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2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 has V-8 power for $74,995: Are you not entertained?

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2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

Jeep’s most iconic vehicle adds yet another variant for 2021 with the introduction of the Wrangler Rubicon 392, which stuffs a V-8 under the hood of the off-roader because…well, why the hell not?

That’s at least part of the reason that Jeep shoved a V-8 into the Wrangler.  Jeep spokespeople said “our customers are doing it anyway.” Consider this my official request to someone out there who’s feeling creative to electrify a Wrangler, or solve those cooling issues and jam a Hellcat engine up there. Mostly because I want to see what happens in either direction.

The Rubicon 392 is much different in approach than the plug-in hybrid 4xe model, with its 4-cylinder engine and electric motor. The new most-powerful Wrangler goes all-in on performance over efficiency and utilizes the largest displacement V-8 that FCA has in the portfolio for a big spike in power when it arrives in dealers in the first quarter of 2021 for $74,995. 

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

The 392 portion of the name refers to the cubic-inch measurement of the 6.4-liter V-8, which delivers a matching 470-horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed through an 8-speed automatic transmission that has been tuned to provide maximum acceleration at launch. Speaking of launches, the Rubicon 392 sprints from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds and runs the quarter mile in 13.0 seconds. For some perspective, that 0-60 mph time is 40% faster than V-6 equipped Wrangler Rubicons. Jeep did not mention a launch control system on this vehicle like you’d find in a Ram 1500 TRX, but the transmission has a Torque Reserve calibration that is designed to help during brake torque launches. Jeep also confirmed an all-terrain tire-limited top speed of 99 mph. With a different tire it would certainly go much, much faster.

The hood, borrowed from the Gladiator Mojave, helps cool the big engine with its functional cold air scoop. A secondary air path is also built into the hood so the engine can continue running even if the hood scoop is blocked by mud or debris. This is further augmented by a grille design to allow great airflow—all of this makes me believe there really is no way to put a Hellcat engine in there without sacrificing some sort of off-road capability by further opening up the fascia or the hood.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

Power will flow to all four wheels, all the time via a Selec-Trac active transfer case with a 2.72 low-range gear ratio. Drivers will have four selectable  4WD modes: 4WD Auto, 4WD High, Neutral, and 4WD Low. An Off-road Plus drive mode also gives drivers the option 

Fuel economy ratings have not yet been revealed, but they certainly won’t be promising even if the engine has cylinder deactivation (premium fuel will be required). To make sure you and your neighbors hear the Rubicon 392 coming, Jeep outfits it with an active dual-mode exhaust that plays through quad exhaust pipes.

Jeep did not just stuff the V-8 under the hood of the Wrangler and call it a day. Numerous other upgrades will help buyers extract more than just added power from the Rubicon 392. They include beefed up engine mounts, frame rails, front upper control arms, and cast-iron steering knuckles to handle the additional weight and torque. Specially tuned Fox monotube shocks account for the different weight distribution, and Jeep thankfully upgrades the brakes as well.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

Off-road capability also gets a boost, the Rubicon 392 adds a 2-inch lift and features slightly improved approach (44.5 degrees) and departure (37.5 degrees), both are up 0.5 degrees better than the standard Rubicon, while the 22.6-degree breakover angle remains the same. Ground clearance actually falls slightly from 10.8 to 10.3 inches, but the water fording depth is very impressive at 32.5 inches—the highest ever in a Wrangler, thanks to an air intake system (running from the hood) that can divert water away from the engine intake at a rate of 15 gallons of water per minute. This being a Wrangler Rubicon, it has front and rear locking differentials, heavy-duty wide track Dana 44 axles, transmission torque converter lockup control, and a 3.73 final drive ratio.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

The Rubicon 392 will only be offered in Unlimited guise, so dreams of a two-door Wrangler absolutely blasting down a dragstrip are dashed. Bronze accents on the new beadlock capable 17-inch wheels, front and rear tow hooks, and badging make the Rubicon 392 stand out even if you can’t hear it coming. The seats have “Rubicon 392” stitched into them and get additional bolstering to account for the higher speeds. Jeep will also offer new half-doors for those who want to let in a little more air.

