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Jeep V8 Gladiator and Wrangler could happen

A Hemi V8 version of the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator could happen, depending on how the brand chooses its priorities.
Matt Campbell
Senior Editor
CarsGuide

8 Apr 2019 • 3 min read

A V8-powered version of the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Gladiator hasn't been entirely ruled out - but the brand will need to do quite a bit of work if it wants to make this dream a reality.

Head of the Jeep brand for North America, Tim Kuniskis, intimated at the unveiling of Jeep's 2019 Easter Moab concepts that there is a demand for a V8-powered Wrangler or Gladiator, especially if it could run a Hellcat 6.2-litre supercharged engine.

The former head of Dodge - the home of the Hellcat engine - made it clear that he gets the question a lot.

"Because of the five years I've spent before this in Dodge, everyone always asks me 'when are you putting a Hellcat engine in there?'.

"It fits, you  guys all know it fits, it fits like a glove," he said.

But sadly, it's not as simple as plug and play.

"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.

"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," he said.

One has to question whether that's too much of a concern, given the Wrangler scored a meagre one-star Euro NCAP crash rating anyway.

However, Mr Kuniskis said that there may be an alternative to the V8 that will offer big power and torque - and we're not talking about the existing 3.6-litre petrol V6 or the upcoming 2.0-litre turbo-diesel.

The Wrangler scored a meagre one-star Euro NCAP crash rating. The Wrangler scored a meagre one-star Euro NCAP crash rating.

No, it's the turbocharged petrol route might be more viable when it comes to a performance version of the Gladiator. That is an engine that the brand offers on the Wrangler, and it seems that there could be more grunt available.

"You've got the 2.0-litre turbo that has significantly more torque than the 3.6-litre petrol V6, and that opens up a whole lot of opportunities for us," he said.

"People are already doing that on their own," Mr Kuniskis said, which indicates there's possibly more available from the engine, which currently outputs 201kW and 400Nm.

"People are supercharging the V6, too - but that's lot a little bit of excitement because people are working on the 2.0-litres now," said Mr Kuniskis.

Would you forego safety for a huge V8 engine? Let us know in the comments below.

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