The news lately has been wall-to-wall 2021 Ford Bronco, and that’s quite understandable. It’s going to be one of the most noteworthy new SUVs in recent memory. But while the Bronco’s been away, the Jeep Wrangler has been holding down the fort for open-air off-road-oriented SUVs. It helps that the Jeep already has a stacked powertrain options list, which includes a turbo-diesel V-6, a torque-rich turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and a traditional gas V-6 that makes 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque and pairs with an available six-speed manual gearbox. What the Wrangler hasn’t offered is a V-8 under its hood, which makes this teaser image shared by Jeep to its Facebook page even more compelling.
Sure, we’ve driven Wranglers converted by AEV with FCA’s 6.4-liter “Hemi” V-8, but the Italian-American company’s never built a Hemi-powered Wrangler of its own for public consumption. This teaser image, however, indicates this may change. And as the “392” badge on the hood indicates, the V-8 Wrangler will employ the higher-zoot version of the Hemi engine that’s found in various FCA products, such as the Dodge Challenger, Charger, and Durango. It makes in the neighborhood of 475-485 hp depending on the specific application.
Is this a Wrangler or a Gladiator? We’re not sure since the vehicles are so similar fore of the B-pillar. But we do know that Jeep North America boss Tim Kuniskis has said that the V-8 can fit in both vehicles but would impede crash safety. Perhaps the company’s found a workaround that’s cost-effective, or it just decided to spend the money to give the Wrangler/Gladiator an edge over the upcoming Bronco. It’s also possible that this 392-powered Jeep is merely another concept, like the 6.4-liter Sandstorm we saw a few years back. While we hope it’s the former, it’s probably best not to get your hopes up until Jeep tells us more about what this cryptic image means.