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Bugatti Chiron Super Sport, 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid, 2022 Ford Maverick: This Week’s Top Photos

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Tesla Model S Plaid specs

Bugatti this week launched a new variant of the Chiron packing 1,578 hp. It’s related to the recent Chiron Super Sport 300+ but features a lower top speed and tuning that prioritizes comfort.

Tesla Model S Plaid specs

If you’re looking for a car that accelerates quicker to 60 mph than the Bugatti above, look no further than the 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid. The electric super hatch started deliveries this week, and owners can look forward to 0-60 times in less than two seconds and a quarter-mile ET of a bit over nine.

2022 Toyota Land Cruiser

2022 Toyota Land Cruiser

A new Toyota Land Cruiser was revealed this week, the iconic off-roader’s first redesign in more than a decade. It features a new platform as well as twin-turbo V-6 power, and while it won’t be sold in the United States its hardware should end up in a redesigned Lexus LX.

2022 BMW X3 M Competition

2022 BMW X3 M Competition

BMW unveiled updated versions of its X3 and X4 small crossovers. The updates extend to the high-performance M versions which also benefit from a boost in torque figures for the Competition models. A redesigned BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe also made headlines.

2022 Ford Maverick

2022 Ford Maverick

Ford unveiled a compact pickup truck that goes by the name Maverick. It’s essentially a twin under the skin with the Bronco Sport, and it’s headed to showrooms shortly with standard hybrid power and a base price of about $20,000.

2022 Volkswagen Multivan

2022 Volkswagen Multivan

Another new vehicle in the headlines this week was Volkswagen’s T7-generation van, which debuted in passenger-oriented Multivan guise. Unlike the T6 generation, which uses a dedicated van platform, the T7 has moved to the more car-like MQB platform shared with multiple models sold by Volkswagen Group brands.

2022 Ferrari V-6 hybrid supercar spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2022 Ferrari V-6 hybrid supercar spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

And finally, Ferrari was spotted testing its upcoming V-6-powered supercar. The new model will feature a mid-engine layout and hybrid technology, making it a rival to the recently revealed McLaren Artura.

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Princess Diana’s 1981 Ford Escort heads to auction

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Princess Diana's 1981 Ford Escort - Photo via Reeman Dansie

A 1981 Ford Escort sedan previously owned by Princess Diana is headed to auction with Reeman Dansie, which plans to put the car under the hammer on June 29.

The car was given to Diana by Prince Charles as an engagement present in May 1981, two months before their wedding, and was used by her until August 1982, according to the auction house, adding that the Escort has been out of public view for 20 years.

An Escort might not seem worthy of a princess, but this is the upmarket Ghia version, at least. It also sports a silver frog hood ornament, a copy of a gift from Diana’s sister, Lady Sarah Spencer, inspired by the fairy tale of a beautiful girl whose kiss turns a frog into a prince, per the auction listing.

Princess Diana’s 1981 Ford Escort – Photo via Reeman Dansie

The current owner is a “great admirer” of the princess, and has kept the Escort’s history secret until now, according to the listing. Auctioneers verified the car’s authenticity from its vehicle-history file and registration number, according to a BBC write-up of the sale. The auction house also claims photographs of Diana in the car—with the same WEV 297W license plate it wears now—confirm the royal connection.

The Escort still sports its original paint and upholstery, and currently shows 83,000 miles on its odometer, according to the listing. This was the third generation of Escort, marked by a switch from rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive. Ford eventually devised some performance versions of the third-ten Escort for the European market but, despite having one of the larger 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engines, this isn’t one of them.

Reeman Dansie expects the royal Escort to fetch between 30,000 and 40,000 British pounds (approximately $42,000-$57,000 at current exchange rates) at auction, and noted that Diana’s Audi 80 cabriolet sold last year for 58,000 British pounds.

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2022 Lexus NX leads a youth movement with hybrid options, new infotainment

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2022 Lexus NX

The redesigned 2022 Lexus NX ushers Toyota’s luxury brand into a new era defined by more than a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The luxury compact crossover showcases the most significant and overdue update to the brand: a new touchscreen interface.

