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2018 Jeep Wrangler JL to Get 368hp Turbo Four, According to Document Leak

Posted in News on October 6, 2017
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Photographers: Courtesy of JL Wrangler Forums

An official document between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was leaked recently, and it suggests the automaker might bless the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL with a 368hp 2.0L turbocharged I-4.

First leaked by the guerilla investigators at JL Wrangler Forums, the document lists the 2018 Wrangler’s two power sources, the new 2.0L turbo (codenamed Hurricane) and the carryover 3.6L Pentastar V-6. The spreadsheet betrays the Pentastar’s output, which at 285 hp is unchanged from the current Wrangler JK. More interestingly, the 2018 Wrangler’s turbocharged motor reportedly produces 368 hp.

That number, if accurate, would make it one of the most power-dense engines on the market today, at 184 hp per liter. For comparison, the turbo’d and supercharged Volvo XC90 makes 316 hp from its 2.0L four (for 158 hp per liter); the Hurricane might even nip at the heels of the wild Porsche 911 GT2 RS, which makes 184.2 hp for each of its 3.8 liters, for a total of 700 hp. For comparison, the most power-dense vehicles on the market today are the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 and CLA 45, which make 375 hp from their 2.0L turbocharged engines.

However, there’s a great deal of skepticism over at JL Wrangler Forums, with many commenters suggesting the power number on the NHTSA document is a typo. One forum member points out that the similarly sized engine in the aforementioned Mercedes-AMG gets 26.1 psi of turbo boost, requiring expensive forged engine internals to cope with the pressure. Such engine construction methods are unlikely, particularly at the Wrangler turbo’s expected $30,000 starting price. Indeed, if 368 hp is a typo, then 268 hp seems to be the most likely outcome for the JL’s turbocharged engine.

Another theory floating around is that the engine’s output is accurate, but it’s goosed a bit thanks to the Hurricane’s standard belt-driven starter generator (BSG) technology. Such mild-hybrid wizardry could potentially add 20 or 25 ponies to the powertrain’s combined output, meaning the engine alone would only have to produce about 345 hp (still a heady number for a 2.0L I-4).

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The final possibility is that the 368hp number is indeed a typo, but one that doesn’t account for that BSG technology. A 268hp I-4 combined with a 20–25hp mild-hybrid powertrain would yield a 290hp machine that offers good fuel economy, instant-on low-end torque, and improved high-altitude performance (thanks to that turbo).

Still a question mark is the supposedly confirmed diesel engine. Slated to arrive in 2018 for the 2019 model year, we expect the 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 to offer the same 240 hp and 420 lb-ft it makes in the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Plan on seeing up to 27 mpg from the Wrangler diesel.

Source: JL Wrangler Forums

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