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Can the Jeep Gladiator 2020 fit a screaming Hellcat engine? You bet it can

Jeep's Gladiator makes for a raucous beast with a Gladiator V8 engine.

When Jeep unveiled the Gladiator ute at the LA Motor Show in 2018, the brand's key executives had an important message for those of us hanging on for a hard-charging V8 version.

Those keen for more power would have been disappointed to see the Gladiator's engine range top out with a V6, but asked whether a V8 would find a home in the brand's new off-road ute, Jeep's heavyweights simply told us to "watch this space".

But it seems plenty in the USA aren't much for waiting, choosing instead to shoe-horn FCA's monstrous supercharged 6.2-litre Hellcat V8 into the Gladiator's engine bay themselves. 

And if the question is "are you not entertained?", then the answer is a resounding "yes".

In a video released by Drag Times, one such conversion is put through its paces, and it looks more than a little hard to handle. 

Boasting a staggering 559kW, the Hellcat-powered Gladiator sprints to 60mph (around 96km/h) in 5.7 seconds, and pushes on to 161km/h in 15.2 seconds. The hard-charging truck will knock off the standing quarter mile in just over 14 seconds. 

Now the question is, though, will FCA make an official Gladiator Hellcat? Well, it's complicated.

The head of the Jeep brand for North America, Tim Kuniskis, told CarsGuide in April that, while the engine fits "like a glove", the bigger problem is the impact it would have on the car's crash testing.

"The problem is that it fits like a glove, and the reason that's a problem is that we now have no air space around the engine and the external structure of the vehicle, so we have no crush space. We have nothing that can be used to absorb energy in a crash," he says. 

"It is a problem for that. It's not a problem to put it in, other than emissions and fuel economy and stuff like that, but it would never pass any crash tests."