Jeep’s V8-powered Wrangler Has so Much More than 470 Horsepower

After generations of teasing its enthusiasts with V8-powered Wrangler concepts, Jeep has finally bolted a 6.4-liter V8 under the hood of the JLU for the 2021 model year. It makes 470 horsepower and 470 foot-pounds of torque. And, amazingly, that’s just the tip of the iceberg for this American off-roader.

This week, Jeep revealed what was the least-kept secret in the automotive industry: The Wrangler Rubicon 392 powered by none other than the brand’s venerable 6.4-liter HEMI V8 engine. It’s a rig Jeep enthusiasts and, if I’m honest, off-road and 4×4 enthusiasts in general, have been clamoring for over the last half century.

It’s finally here and, well, there’s delightfully more to the 392 than its big ol’ engine. Let’s dig in.

We’ll start first with that big lump of American steel, the 6.4-liter V8, which seems to be making its appearance in virtually every vehicle built by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). No matter which vehicle it blesses with its torquiness, it has the same effect: impressive acceleration.

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The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is as quick from 0 to 60 miles per hour as the Dodge Challenger Scat Pack. At an estimated 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds, the Wrangler 392 is 40% faster to 60 mph from a stand still than the 3.6-liter V6-powered Wrangler Unlimited.

The 392 is capable of this relatively blistering 0-60 time thanks to its intuitive full-time four-wheel drive system, which includes a two-speed transfer case and electronic locking differentials. Furthermore, the Off-Road Plus mode allows drivers to engage the locking rear differential in 4 High.

To handle all the power churned out by the 392 V8, Jeep upgraded the JLU’s frame rails, and bolted up heavy-duty wide track Dana 44 axles. The suspension geometry was changed and a 2.0-inch suspension lift was added from the factory, resulting in improved approach and departure angles compared to the non-V8-powered JLU. Brakes at all four corners were beefed, as were the FOX shocks.

Air intake comes from both a functional hood scoop as well as a secondary hood intake. The secondary intake was added to ensure that, even if the hood scoop is full of mud and debris, the engine can suck in enough air to operate at full speed. Water fording capabilities are up, too — the Wrangler 392 can drive through water 32.5 inches deep.

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Exhaust from the HEMI is routed through a dual-mode exhaust system with quad tail pipes operated with an in-dash button. Finishing off the whole look are the new available half doors, which add some classic Jeep visual distinction to the 392 model, as well as bronze accents around the badging, on the tow hooks, and throughout the cabin.

Certainly, this truck was built more as a muscle Wrangler than an overland rig. But who’s to say it couldn’t be an ideal all-round overland platform, too? Having more power never hurts — especially from a motor as tried and true as the 6.4-liter. Plus, having intuitive full-time four-wheel drive is a feature no self-respecting overlander would shake a stick at.

Ultimately, this feels like the Wrangler to best all Wranglers. It’ll be incredible to drive on the road and off. It’ll go like a bat out of hell and climb just about anything. And it’ll have all the modern technical refinements most new-vehicle buyers crave.

It’s truly a Wrangler you could own for decades, enjoy the hell out of, and still recoup a lot of your initial investment when you’re eventually ready to sell it. Let’s’ make no mistake: the Wrangler Rubicon 392 is a future collectible classic. Get one now while you can. If you don’t, you’ll be sorry you missed out.


Header image: Jeep

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