If you really want to one-up your V6-engined rival, a V8 ought to do the trick. First revealed as a concept on the same day the 2021 Ford Bronco made its debut, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 has now premiered in full production form, packing a 6.4 litre naturally aspirated V8 engine producing 470 hp at 6,000 rpm and 637 Nm of torque at 4,300 rpm. This marks the return of a V8 engine to the Wrangler after 40 years, says Jeep.

Visual cues identifying the Rubicon 392 from other, more modestly engined Wrangler variants include a bonnet raised by 40 mm as seen on the Jeep Gladiator Mojave, with a functional scoop for greater air intake and improved water fording clearance. ‘392’ badges denote the V8 engine’s displacement in cubic inches.

The engine’s outputs are sent to a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, while its off-roading capabilities are aided by a two-speed transfer case and full-time four-wheel-drive, heavy-duty wide-track Dana 44 axles with electronically locking differentials, and front sway bars that can be electronically disconnected from the cabin.

The Wrangler Rubicon 392 gets upgraded frame rails, a 50 mm chassis lift, unique suspension geometry, uprated brakes and high-performance dampers by Fox. Rolling stock is comprised of LT285/70R17C tyres on beadlock-capable wheels as standard.

Steep climbs are aided by a 48:1 crawl ratio with two-speed active transfer case with 2.72:1 low-range ratio and unique torque converter lock-up programming, while the Off-Road Plus drive mode lets the driver lock the rear axle whilst driving at speed in the 4 High mode; other driver-selectable modes are 4WD Auto, Neutral and 4WD Low.

The Selec-Speed Control manages the vehicle’s speed in 4WD Low without needing brake or throttle input. This is activated from a button on the dashboard, and speeds can be adjusted between 1-5 mph (1.6-8 km/h) via the electronic Range Select control.

The Wrangler Rubicon 392 engine also benefits from improved breathing, where a tri-level Hydro-Guide air intake ducting system with a one-way drain in its airbox is designed to channel away up to 15 gallons (57 litres) of water from the engine, even if a bow wake – such as when executing a river crossing – washes over the bonnet.

Additionally, the Rubicon 392’s primary bonnet scoop is complemented by a secondary air intake path within the bonnet assembly, enabling the off-roader to reach its top speed even if its primary air intake path is fully blocked by snow, mud or debris, says Jeep.

Its beadlock-capable wheels are finished in bronze, while the interior also features bronze stitching on leather upholstery. Leather seats here get ‘Rubicon 392’ logos, and the instrument cluster gains a revised design and numbers to reflect the 392’s newfound ability.

As on prior variants of the Wrangler, the Rubicon 392 features the Uconnect infotainment system that is accessed through an 8.4-inch screen. Here, the included Jeep Off-road Pages feature enables occupants to monitor the vehicle’s pitch, roll, altitude, GPS coordinates drivetrain output distribution and more.

In addition to the leather upholstery and infotainment pack, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 also gets a host of features which are normally options on the Wrangler range, including an electrical switch bank, body-coloured hard top and flares, steel bumper pack, LED lighting pack, cold weather pack, remote proximity entry, safety pack and advanced safety pack.

The Wrangler Rubicon 392 can be further personalised after purchase with factory-backed components from Mopar and Jeep Performance Parts. These can include LED off-roading lights, winch, Ultimate Dana 44 Advantek front axle with gear ratios of up to 5.38:1, off-road beadlock-capable wheels to suit even larger tyres, tube doors, off-road bumpers, rock rails and more.

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 goes on sale in the first quarter of next year, and is available in nine exterior colours – Black, Bright White, Firecracker Red, Granite Crystal Metallic, Punk ’n Metallic, Sarge Green Metallic, Snazzberry Metallic, Sting-Gray Metallic and Billet Silver Metallic, and all are paired with a black interior colour scheme.