Timing Is Everything: Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392… Concept
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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