The staff on duty at Motor Trend were understandably a bit more excited than usual over the talk of a new and very rugged vehicle on the block, brandishing an output of 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque courtesy of a 392-inch V8. This is a Jeep Wrangler that startlingly gets from zero to 60 in just 4.5 seconds, and literally meets the requirements of “all-wheel-drive convertible” criteria. After listening to customers for years here at Landmark Dodge of Atlanta and dealers nationwide, the long wait is now over and Jeep has dumped a snarling V8 in a Wrangler as an exciting industry-first.
This trusty shell that usually is occupied with a V-6 or four cylinder has a very narrow engine compartment, and this puts a few challenges in play when it comes to the sourced power from a much larger engine. A completely redesigned front accessory drive sees the alternator have a drastic move to the engine's top, while the oil-filter mount had to be changed mechanically to clear the front axle's travel space. There are also brand-new cast-iron exhaust manifolds that are tightly tucked to the engine, fitted to a sump oil pan in the rear.
To distribute a steady flow of necessary cold air to the engine while still allowing the 392 to ford deep water, the Jeep engineering team ingeniously came up with the Hydro Guide Induction system. Beginning the creation with a Gladiator Mojave hood, they took out the nonfunctional bezel and opened up the hood's intake. They then created a pathway that dutifully takes in air before separating out the water, at an amazing rate of 15 gallons every minute. This assures that no damage from the wet stuff will encounter within the throttle body.
Another thing you'll notice right away as you are putting this amazing and very customizable new model to the test is that its upgraded and reinforced frame has been reshaped to clear the crank pulley, and the engine mounts possess a rigid and thoroughly spot-checked stiffness. With the noticeable height of the V8, the suspension height is increased another inch to provide ample clearance for the powertrain's presence. This Wrangler model has also seen a front spring-rate increase of 10 percent, while the rear spring rate accommodated a 20 percent drop.
From highway sections and fast dirt roads to rock crawling duty and dune drifting in Moab, the testing team in question here put this Wrangler through a challenging route and immediately activated the Sky One Touch top to soak in as much of the salaciously symphonic V8 note as the beautiful day allowed. The team also found themselves “playing with the metal paddle shifters just to hear the engine and gearbox dance together”, and found it virtually impossible to get stuck in any sand dunes. The off-road cruise control system and Selec-Speed-Control are added bonuses that make this the most capable, resilient, and exploration-ready Jeep model to see the dawn's first rays of the next canyon-cruising expedition!