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Jeep Gladiator Hercules 2020: Hi-po Raptor-fighter coming

Jeep's Gladiator could be getting a hardcore variant

Jeep is working on a Raptor-baiting high-performance version of its just-revealed Gladiator ute, with reports out of the USA claiming the new model will be named Hercules.

The reports, published on the Jeep Gladiator Forum and attributed to company sources, confirm our earlier reports that FCA is working on a high-po version of its new ute, with company heavy weights telling CarsGuide to "watch this space".

Asked whether Jeep is working on a V8-powered version of its Gladiator, the brand's head of design, Mark Allan, said: "I'm going to answer your question with a question; wouldn't that be awesome? Watch this space."

The Jeep Gladiator Forum has some history of being bang on the money, too. The site revealed the Gladiator name days before FCA confirmed, and it leaked the official press photography well ahead of the car's unveiling at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

"Through our insider sources, Jeep Gladiator Forum has learned that FCA is in the midst of developing a high-performance off-roading Jeep Gladiator Hercules model to compete with the likes of the Ford Raptor," the site says, even imagining what such a vehicle could look like.

"The vehicle is currently being evaluated for market viability, so it has not been fully green-lighted just yet. As such, there have been no supplier contracts yet and prototypes are being built as one-offs for testing purposes."

Given FCA's glorious propensity for stuffing V8 engines into a wide range of unexpected products, a beefed-up Gladiator would hardly be surprising.

For now, though, the Gladiator will arrive in three trim levels - Sport, Sport S, Overland and Rubicon - and will be available with two engine choices, a 3.6-litre petrol V6 good for 209 kW and 353Nm - paired with an eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual - while a 3.0-litre diesel V6 will launch later, scheduled for 2020.

Would you like to see high-performance Gladiator? Tell us in the comments below.