This is the week, after much teasing, that Ford reveals its long-awaited new Bronco. The significance of which is not lost on Jeep’s engineers, who—sensing a roomful of balloons being pumped up at a launch party—have created a fantastic-looking pin to pop them with.
The Wrangler Rubicon 392 is said pin. It’s the first V8-powered proper Jeep since 1981, and while it’s just a concept for now, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would have to have mislaid a serious quantity of marbles to not follow through with a production version.
Its ‘392’ denotes its engine capacity, which is 6.4 liters in modern parlance. Enough. Especially when it’s tuned to deliver 450hp and 609Nm. If you’re bored of questionably modified Defenders and turned off by AMG G-Wagens, this is the hairy-chested alternative.
While Jeep boasts of a sub-5sec 0-60mph (0-97kph) time and a childishly loud two-mode exhaust, most of its claims concern the Rubicon’s off-road ability. Dana 44 axles, Fox shocks, a full-time two-speed transfer case, electric front- and rear-axle locking differentials, and 37-inch all-terrain tires (wrapped around 17-inch beadlock wheels) ensure it’ll leave a G63 wallowing in its dashboard jewelery over the most extreme terrain.
That’s not to say the Wrangler hasn’t been mildly beautified, too, with Granite Crystal paint, Red Rock leather, and bronze detailing plastered across even its most tenacious components.
Our previous experience of the beyond-spectacular Jeep Trailcat proves that a brawny V8 in a hard-as-nails Wrangler equals a good thing. So, here’s hoping Jeep’s money people see it the same way when it comes to the Rubicon 392, especially with a sensible V6 diesel Gladiator pickup announced at the same time to help underwrite a slightly sillier headline project. What Bronco?
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.