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We Drive The Jeep Wrangler 392 Concept

Jeep’s concept hints at the upcoming factory V-8-powered Jeep Wrangler.

Sean P. HolmanAuthor, Photography

The one complaint we always hear about the Jeep Wrangler is the lack of power. In fact, power was such a concern for owners that a cottage industry of aftermarket companies popped up to swap diesels and V-8s into Wranglers. Even Jeep has seemingly acknowledged the issue by going from one engine choice in the JK to four (really six), and maybe even more, in the JL.

Currently owners can equip their JLs with the 285-hp and 260 lb-ft of torque 3.6L Pentastar V-6, the 270-hp and 295 lb-ft of torque 2.0L turbocharged I4, and the 260-hp and 442 lb-ft of torque 3.0L turbocharged EcoDiesel. On Saharas, the 3.6L and 2.0L engines are even available as eTorque mild hybrids. And that doesn't even include the recently announced 4xe plug-in hybrid models for 2021.

Although all of these engines have their place in the lineup, what has always been missing from the factory is the true enthusiast option. Something with more than 300 hp and gobs of torque for wheeling or towing.

Well, Jeep has been listening and is responding to its customers by teasing the upcoming factory V-8 option with the 392 Concept, a Wrangler Unlimited with a 6.4L Hemi stuffed into the engine bay. You can read all about it here.

We were recently offered the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the 392 Concept for a brief drive in the hills around Southern California. What we can tell you is that the 450 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque is a game changer in the Wrangler. Backed by the 8HP75 eight-speed automatic transmission, acceleration is brisk, and shifts are lightning fast. Even with 3.73 gearing and 37-inch tires, the Wrangler always has enough power and effortlessly attacks the passing lane with no delay. It'll even bark the tires from a start at three-quarter throttle. In short, it's freaking awesome!

Nothing sounds as good as a V-8 at wide open throttle, and the 392 Concept has a dual-mode exhaust that can get even rowdier on demand. If you want a Wrangler and have been waiting for the V-8, you certainly won't be disappointed if the factory version is anywhere near this amazing.

One last note, the 392 Concept is sporting the latest iteration of the JL half doors that have been shown at various times since the JL was announced. This most recent design doesn't have the hole in them like the early ones did, and the interior panels are more refined, matching the JL's interior perfectly. We love the height of the doors while driving, allowing your elbow to fall in a natural place. Hopefully, we will see these in the Mopar catalog sooner than later.

We also hope we see the production V-8 Wrangler sooner than later. After enjoying the 392 Concept from the driver's seat, we are ready to put a factory V-8 Wrangler through its paces and maybe even in our driveway.