Our spy photographer caught the lauded Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 concept out in the wild as it begins pre-production testing. According to Road & Track, a source inside FCA’s factories mention that 30 units of the V-8 Jeep have rolled off of the Toledo, OH assembly line, presumably building pre-production units like this one. While concepts are most often handled by in-house build teams squirreled away in some secret studio, the fact that these came down the standard assembly line points to a good chance it’ll make it to the final green light, as these pre-production units act as testbeds for the assembly line’s workflow.
Power will come from a variant of the “392,” a 6.4L Hemi that muscles everything from the Dodge Challenger and Charger to the heavy-duty Ram pick-ups. Horsepower and torque will reportedly sit square in between the Dodge line-up with 450 hp and 450 lb-ft. The familiar ZF eight-speed will back the big-inch powerplant, and power will continue through the Rubicon’s desirable 4:1 transfer case and lockable Dana 44s. The trolling between Jeep and Ford will only increase from here, and with Ford’s focus on small-displacement, turbocharged powertrains, the V-8 will keep the Wrangler comfortable — for now. The likelihood of Ford installing any of their V-8s into the Ranger-based Bronco is as limited by their ethos as much the physical dimensions of their current line of V-8s, especially the dual-overhead-cam Coyote. On the flip-side, Jeep now has the most comprehensive engine line-up in any 4×4 product, with a plug-in hybrid, diesel, V-6, and now (hopefully) a V-8.
While we wait for Jeep and FCA to drop the final hammer on the MSRP and production date, check out our gallery and let us know what you’d climb with your own V-8 Wrangler!