2021 Jeep Wrangler 392 Is The 475 Horsepower Yin To The 4xe’s Yang

The 6.4-liter V8 (mostly) completes the circle from efficiency to performance

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 takes the off-road icon and gives it more oomph than it strictly needs…but would you have it another way? (Photos: FCA)

Take a look around the 2021 Jeep Wrangler lineup, and there’s more or less a flavor for everyone. If you want tried and true, the good old Pentastar V6 is still there? You want efficiency? The 2.0-liter turbo is an option, as is the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel and even a plug-in hybrid 4xe model. But what about out-and-out performance? Well, that’s where the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 comes in.

It’s not a “concept” anymore — this is the real deal. Not that its debut was a shocker to anyone. As it turns out, engineers within FCA were developing this 6.4-liter beast for more than a year as we saw prototypes out testing with the even more berserk Ram TRX. Given FCA’s recent push for performance, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 was only a matter of time. The question is, was this large-displacement Wrangler worth the wait?

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392: By the numbers

Of course, the jury’s still somewhat out on answering that question until we get to really sink our teeth into it firsthand. That said, this first complete look at production specs look promising. Under the hood, the new Wrangler Rubicon 392 has a naturally-aspirated 6.4-liter Hemi V8. It’s a familiar engine shared with several other vehicles including the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. In this application, though, it manages 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, mated exclusively to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Thanks to the added grunt, 0-60 comes up in 4.5 seconds — not exactly what we ever expected to say about a Wrangler — and Jeep says the quarter-mile comes up in 13.0 seconds. Yes, folks from the SRT team actually took a Wrangler onto a drag strip.

Then there’s the sound

Speaking of power and speed, Jeep did pay attention to the sound of the experience as well as the sheer force. The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 comes with an active dual-mode exhaust. You can shut it up when you’re just driving around your neighborhood. At your whim, though, you can open up the sodium-filled exhaust valves to really make that Hemi sound as beastly as it should.

Finessing a 6.4-liter Hemi under the Wrangler’s hood means there’s not much space left for, well, anything.

Not that those folks endorse the V8-powered Wrangler as a sports SUV, mind you. The top speed is still tire-limited to 99 mph thanks to the stock BFGoodrich KO2s. You still get the same off-road ruggedness as a traditional Rubicon, just with the extra grunt. Underneath, you still get Dana 44s axles at each end. The final drive ratio has decreased to 3.73 (from the 4.10s you get in the Rock-Trac-equipped Rubicon). Here, you get the Selec-Trac four-wheel drive system like you’d normally find on the Sahara trim, with a low-range ratio of 2.72:1 (instead of 4.0:1). The lower gearing does mean a 48:1 crawl ratio in the Wrangler Rubicon 392, though the big Hemi’s low-down torque will likely still help when it comes to low-speed off-roading.

Speaking of off-roading, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 still comes with all the kit you’d expect. Electronic locking differentials at both ends, a disconnecting front sway bar and those 33-inch KO2s (this time on 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels) are still part of the package. This Wrangler comes fitted with Fox aluminum monotube shocks, as well as a functional hood scoop adapted from the Gladiator Mojave.

Ground clearance, approach, breakover, departure and water fording

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 does get a 2-inch factory lift to accommodate the larger tires. At 10.3 inches, its ground clearance comes up slightly lower than the standard Rubicon, though there are some tradeoffs in the 392’s favor. The 44.5 degree approach and 37.5 degree departure angles are better. This model has a rear overhang half an inch shorter than the standard-issue Wrangler. Available in four-door Unlimited trim only, the 392’s breakover angle of 22.6 degrees is the same. Fitting the massive V8 under the hood hasn’t compromised this Wrangler’s water fording ability, which stands at 32.5 inches. In terms of physical dimensions, this Wrangler is broadly the same as any other, except for shifting the axles to shorten the rear overhang and widening the track by 1.5 inches (to 64.4 inches) from the base car.

The 392’s interior is pretty familiar, with a few notable exceptions.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Interior

You’ve seen a JL before, right? The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 shares most of its interior fittings with any other version. This time around, though, there are a few notable exceptions. The paddle shifters, for one — a first, but necessary to make the most of that V8’s performance. Not only that, but it also controls your speed off-road through the “Selec-Speed” system. Drivers can use the paddles or the gear selector to adjust the speed between 1 and 5 mph. Off-Road Pages are still here, courtesy of the standard 8.4-inch Uconnect 4C infotainment system. Your locker controls, sway bar disconnect, transfer case lever and upfitter switches are all still there.

Apart from the standard fittings, FCA is opening up the Jeep Performance Parts catalog to this model as well. So, you can take it even further if you wish, and your budget can stretch to it. Official pricing hasn’t been revealed yet, but don’t expect the Rubicon 392 to come cheap. Currently, the Wrangler tops out around $60,000, and we expect this one to go at least slightly higher than that with options. Time, as always, will tell.

We will find out pricing sooner than later, since the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 will go on sale in early 2021.

Check out more in the video below, and check back to TFLcar.com for more updates!