Ford hasn’t exactly made it a secret that the 2021 Bronco is a direct shot at the market-dominating Jeep Wrangler. And from what we’ve seen so far, Fiat Chrysler certainly has a lot to worry about. But like it typically does, Jeep appears to be solving its competitive problems with the tried-and-true method it always uses – stuffing a V8 in something. On the same day the Bronco reveal is scheduled to take place (which can be seen here), Jeep has unveiled its Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept.
Jeep hasn’t sold one of its off-roaders with a V8 engine since the 1981 CJ, but now, it’s finally caving in. The Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept is powered by a 6.4L (392 cubic-inch) V8 that produces 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque and is backed up by an eight-speed automatic transmission. The automaker says that it will do 0-60 in less than five seconds, which is significantly faster than the 7.5 seconds it takes the current Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel to get there.
The Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept is more than just a regular Unlimited stuffed with a V8, too. It features a host of additional goodies including third-generation Dana 44 axles, a Selec-Track full-time two-speed transfer case, Tru-Lok electric front- and rear-axle locking differentials, 37 inch mud-terrain tires that wrap around custom 17 inch beadlock wheels, and a Jeep Performance Parts two-inch lift kit from Mopar.
To help it accommodate the extra power that V8 delivers, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept features upgraded engine mounts and a modified frame. Suspension upgrades include new aluminum, monotube Fox shocks for improved damping and heat dissipation. A two-mode exhaust alters the sound of the 392 at the touch of a button.
On the outside, the concept wears Rubicon rock rails, steel bumpers with a Warn winch, and a steel belly pan. The entire thing is covered in Granite Crystal exterior paint with Bronze accentuated tow hooks, badging, springs, shocks, and wheels. A heavy-duty raised performance hood adds a bit of aggression, and joins custom half doors and Wrangler’s Sky One-touch powertop with removable side panels.
The interior has received a few custom touches as well, including Red Rock-colored leather bolstered seats with gold stitching and a performance steering wheel.
Of course, none of this really matters to Wrangler or Bronco fans if FCA doesn’t green light the Rubicon 392 Concept for production. But by the sounds of things, it seems like it’s at least thinking about it. “Jeep enthusiasts have been clamoring for a V8 powered production Wrangler in recent years and the new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept is an indication they may soon get their wish,” the automaker said.
While we highly doubt the 2021 Ford Bronco will be available with a V8 (at least at launch), we also doubt that this surprise unveiling will do anything to dampen the reborn SUV’s reveal tonight. Instead, it seems like FCA’s attempt at spoiling the party will go largely unnoticed, as it has several times in the past.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on the Wrangler and all the Bronco’s competition moving forward, so be sure to subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Bronco news and around-the-clock Ford news coverage.