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A red and a green 2024 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Final Editions are shown off-roading.

The Wrangler Rubicon 392 Final Edition Marks the End of Jeep’s V8 Era

When it first hit the market in 2021, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 was unlike any model the off-road giant had ever produced. The Rubicon 392 boasted the off-road resume drivers had come to expect from the Jeep brand and was packed with a generous list of luxury features to boot, but it was the model’s 392 cubic inch engine that really set it apart from the crowd. The 6.4L HEMI V8 made the Rubicon 392 the fastest and most powerful Wrangler ever produced, but just three years later, it’s already time to say goodbye.

Jeep recently announced that the 2024 model will be the last Jeep to feature a V8 engine, but the brand is sending the Rubicon 392 off in style with an ultra-limited Final Edition that you will be lucky to find at your local Jeep dealer. Limited to just 3,700 units globally, the Rubicon 392 Final Edition gives Jeep fans a chance to enjoy one last lap in a V8-powered Jeep, but what sets the model apart from the base Rubicon 392, and what comes next for Jeep? Strap in as we saddle up and see if Jeep has provided the iconic V8 with a fitting finale.

Performance First

The Rubicon 392 Final Edition puts performance at the forefront in a fitting tribute to the outgoing V8. The massive 6.4L HEMI is a testament to the old-school, naturally-aspirated formula, churning out 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. While the model is designed with off-road glory in mind, it’s also capable of providing some real thrills on paved roads with a blistering zero to 60 mph time of just 4.0 seconds––not bad for an SUV that tips the scales at more than 5,000 lbs.

The Rubicon 392’s horsepower might allow the Jeep to post a quarter-mile time of 12.9 seconds, but it’s the model’s considerable torque that really sets it apart when compared to other off-road vehicles. Jeep has engineered the Rubicon 392 to provide 75 percent of its peak torque when the engine is just above idle, a noteworthy achievement that, along with the 48:1 crawl ratio, can make all the difference when it comes to ascending steep off-road trails or surmounting sheer rock faces. The 6.4L V8 is paired with an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission that can be manually controlled with steering wheel-mounted aluminum paddle shifters.

A Selec-Trac full-time active transfer case with a 2.72 low-range gear ratio allows drivers to switch between 4WD Auto, 4WD High, Neutral, and 4WD Low with ease. The Selec-Trac system can automatically dole out torque between the front and rear axles, ensuring maximum traction no matter what that trail might throw at you. This system frees drivers to focus on the drive, improving safety and conferring some much-appreciated benefits in terms of overall convenience. The Rubicon 392 Final Edition rounds out its performance with an active dual-mode exhaust that can reduce back pressure by automatically opening valves within the pipes. Those looking to turn some heads can perform the same trick manually, allowing the V8 to roar from the Jeep’s quad exhaust tailpipes.

A red 2024 Wrangler Rubicon 392 Final Edition is shown driving uphill after visiting a Jeep dealer.

Off-Road Chops

Don’t let the Rubicon 392 Final Edition’s six-figure price tag fool you––this is a model designed for off-road fun. Jeep has loaded the 4×4 down with all the high-end equipment it needs to justify the sticker price, creating a well-rounded Wrangler that’s ready to explore the road less traveled. It all starts with a full arsenal of heavy-duty hardware, including new frame rails, front upper control arms, and cast-iron steering knuckles that allow the Jeep to handle whatever the trail can throw at it. The Rubicon 392 also benefits from a wide track and premium Dana 44 front and rear axles, along with Tru-Lok electronic locking differentials and an electronic front sway-bar disconnect for maximum suspension travel.

Speaking of the suspension, the Rubicon 392 Final Edition benefits from a half-inch suspension lift that gives the off-roader a towering ground clearance of 11.6 inches. While that might be ideal for driving on dry land, Jeep has also improved the Rubicon 392’s water-fording ability with the addition of its Hydro-Guide air intake system. This is built around a tri-level ducting system that allows the engine to breathe no matter how moist the trail might get. With the ability to separate as much as 15 gallons of water per minute, you’ll be able to wade through as much as 34.5 inches of water without having to worry about flooding the engine.

Should the going get a little tougher than you anticipated, the Mopar triple-loop grille guard and heavy-duty rock sliders should help to prevent any lasting damage. The included Off-Road Plus system comes with additional Sand and Rock modes, subtly adjusting the Rubicon’s throttle, traction control, and transmission shift points to help power through challenging terrain. If that doesn’t work, there’s always the 8,000 lb capacity Warn winch, which can be worth its weight in gold if you find yourself mired in a particularly messy stretch of trail.

