The Jeep Wrangler has never been offered with a V8 engine, but that’s about to change as spy photographers have snapped a high-performance model undergoing testing in Michigan.
Set to pick up where the V8-powered CJ-7 left off, this prototype echoes the Rubicon 392 concept which was unveiled earlier this month. While the styling changes are barely noticeable, the model has been equipped with a bulging, ram air hood. We can also see a four-tailpipe exhaust system hiding beneath the rear bumper.
Little else is known about the model, but the concept features a 6.4-liter V8 engine that produces 450 hp (336 kW / 456 PS) and 450 lb-ft (609 Nm) of torque. It is connected to an upgraded eight-speed automatic transmission which sends power to a four-wheel drive system. This enables the concept to run from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in less than five seconds.
Jeep has been tight-lipped about the production model but, when they unveiled the Rubicon 392 concept, the company noted enthusiasts have been clamoring for a V8-powered Wrangler and “may soon get their wish.” That suggests the model could be introduced relatively soon and we’re sure Jeep wants to steal as much attention away from the Ford Bronco as possible.
While Jeep is staying quiet, it remains unclear if the production model will use the aforementioned 6.4-liter V8 or the more mainstream 5.7-liter V8. If it’s the latter, we can expect an output of around 360 hp (268 kW / 365 PS) and 390 lb-ft (520 Nm) of torque.
Regardless of which engine is under the hood, it will be a significant improvement over the 3.6-liter V6 which churns out 285 hp (213 kW / 289 PS) and 260 lb-ft (353 Nm) of torque. Of course, the big question is whether or not the model will be offered with a stick.
Picture credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien for Carscoops