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Concept No More: Jeep Announces 6.4L V-8 Will Come to Production Wrangler JL in 2021

Jeep’s V-8 Wrangler boasts 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful factory Wrangler ever.

Jeep's V-8 Wrangler boasts 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful factory Wrangler ever.

It is officially official. Jeep announced today that the long-awaited 392ci Hemi V-8 is finally coming to the '21 Wrangler as a factory option. Like the concept 392, Jeep's Wrangler Rubicon 392 will make 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque and be backed by a high-torque-capacity TorqueFlite 8HP75 eight-speed automatic transmission. This marks the first time Jeep has ever offered the Wrangler from the factory with a V-8, though CJs had the option 40 years ago.

Of course, Jeep could have just shoehorned a V-8 into the JL platform and called it a day, but the 392 model features a nice list of upgrades. It starts with a V-8 that is specifically tuned to the Wrangler and includes a higher-flowing grille and a functional and innovative hood scoop air induction system dubbed "Hydro-Guide." This hood scoop provides a cooler, denser intake charge to the air-hungry V-8. To ensure the Wrangler Rubicon 392 is always getting fresh air, the Hydro-Guide system uses a tri-level ducting system with a series of drains that can separate water from air to the tune of 15 gallons per minute. This is especially helpful for torrential downpours or river crossings that might see a bow wake wash over the hood. Incidentally, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 has a fording depth rating of 32.5 inches. Jeep engineers also planned for snow, mud, or debris blocking this primary intake path and have included a secondary path that opens up if the hood scoop is blocked.

 

The exhaust is also pretty exotic for a Wrangler. It sports an active dual-mode setup that is not only tuned for performance but also has an unmistakable V-8 wail. The quad-tipped system operates without any input from the driver and can open up valves in the exhaust system to reduce backpressure during spirited romps. A button on the dash allows the driver to activate the system at the touch of a button for the full-rowdy experience.

Jeep says that 75 percent of the 392's torque is available just off idle and that the cast iron block and aluminum head Hemi can cover 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds (or the quarter mile in just 13 seconds). The 6.4L V-8 has all the tricks in the book, including an active intake manifold, variable camshaft timing, two spark plugs per cylinder, sodium-filled exhaust valves, hollow-stem intake valves, piston oil cooling jets, and a tank-mounted fuel pump. The oil pan is a rear sump style, and like in other Jeeps, the alternator is mounted high on the accessory drive to protect it from mud and water. Cylinder deactivation also helps with the as yet to be released fuel economy numbers.

Power flows through the aforementioned eight-speed automatic transmission, which can be shifted using the standard aluminum paddles and executes a shift-map changing strategy to adjust shifting parameters on the fly, always ensuring the transmission is doing what is expected of it. The eight-speed also uses smaller ratio steps between the gears to make the Wrangler Rubicon 392 more responsive on- and off-road. A full-time Selec-Trac transfer case with a 2.72:1 low range, along with 3.73 gearing, aids in getting all that power to the ground and gives the 392 a 48:1 crawl ratio. Transfer case settings are 4WD Auto, 4WD High, Neutral (allowing the Wrangler Rubicon 392 to be flat towed), and 4WD Low.

Even the chassis of the JL has been beefed up for V-8 duty, with upgraded frame rails, beefier front upper control arms, and cast iron steering knuckles. Heavier-duty brakes have also been included for increased stopping performance. Wide-track Dana 44s are used front and rear with thicker axles tubes and Tru-Lok locking differentials.

But wait, there's more! To make the Wrangler Rubicon 392 just a little more special, a factory 2-inch lift with high-performance aluminum FOX monotube shocks is included. It's almost as if Jeep is daring you to toss out the 33-inch tires mounted on the beadlock-capable 17x7.5-inch wheels for a set of 35s, or even 37s. Of course, an electronic front sway-bar disconnect increases suspension articulation even further. The Wrangler Rubicon 392 has 10.3 inches of ground clearance, plus approach, breakover, and departure angles of 44.5, 22.6, and 37.5 degrees.

Jeep has also added a few extra goodies for those who plan to use their Wrangler Rubicon 392s, such as Off-Road Pages to the 8.4-inch Uconnect system, allowing owners to monitor pitch, roll, altitude, GPS coordinates, drivetrain power distribution, and more. Off-Road Plus also comes to Wrangler for the first time and now has Rock and Sand modes, in additional to allowing use of the rear locker in 4-Hi. Selec-Speed Control is also available. Think of it as cruise control for rock crawling, as it can maintain 1-5 mph without any throttle or brake input from the driver.

 

 

The Wrangler Rubicon 392 will be available in nine colors (Black, Bright White, Firecracker Red, Granite Crystal Metallic, Punk 'n Metallic, Sarge Green Metallic, Snazzberry Metallic, Sting-Gray Metallic, and Billet Silver Metallic), all with a black leather interior sporting a fat-rimmed performance steering wheel and increased seat bolstering. Bronze accents, both throughout the interior and on the exterior, serves to differentiate the V-8-powered Wrangler from other models. Also, the 392 includes 11 premium options as standard equipment.

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 will only be offered in a four-door body style and goes on sale in the first quarter of 2021.