The Rubicon 392 Final Edition comes wrapped in special decals on the hood and fender vents––and the Nappa leather seats with gold stitching are certainly a nice touch––but the trim’s most eye-catching addition might be the 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels wrapped in 35-inch tires. These massive tires not only maximize traction but can also be drastically depressurized to float over loose, granular surfaces thanks to the addition of the beadlock-capable wheels. Despite its off-road focus, the vehicle isn’t short on luxury features with 12-way power-adjustable heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and a front-facing off-road camera. While being able to cruise in an open-air cabin is a hallmark of the Wrangler experience, the automaker has improved the Rubicon 392’s on-road comfort with the addition of more sound-deadening foam, thicker carpet, and acoustic front glass that’ll keep the cabin nice and tranquil when cruising at highway speed.

What’s Next?

While it might be disappointing, the demise of the V8 Wrangler doesn’t really come as a surprise. Stellantis, the auto giant that owns the Jeep, Dodge, and Ram brands, has been moving away from the eight-cylinder formula over the last couple of years in an attempt to meet tightening efficiency standards. With an EPA-estimated 14 MPG combined, it was really only a matter of time until models like the Rubicon 392 met their end. In truth, the V8 is an odd pairing for the Wrangler. Off-road performance, not raw power, is the benchmark by which such models are judged. We’re certainly not complaining about this short-lived automotive experiment, but it was never long for this world in an industry that’s steadily moving towards efficiency and electrification. The Rubicon 392 provided the ideal showcase for the fusion of raw power and off-road ability, but it was always something of a niche model in terms of both availability and price.

But what comes next for the Wrangler’s range-topping trim? While Jeep has yet to confirm any of the rumors, our money would be on the V8 making way for the new top dog of the Stellantis lineup: the Hurricane twin-turbo 3.0L inline-six. This brawny engine has already made its way into the Jeep lineup under the hood of the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, which makes up to 510 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. The Hurricane is currently offered in both Standard Output and High Output configurations and packs a number of cutting-edge features that allow it to match the power of the outgoing V8 despite having less than half the displacement.

The new Hurricane engine is packed with performance-minded features and components, including Plasma Transfer Wire Arc-coated cylinder bores, an aluminum block with a closed-deck design to contain high cylinder pressure, pent-roof combustion chambers, and ion-sense coils. Aimed at improving efficiency, the ion-sense coils can gauge the combustion quality and adjust accordingly. The ion-sense coils read an electrical current as it passes through gasses in the combustion chamber, tuning the fuel-air mixture and even helping to detect knock and misfires.

The Hurricane represents an exciting evolution of the Jeep engine lineup, but ultimately, it’s just an intermediary step in the march toward the brand’s stated goal of carbon neutrality. Stellantis is working to become an industry leader in electrification, aiming for a lineup of 50-percent battery electric vehicles by 2030 as part of an initiative that will see the company go carbon net zero by 2038. That said, internal combustion will still play an important role, and the Hurricane is an essential part of the plan. “The Hurricane twin-turbo is a no-compromise engine that delivers better fuel economy and an important reduction in greenhouse gasses without asking our customers to give up performance,” says Micky Bly, Stellantis Head of Propulsion Systems.

The Hurricane is sure to be paired with a hybrid powertrain in the near future, building on the success of the automaker’s current 4xe models. Even without electric assistance, the Hurricane still represents a notable improvement in efficiency over previous offerings like the 6.4L V8 found in the Rubicon 392. In fact, Stellantis says the new engine produces 15 percent less CO2 than the V8 engines it is replacing.

A red 2024 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Final Edition is shown driving off-road on a dirt path.

Overcoming Obstacles

Built on a reputation of off-road performance, the Jeep brand certainly has some experience overcoming obstacles. While these obstacles normally come in the form of boulders, streams, and steep grades, Jeep has proved just as adept at surmounting man-made obstacles like tightening emissions standards and the challenge of electrification. You can look at the Rubicon 392 as the last of a dying breed of V8 Jeeps, but over the last few years, the industry has proved that their smaller, more efficient replacements aren’t necessarily a downgrade in terms of performance, power, and off-road ability. While we might miss the guttural roar of large-displacement V8s, we certainly won’t miss the frequent trips to the gas station or extra jerrycans loaded into the back. For those looking to see the last V8 Jeep off with a bang, the Rubicon 392 Final Edition provides a fitting farewell that should tide drivers over until the Hurricane (hopefully) makes its Wrangler debut.

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