Jeep Australia has signalled its interest in a V8-powered Jeep Wrangler, saying such a model would have "huge appeal" in Australia.
This comes after Jeep revealed the Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept just hours before Ford revealed its new Bronco.
The 392 badge refers to the engine capacity in cubic-inches, equating to the 6.4-litre Hemi.
In this application Jeep quotes an output of 335kW/610Nm, a healthy increase over the 209kW/347Nm made by the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6.
"A Hemi bolted into a Wrangler would definitely be on my driveway" said Jeep Australia boss Kevin Flynn. "We'll make all the right noises, and I think we're as enthusiastic as you guys."
It is only a concept for Jeep at this point, and the company hasn't confirmed it will go into production in left- or right-hand-drive.
However, the concept shows Jeep is actively testing the waters for such a model.
“We are anxious to gauge (buyer) reaction to this new Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept, a vehicle that delivers an incredible and unmatched level of fun-to-drive performance and capability, on- and off-road,” Jeep said in a media statement.
If the V8-powered Wrangler does make it into production, it’s not a simple case of copy-and-paste for the Australian market.
“The left-hand, right-hand drive thing is always a challenge, particularly in those types of special vehicles,” said Flynn.
“Because if the engine goes in and it's easy, then it's easy. If there's changes that need to be made in the engineering, cost of engineering sometimes outstrips the market."
In other words: If it’s going to cost Jeep too much money to accommodate the right-hand drive conversion with modifications to the platform, then it’s not going to happen.
It all depends on how much room there is for steering, braking, chassis and other engine components when also accommodating a big 6.4-litre V8 under the bonnet.
A good example of this from the same stable is the Jeep Gladiator, whose 3-litre V6 ‘EcoDiesel’ hasn’t been engineered for right-hand drive markets.
That means in a diesel-dominated market, the Gladiator will only have the 3.6-litre petrol V6 at its disposal.