CAUGHT: Is Jeep® Working On A New Gladiator Hercules Model?

Is The Turbo Six Coming?

There have been rumors on the interwebs for the past several months that the Jeep® brand, is hard at work on a high-performance Gladiator model. While it is still common to see partial camouflaged Gladiator models running around the streets of Metro Detroit, this week our spy photographers have caught several Gladiator models driving around with full vinyl camouflage showcasing some very interesting parts that are different than their production siblings.

2021 Jeep® Gladiator Hercules Prototype. (Spiedbilde).

While at first glance, many might just think this might be an EcoDiesel variant of the Gladiator, but recently we have seen the upcoming 2020 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited Sahara driving on public roads without any camouflage what so ever. If this were a diesel prototype, usually manufacturers will put stickers over the fuel door stating for development drivers to put in a specific fuel type in the vehicle. Most commonly a green sticker would be applied if it was “diesel”, these trucks have a “regular unleaded” sticker in white instead.

2021 Jeep® Gladiator Hercules Prototype. (Spiedbilde).

They’re also a few other features that set these trucks apart from the current production Gladiators. The obvious detail is the 6-spoke 17-inch wheels, on the Gladiator Rubicon’s Falken Wildpeak M/T tires. What else is interesting is that the hood is in full heavy vinyl camouflage. When comparing the spy photos to pictures of the Gladiator Rubicon, it looks as though there might be a new hood design underneath.  We noticed in the photos of the Gladiator pulling the Featherlite trailer, doesn’t have the foam under the camouflage like the red camouflaged Gladiator and looks to have different body lines than the dual vented hood on the Rubicon model.

2021 Jeep® Gladiator Hercules Prototype. (Real Fast Fotography).

One of the biggest complains that owners of the all-new Gladiator have had, is the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. A lot of people feel that the truck lacks the power a midsize truck should. Our own Co-Editor Jared Belfour mentioned that he felt that the 2020 Jeep® Gladiator Rubicon that we had for a week, “needed more low-end torque”. Our contributor “Recovering Banker” of Gladiator Gang has said, “a couple more cylinder would make all the difference.”

2021 Jeep® Gladiator Hercules Prototype. (Spiedbilde).

So is Jeep listening to its owners and fixing the power issue under the hood? We know the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel will be here in early 2020, but there is one powertrain that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has been working on that has sparked a lot of interest, the upcoming GME-T6 (or Global Medium Engine – Turbo 6-Cylinder). That’s right a turbocharged inline-6 cylinder engine. Could this be it? 

2021 Jeep® Gladiator Hercules Prototype. (Real Fast Fotography).

Back in January, there was rumors hitting the interwebs about an upcoming Gladiator called “Hercules”. This model would be a high-performance model of the Gladiator, competing with the likes of the Ford Ranger Raptor. According to our sources, the new GME-T6 will have different levels of outputs. This gasoline engine inline-6 cylinder will also offer a so-called High-Output version pushing around 525 horsepower. 

2021 Jeep® Gladiator Hercules Prototype. (Real Fast Fotography).

Our spy photographers have said that the development drivers were still covering up these prototypes when they came to a rest stop. That in itself is unusual, as most vehicles that still carry camouflage are usually left uncovered after they make their official public appearance. So what is Jeep hiding? Stay tuned as we continue to look more into this recent discovery.

2021 Jeep® Gladiator Hercules Prototypes Image Gallery:


Mike Volkmann

Michael Volkmann, a mechanical engineer in the steel industry, autocrossed and road-raced Neons. Michael has drag raced his 1971 Duster 340, 2015 Dodge Charger SRT392, 2009 Challenger R/T, and Neons, of which he’s owned seven — one SRT4, three ACRs, and three Sport Coupes.

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