If you’ve always wanted a Jeep Wrangler but thought it was a little too pokey, stand back, speed racer, because your dream rig is here. Making its debut Monday, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is the V8-powered beast we’ve been waiting for. And no, this one isn’t . The real thing is finally here.
The 6.4-liter V8 pushes out 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to get this box on wheels from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. When Roadshow’s own Steven Ewing got to quickly (literally), he said of its acceleration, “The nose raises precipitously, the rear tires skip a beat and your best bet is to just hold on and enjoy the ride.”
In a sentence I never thought I’d write, drivers can operate the eight-speed automatic transmission from the Wrangler’s paddle shifters, and a two-mode performance exhaust will likely add to the thrills, while a functional air scoop feeds cool air into that monster of a motor. Another go-fast feature? An Off-Road Plus button that lets you lock up the rear while in four-wheel-drive high gear. This should be great for high-speed dune running or when you need to keep up momentum during a low-traction situation.
To handle the extra horses, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 gets upgraded frame rails, beefier front upper control arms and improved cast-iron steering knuckles. Thankfully, larger rear brakes are standard. The 392 rocks 14-inch rotors compared with the 13.4-inch rotors on the standard Rubi.
Jeep doesn’t have official EPA fuel economy ratings just yet, but says the 392 has automatic cylinder deactivation, switching to four-cylinder mode for highway cruising. The 392 also has a 21.5-gallon tank, which should hopefully even out the reduced mileage you’ll no doubt get from this 470-hp engine.
2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392: Dirt-slinging with a V8
The Wrangler 392 can handle rock-crawling duty, too. While it doesn’t have the beefy Rock-Trac transfer case that’s in the standard Rubicon with its superlow torque-multiplying gears, the 392 doesn’t necessarily need it. After all, when you’re starting with more torque in the first place, you’ll likely end up with the same result once the torque gets through the Selec-Trac full-time four-wheel-drive transfer case. What really matters is that the 392 gets front and rear locking differentials and a front sway bar disconnect feature. This Jeep rolls on 33-inch BF Goodrich KO2 tires wrapped around bronze 17-inch beadlock-capable tires, although Falken Wildpeak mud terrain tires will be optional. Fox high-performance shocks keep the suspension up to snuff, too.
This speedy Wrangler 392 actually has an advantage over the standard Rubicon, with slightly better approach and departure angles and the ability to ford 32.5 inches of water. The latter feature is thanks to the new Hydro-Guide air intake system that can separate up to 15 gallons of water per minute away from the incoming air.
Visually, the 392 is set apart with bronze highlights on the exterior. Inside you’ll find bronze stitching, a thicker steering wheel and upgraded seats to keep your heinie secure during those ridiculous 0-to-60 launches.
Pricing hasn’t been announced, but the 392 gets a bunch of features that are just optional on other Wranglers. These include leather upholstery, a body-color hard top, steel bumpers, LED lighting, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and heated seats. A 2021 Wrangler Rubicon starts at $43,690 including $1,495 destination; we’re betting this one starts in the low-$50,000 range when it hits dealerships early next year.