. Furthermore, anyone buying a Wrangler 392 is probably a Jeep/Mopar fan anyway, so offering a competitive Bronco version may be a waste of time.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      Bronco is going to bring new off-roaders (and mall crawlers) into the fold and convert dissatisfied Wrangler owners. You’re correct, the die-hards are not changing their ways.

      I’d really like to see how a 392 Wrangler would do in sand dunes. I’ve spent a little bit of time there and power seemed to cure all wounds. I watched a first-gen Porsche Cayenne with seemingly zero modifications (except for removing some fascias) running a clinic on some other rigs in their party.

      I also witnessed a mildly modified Grand Cherokee Trackhawk (1″ lift, which really just eliminated the 1″ drop for SRT duty, and base model fascias) pulling an accompanying Wrangler Rubicon out of a bind once or twice. That monster was UNSTOPPABLE.

      I will note that neither the Cayenne or Trackhawk had special tires, just their aired-down street tires.

      • 0 avatar
        MrIcky

        Not being sarcastic- are there that many dissatisfied Wrangler owners? They’re constantly rated as one of the vehicles with the highest owner retention plus one of the highest vehicle retained values? If I read any complaints, it’s that they need more power.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          The complaints I’ve heard is the need for low end torque. The base 2.0 turbo four puts out more torque than the old AMC 4.2 inline six, but at higher rpms.

          Anyway, the Bronco won’t eat into Wrangler’s 4WD market. All FCA has to do is pull out the old advertising slogan, “We wrote the book on four wheel drive”.

          My best guess is that Bronco will be most popular in 2WD form, more suitable for low-speed freeway chases than off-road activity.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      V8 engine swaps for the Jeep Wrangler are a dime-a-dozen in the aftermarket. A friend had an engine failure in his just off warranty Jeep. He discovered after all was said and done that a 5.7 swap would have been cheaper than the mess he had to go through.

      Hardcore Jeep owners won’t consider a Bronco but there probably enough buyers out their that would leave Jeep.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    Considering the sticker prices of current Wranglers, this thing would cost 300 Grand LOL

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    It’s a clear case of one-up-man-ship with Jeep perhaps a bit worried that the Bronco may be everything the Jeep is EXCEPT the availability of one honkin’ big V8

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    The Wrangler chassis cannot handle the power output of this engine. Can’t use it for towing because it’s a terrible tow platform. It’s good for straight line acceleration and bragging right, period. Now, blasting up a sand dune, sure, but that’s about 0.00001% of all buyers use case.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      Depending on what area of the country you live in, dune running is one of the most easily accessible and least risky avenues to enjoy an off road vehicle. Really the only way to screw up your vehicle are to be very careless, whereas in rock climbing it’s very easy to take good care of what you’re doing and still scratch/dent/damage your vehicle significantly.

      I haven’t done much off roading, but I’ve spent a few days in the dunes in both the midwest and on the west coast, in everything from FWD-AWD CUVs to BoF off-roaders, and it was a blast in all of them. The only damage I imparted to anything was losing the rear fascia on a Range Rover Evoque, and that was easily repaired.

      As an aside, that Evoque was the Little Engine That Could. Big props to the AWD system designers and calibrators on that one.

    • 0 avatar

      Big honkin v8’s with tall tires are a great combo for mud boggin which is a very big deal in Florida Louisiana and other areas. Here in the northeast offoad I never really wanted for more power in any of my rigs except when in a deep mud hole. I had friend who used to do mud racin in a 300 I6 F150 on 35’s and low gears. He did OK but was almost always whooped by the guys running big block chevy blazers and pickups.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Neat concept. Use the 345Ci engine in the production version.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    If I can hear the tire noise from your vehicle from inside my vehicle, with my windows up, a/c on and music playing, then your life has achieved a level of significance which should show all those naysayers once and for all (including your dad, wherever he is).

    [Well done, young man. Now what will you drive next?]

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    On the jeep boards, it really is pretty much the number 1 thing requested – maybe not the 392 specifically- but put a v8 in it. Should be interesting to see what the the actual take rate would be on this vs what you read in the forums. Personally, it seems like the diesel would tick all my boxes.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The Wrangler has a diesel option, the 3.0 eco-diesel V6. It’s only available on the Unlimited 4-door, but over 400 lb-ft of torque is nothing to sneeze at. You’ll have to drive with one arm and one leg, because that’s what it will cost you.

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