The Jeep® brand has pulled the covers off of its 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392, the first Jeep halo vehicle to have a V8 under the hood in 40 years. That’s right, a V8 powered Wrangler from the factory. Answering the wants of many Jeep diehards, the V8 powered Wrangler will actually arrive in dealerships in 2021. But is it worth the hype? Is it enough to stomp out some of the Bronco’s steam?
Instead of dropping in the well-known and established 5.7-liter HEMI V8 under the hood of the Wrangler as it has in many concept vehicles, the Jeep team ended up throwing in the beloved 6.4-liter (392 cubic-inch) HEMI “Apache” V8. Unlike the concept Rubicon 392 that was briefly shown back in July which had 450 horsepower and 450 lb.-ft. of torque, the production model will muscle up 470 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s a lot more power than the 5.0-liter (304 cubic-inch) V8 that lay in the engine bay of the 1981 Jeep CJ with 125 horsepower and 220 lb.-ft. of torque.
To help put all the power down to the ground, the 392 HEMI is mated to a ZF-sourced 8HP75 8-speed automatic transmission. Sorry, no manual option here. The Rubicon 392 features steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and if the right condition exists, the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392 can do a 0 to 60 mph run in 4.5 seconds and can run the quarter-mile in 13 seconds flat. That’s pretty darn quick for a “Trail Rated” vehicle. Also, nearly 75% of the Wrangler Rubicon 392’s peak torque is available just above engine idle speed.
For those who fans of the Sport, Sport S, and Sahara models, unfortunately, the Rubicon is the only model that will get this powertrain. So what does that mean for capability? Rubicon 392 models will come equipped with Dana 44 axles, a full-time two-speed transfer case, Tru-Lok® electronic locking front and rear differentials, Fox shocks, an electronic front sway-bar disconnect for max articulation, and a 3.73 final-drive ratio. A new set of 17-inch Beadlock-capable wheels come standard and are wrapped in 33-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain K02 tires. Brakes have also been beefed up due to the added weight of the 392 HEMI.
But there are some things that really set the Rubicon 392 apart from the rest of the lineup. Starting with the hood from the popular Gladiator Mojave, the hood is fully functional and is branded with unique bronze-accented “392” badging, and the bronze-accent replaces all of the typical red accents on the Rubicon. A dual-mode quad-tip exhaust system is also standard and allows the 392 HEMI to have lots of grunt when opened up.
With a 2-inch lift over the standard Wrangler, the Rubicon 392 sits 1-inch higher than the standard Rubicon model. Rubicon 392 models have 10.3-inches of ground clearance, which is about half an inch less than the standard Rubicon. However, the Rubicon 392 does have an improved approach angle of 44.5 degrees, an improved departure angle of 37.5 degrees, and a breakover of 22.6 degrees.
Jeep states that it can also tackle up to 32.5-inches of water fording depth. This is done thanks in part to the new Hydro-Guide™ air induction system that can divert as much as 15 gallons of water per minute away from the engine. There is also a secondary intake to allow for the engine to continue to run, even when the functional hood scoop is blocked with mud.
Inside, there are a few minor differences from the standard Rubicon model. There is a bronze-colored accented stitching on the leather seats and steering wheel. Seats are embroidered with the standard Rubicon text, however, 392 script has been added as well. As we said before, for the first time ever there will be a pair of steering-wheel-mounted aluminum paddle shifters.
There are a number of features that are optional on the standard Rubicon, which is now standard on Rubicon 392. Those features include standard leather seats, Infotainment Group, the HD electrical switch brank, body-colored hard-top, body-colored flares, Steel Bumper Group, LED Lighting Group, Cold Weather Group, remote proximity entry, Safety Group, and Advanced Safety Group. So expect the Rubicon 392 to be a pretty loaded model, right off the get-go.
Although the Rubicon 392 is only available on the Unlimited (four-door) configuration, Jeep said the Rubicon 392 will be able with all of the Wrangler’s roof options. This includes the Sky One-Touch power top. Jeep will even have the Wrangler’s new half-door option available. Customers will be able to shop from the comprehensive Mopar portfolio of Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) for the ultimate off-road adventure, including LED off-road lights, Rubicon winch, Ultimate Dana 44 Advantek front axle with gear ratios available up to 5.38, new off-road Beadlock-capable wheels suitable for larger tires, tube doors, off-road bumpers, rock rails and more.
The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392 is available in 9 exterior colors that include Black, Bright White, Firecracker Red, Granite Crystal Metallic, Punk ’n Metallic, Sarge Green Metallic, Snazzberry Metallic, Sting-Gray Metallic, and Billet Silver Metallic. All Rubicon 392 models feature a black interior.
So how much will it cost? Jeep isn’t saying. We expect that the Jeep brand will announce pricing closer to its official release. The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392 will join the rest of the Wrangler lineup, including the new 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe lineup in the new year.
2021 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392 Image Gallery: