Look, I don’t usually like to work on a weekend, but as I was scrolling through Twitter in bed (as I am wont to do on Saturday mornings), I saw a tweet I just had to share. The breaking news: Jeep appears to be teasing plans to stuff a 392 Hemi V8 engine in a Gladiator. Or maybe a Wrangler. Or maybe both. Jeep’s tweet contains a shadowy teaser rendering and no text, but that is more than enough for this deduction, as I’ll now explain.
From the teaser, it’s nearly impossible to tell if this is a Gladiator or a Wrangler, as their front ends are basically identical from this angle. But we can see a new hood with a large scoop that has “392” written on the side, a clear indicator of what’s sitting in the engine bay. A Hemi-powered Gladiator seems like it would be the more likely offering, especially because recent rumors have pointed to a Raptor-fighting Gladiator called “Hercules.” However, if Jeep’s gonna put the Hemi in the Gladiator, why not just stick it in the Wrangler, too?
To be clear, it’s entirely possible that Jeep is not teasing a production model. The company could just be floating a trial balloon to the internet — especially when the Wrangler is about to get a new arch rival, the, in a few days. That said, spy shots and the rumormill have long held that just such a model is coming to dealerships, so this feels like a real preview.
It’s no surprise that the Hemi fits in the Gladiator and Wrangler, as a number of aftermarket companies like Rubitrux and already offer conversions. In vehicles like the and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, the 6.4-liter V8 makes 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque and is mated to an eight-speed automatic and four-wheel drive, so this Jeep seems likely to offer similar specs.
There’s a chance a production V8-powered Jeep could get SRT badging, as that moniker is already used on the aforementioned Grand Cherokee. This would mark the first time that a Wrangler or Gladiator would wear SRT badging from the factory. We expect that in addition to the hood, this V8 model would likely get a new wheel-and-tire setup and a nicer interior with sportier seats. The truck would also would likely require a modified suspension setup to handle the extra weight and power.
The logical next step is to put the supercharged Hellcat V8 in the Gladiator and Wrangler, too. However, Jeep might run into issues doing that from the factory — the just-announcedwill be a one-year wonder because of emissions regulations. But hey, if this 392 Jeep is all that we can get, we’ll take it.
We have no idea if or when this mystery Jeep may debut, and especially with auto show season in flux because of thepandemic, a reveal could happen at any time. With the new Ford Bronco debuting on July 13, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jeep show this new model off the same week to steal some of Ford’s thunder.
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