Examined: 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Goes Nuclear

UPDATE 11/23/21: This evaluation has been up to date with take a look at outcomes.

No matter form of engine you need, the Jeep Wrangler affords it. Jeep’s profitable four-wheel-drive anachronism is on the market with a turbocharged four-cylinder, a naturally aspirated V-6 (with or with out 48-volt hybrid help), a plug-in hybrid turbo 4, or a turbodiesel V-6. And now, rounding out Jeep’s offer-all-the-engines coverage, you will get a Wrangler filled with a gargantuan 470-hp 6.4-liter Hemi V-8. No, Jeep did not use the supercharged Hellcat engine. No one has sufficient life insurance coverage for that.

The ensuing mutant is the 2021 Wrangler Rubicon 392. It is Jeep’s G63. A mud-bog Maserati. It is “maintain my beer” with an eye-level hood scoop. Whereas everybody’s fawning over the 2021 Ford Bronco, Jeep is clearing its throat by way of quad tailpipes and asking for a second of your consideration. You have seen the Wrangler, people, however by no means like this!

Michael SimariAutomobile and Driver

Properly, not from a Jeep manufacturing line anyway. Aftermarket firms have been cramming V-8s into Wranglers for years. Jeep itself used to supply V-8s within the Wrangler’s distant ancestor, the CJ. However manufacturing Wranglers by no means had greater than six cylinders, its V-8-powered specials relegated to Moab Easter Safari teases and SEMA present vehicles. It isn’t prefer it’s tough to suit a Hemi in a Wrangler, so why did Jeep wait greater than 30 years to do it?

Two causes. First, till now the model by no means had an out of doors purpose to go nuclear with underhood weaponry. You did not want a V-8 to compete with the Suzuki Samurai again in Nineteen Eighties. And for in regards to the previous twenty years, the Wrangler’s greatest competitors has been Jet Skis and divorces. The brand new Bronco is about to vary that.

Michael SimariAutomobile and Driver

The second purpose pertains to the philosophical matter of quick Wranglers and whether or not such a factor violates the pure order of the world. A 6.4-liter Wrangler is a rocket-propelled basset hound, a vast hydroplane tugboat, a 360-degree rotating rooftop restaurant set to 88 rpm. Have you ever seen these new pace stilts? No, as a result of there is not any such factor. And but, Jeep makes this brute.

With 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, the Wrangler Rubicon launches from zero to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds. The enjoyable continues by way of the quarter-mile—12.9 seconds at 104 mph—however does not final for much longer than that, with prime pace ruled at 112 mph, in order to not take a look at the structural integrity of the 35-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires, that are a part of the Xtreme Recon bundle. Whereas the 392 would possibly speed up like a C6 Corvette, it does not brake or nook like one. Skidpad grip measured a mere 0.70 g, and stopping from 70 mph required 218 ft—considerably longer than the 197 ft posted by the two-door Ford Bronco Sasquatch. In the event you’re moving into this from a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454, you may really feel proper at dwelling.

Michael SimariAutomobile and Driver

The 392’s full-time four-wheel-drive system does not provide a two-wheel-drive mode, and that is in all probability for the very best since this rig can do four-wheel-drive burnouts if the pavement’s even barely damp. For launches that really feel like they may contain a wheelstand, apply left-foot braking to cue up Torque Reserve, which is mainly launch management for dummies. Just like the Gladiator Mojave, the 392’s Off-Highway Plus driving mode helps you to lock the rear differential at excessive speeds, main us to marvel what Jeep thinks persons are going to attempt to do with this factor. Possibly the higher query is: What will not they attempt to do?

Whereas there is not any 2Hi mode for the switch case, there’s low-range four-wheel drive, plus a brand new button on the sprint that allows you to select between a loud exhaust and Monster Jam Freestyle-loud exhaust. At wide-open throttle, the 392 belts out an 87-decibel cacophony. Below gentle hundreds, the V-8’s usually clear cylinder-deactivation system turns into apparent, because the booming exhaust cuts to a strangled stutter. With EPA estimates of 13 mpg metropolis and 17 freeway, the Rubicon 392 wants all of the cylinder deactivation it could possibly get.

Up entrance, that hood scoop is useful, and it is plumbed to an consumption that resembles a Dr. Seuss musical instrument. There are twists and turns going thisaway and thataway and a sequence of drains that forestall water from dripping down the 6.4’s gullet. Jeeps says the primary drain inside that setup can separate 15 gallons of water per minute from the consumption air. And will the hood scoop change into clogged with the viscous tears of your enemies, there is a secondary consumption path that may move sufficient air to permit the Wrangler to nonetheless hit its prime pace. We’re unsure what confluence of life selections would lead to a clogged hood scoop and the necessity to drive 112 mph, however the Rubicon 392 is prepared.

To accommodate the Hemi engine and the shenanigans it will encourage, Jeep strengthened the 392’s body, fitted a two-inch suspension raise with Fox dampers, and upgraded the rear brakes. Our take a look at car additionally included the Xtreme Recon bundle that provides one other 1.5 inches of raise, together with the larger tires. However there’s solely a lot you are able to do to deal with this a lot horsepower in a Wrangler. As an illustration, Jeep made the bronze-colored 17-inch wheels able to mating to beadlock rings that may firmly pinch the tire to the rim, a function typically related to airing down tires for low-speed path work. However, as we found, whenever you’re roosting sand dunes with 470 horsepower, you would possibly want beadlocks even with the tires totally aired up. Once we took the Rubicon 392 to a neighborhood tire retailer to research a sluggish leak, the technicians there puzzled on the rubber-to-earth violence that led to sand getting inside a mounted tire. Typical V-6 Wranglers do not are likely to have that specific drawback.

All this over-the-top efficiency comes with predictably hyperbolic pricing. The 2021 Wrangler Rubicon 392 Launch Version began at $74,995. The 2022 mannequin’s basement grew by $1400, and the one we examined rang in at $83,400 thanks largely to the $3995 Xtreme Recon bundle. In the meantime, $53,190 will get you a brand new plug-in-hybrid Wrangler Rubicon 4xe, which additionally makes 470 pound-feet of torque and is eligible for a $7500 federal tax credit score. That mixture of worth and efficiency makes loads of sense, which is why we doubt that audiences for the 4xe and 392 will overlap even a bit of bit. The 392 is not about making sense. It is about making noise and stomping Broncos and never essentially in that order.

Whereas a V-8 Wrangler could seem apparent and inevitable, it is in all probability for the very best that Jeep accrued a number of a long time of chassis growth earlier than unleashing one on the general public. Nonetheless, the Rubicon 392 is a royal handful, a bellowing musclebound clodhopper on 35-inch tires. If it is your dream Wrangler, thank Jeep for giving it the inexperienced gentle for manufacturing—proper after you thank Ford for making use of the strain.

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Patrick Moore

Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for Vehiclenews.net, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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