Jeep posted this slightly blurry teaser of what appears to be a Hemi-packed Wrangler or Gladiator on its Twitter feed this morning as an opening salvo against its new rival, the long anticipated, highly leaked Ford Bronco just hours after the Bronco once again showed its face before its planned massive multimedia debut.
You can probably make out the number 392 etched on this Jeep’s hood. This, of course, refers to Chrysler’s 392-cubic inch 6.4-litre V8 HEMI engine, now in its third generation producing 485 horsepower and 215 kg-ft of torque. While this is a favourite combo for aftermarket Wranglers and Gladiators there has never been a vehicle from the Wrangler family to come from the company with the SRT badge. Currently, customers have three engine options for their 2020 Wranglers, the most powerful of which is the 3.6-litre V6 putting out 285 HP and 118 kg-ft of torque. The Gladiator gets this engine, as well as a recently announced EcoDiesel option for some trims.
Now, I don’t want to get your hopes up. Teasers are frustrating exactly because they are high on hype and low on info, but this is a move that makes a ton of sense. Plus it isn’t a bad time to steal Ford’s thunder (and hopefully market share) with a combo Jeep fans have been thirsting over for some time now. Jeep’s then CEO Michael Manley (now CEO for all of FCA) toyed with the idea way back in 2011 and maybe only now was able to make a business case for a Wrangler SRT thanks, in part, to the rising popularity of off-roading and overlanding. I mean, there’s a Dodge Durango SRT now. There’s no excuse not to build this.
What enthusiasts definitely should not hold their breath for, however, is a Hellcat-packed Jeep, as 707-HP was deemed way too dangerous for the company’s boxy off-roader. Which isn’t to say you can’t find shops willing to build you such a suicide machine. Honestly though, save your pennies, a Jeep’s charms are not found on a 0-60 timescale.