Jeep has officially revealed its most powerful Wrangler ever, the Rubicon 392, for the US market.
Getting the bad news out of the way first, this 350kW/637Nm monster is being produced in left-hand drive only, and Jeep says there are no plans for right-hand-drive for now. No doubt there are plenty of local Jeep fans who hope that might change one day.
All that power comes via the '392' namesake, whose cubic inches refers to the 6.4-litre 'Hemi' V8 under the bonnet. It's the first V8 powered Wrangler in 40 years, which has historically relied mostly on six-cylinder power for motivation.
This turns the Wrangler into an impressively fast car. The company claims it can do the 0 to 100km/h dash in 4.5 seconds, and 13 seconds flat for the quarter-mile.
The Wrangler Rubicon 392 will only come in four-door 'Unlimited' format, without a short-wheelbase 'Limited' variant.
Unfortunately, the V8 Wrangler follows in the tyre tracks of the 600Nm Gladiator Ecodiesel, which is also being produced only in left-hand-drive format only.
However, before Australians start getting carried away looking at crate motor options, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 has significant mechanical changes beyond what lies under the bonnet.
In an effort to put all of that power to the ground, all four wheels are permanently driven in the V8-powered Wrangler. There's a strengthened Torqueflite 8HP75 eight-speed automatic gearbox, which runs through to Jeep's 2.72:1 'Select-Trac' low-range transfer case.
Heavy-duty Dana 44 locking axles, borrowed from the Gladiator, carry a 3.73:1 gear ratio, and yield a 48:1 crawl ratio. This isn't as deep as the regular Wrangler Rubicon, which has a prodigiously low 77:1 crawl ratio.
The Rubicon 392 also picks up the Off-Road+ switch from the Gladiator, which tweaks throttle, traction control and gearbox tuning to suit low-range crawling. It also allows engagement of the locking rear differential in high-range, for more spirited off-road driving.
In further efforts to handle the engine, the Wrangler's ladder chassis has been beefed up with stronger frame rails, upper control arms and cast-iron steering knuckles. The electronically disconnecting front swaybar, a favourite party trick of the Rubicon, remains for the 392 variant.
Suspension gets tweaked, with the factory-backed Mopar two-inch suspension kit, using Fox-branded aluminium monotube shock absorbers. 17-inch wheels are wrapped in the same 33-inch diameter rubber of a regular Rubicon, even though the suspension lift allows clearance for much bigger tyres.
For those who like the sound of a noisy V8, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 has an active dual-mode exhaust system. And for when it comes to stopping, Jeep lists heavy-duty 15-inch (381mm) brakes as another upgrade.
In terms of aesthetics, bronze badging , wheels and decals separate the 392 from it's lesser stablemates, along with a unique forward-facing bonnet scoop. It sits 40mm taller, and isn't just there for looks: it feeds cold air to the engine intake.
And naturally, for those wanting improved off-road ability, there is a huge range of genuine and aftermarket accessories and components ready to go for the Wrangler Rubicon 392.
Pricing has not been revealed yet, but we understand the Wrangler Rubicon 392 will be available in the US in early 2021.
If a right-hand drive version becomes available, a representative for Jeep Australia said they would be "first to put up our hand".