How do you make one of the most iconic vehicles even more legendary? It’s pretty simple, you add a V8. After witnessing an industry movement over the past decade where we see the likes of the Ford GT, BMW M3, and Lexus LS see their free-breathing V8s give way to smaller turbocharged engines, we are rejoiced to see that certain manufacturers have rediscovered the age-old ‘no replacement for displacement’ formula. Today we are getting an early look of what is surely going to be a popular option – the 2022 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392.
Aside from the bulging hood, 392 badging, and bronze-coloured tow hooks, there is really not much that distinguishes the Wrangler 392 from a V6-powered model. We respect that Jeep designers resisted the urge to overstyle their hot rod truck and opted to simply let that V8 do the speaking.
And BOY did that 392 cubic-inch (read: 6.4-litre) V8 HEMI engine managed just that and a little more. Total output is 470-horsepower and 470 lb-ft. of torque, and the Wrangler 392 accelerates at a rate that is simply unthinkable from something that can also conquer the world’s toughest terrains. The Wrangler Rubicon 392 accelerates from zero to 97 km/h in 4.5 seconds – a figure that is absolutely mind-blowing considering a BMW M3 needs 4.2 seconds to achieve the same result and the M3’s marketing package does not mention having 34-inch water fording capability or anything about its approach, breakover, and departure angles.
What’s more is that the Wrangler Rubicon 392 comes with one of the best soundtracks in the industry today. At the touch of its performance exhaust mode button, the Wrangler goes from sonorous to thunderous, making sure its onlookers know this is not just another off-roader. We had the opportunity to take the performance off-roader through a rough trail and the loud rumble it elicits as it treads through the forest is absolutely intoxicating and the exhaust alone really elevated the whole Jeep experience to a new level.
Despite the additional go-fast goodies, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 still dons a Trail Rated badge on its fender, which means it is still capable as hell off the beaten paths. The electronic sway-bar disconnect feature, 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels and the 33-inch mud-terrain tires bring lots of confidence while on the trails, with the tradeoff being a sacrifice in on-road dynamics which is to be expected. To better handle its remarkable power, Jeep engineers installed FOX aluminum-bodied shocks with two-inch diameter which yielded an improved stability but attention and early braking are definitely needed at higher speeds.
The Wrangler 392’s interior is largely unchanged from the standard models but gets a dress-up with unique embroideries and beefier bolstering on the seats, bronze-coloured stitching, and paddle shifters. Its layout is simple and practical, with oversized toggles and dials intended for gloved use outdoors. There is standard heated front seat and steering wheel if doors and roof off driving is your thing and it can fit four rather comfortably with acceptable head and legroom.
The 2022 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is a truly unique offering in an era where manufacturers are focused on efficiency and electrification. It is an antithesis to the ever-tightening emission laws and its intention is simply to entertain. There are faster SUVs on the market and a four-banger Wrangler Rubicon is just good off-road, but the Wrangler Rubicon 392 manages both speed and capabilities with an unforgettable sound track and we are thankful it exists.