The 2022 Lexus NX made its world debut late Friday with four new powertrains, a fresh look inside and out, and the latest technology crowned by an available 14.0-inch touchscreen developed in-house at Toyota Motors North America. 

“Our previous multimedia systems were developed in Japan,” Steve Basra, group vice president of TMNA Connected Technologies, said in a press conference the week before the launch. “The customer experience in Japan is not necessarily the same customer experience that we should have in the U.S.”

2022 Lexus NX

The Lexus Interface multimedia system will “fit into the lives of Gen Y customers,” Basra said, and broaden the appeal of Lexus to a new generation of customers. The broad display addresses one of the biggest shortcomings of Lexus and Toyota vehicles, according to J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Surveys. It replaces a frustrating console touchpad.

Debuting on the 2022 Lexus NX, Lexus Interface comes standard with a 9.8-inch touchscreen or the larger landscape-oriented 14.0-inch screen canted toward the driver. A volume knob and HVAC buttons remain, but tuning is relegated to the screen, steering wheel controls, or natural voice commands. It comes with cloud-based mapping and over-the-air updates, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. The user can set profiles with personalized seat, climate, and media settings that will transfer from one Lexus vehicle to another. 

While Lexus Interface will trickle down to subsequent Lexus and Toyota vehicles, its debut in the 2022 NX reflects the sweeping updates meant to revitalize the brand. 

The second-generation NX sports a new look headlined by a taller, broader spindle grille pinched near the top. Daytime running lights move from below to above the standard LED headlights, and the lower airtakes take on larger proportions. In back, a full-width taillight crosses over the Lexus name stamped on the liftgate in place of the L-shaped logo.

2022 Lexus NX 450h

2022 Lexus NX 450h

2022 Lexus NX 450h

2022 Lexus NX 450h

2022 Lexus NX 350

2022 Lexus NX 350

2022 Lexus NX 350

2022 Lexus NX 350

Four new powertrains move the five-passenger 2022 NX. The base 2022 NX 250 employs a basic 2.5-liter inline-4 that makes 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. The uprated NX 350 has a 2.4-liter turbo-4 that makes 275 hp and 317 lb-ft, and Lexus claims it can go 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds. Both four-cylinder engines come with an 8-speed automatic transmission and standard front-wheel drive or  available all-wheel drive.

Even though Lexus expects the NX 350 to account for at least one quarter of sales, it is not the most potent powertrain. That comes from the Lexus NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid that ties a 2.5-liter inline-4 with a battery-powered motor on the rear axle for all-wheel drive. Mechanically similar to the Toyota RAV4 Prime, the NX 450h+ hits 60 mph in 6.0 seconds, or it can deliver 36 miles of battery-only driving. Lexus didn’t release power figures but said it would reveal specs closer to its launch later this year. On a Level 2 charging system with a current of 240 volts, it can be topped off in about 2.5 hours with an available 6.6-kw on-board charger (a 3.3-kw charger comes standard). 

A more traditional hybrid powers the NX 350h, which gets an estimated 36 mpg highway, or 6 mpg more than the 2021 Lexus NX 350h. It has a 2.5-liter inline-4 hybrid system with two motors that make 239 hp total with standard AWD. Its eCVT simulates shifting through 10 gears, and Lexus quotes its 0-60 mph time at 7.2 seconds. 

Lexus says more torsional rigidity limits lateral movement and improves aerodynamics over the outgoing model.

2022 Lexus NX

2022 Lexus NX

For better handling, shoppers can opt for an F Sport Handling package on NX 350 and NX 450h+ models. It comes with adaptive dampers, sport seats, 20-inch black alloy wheels, and other cosmetic upgrades.

Lexus hasn’t released cargo and passenger dimensions, or the full feature set and pricing. Riding on a new global platform shared with everything from the 2021 Lexus ES to the 2021 Toyota Highlander, the 2022 NX features more head room, leg room, and cargo room than the outgoing model, according to Lexus. 

Every 2022 NX comes with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and automatic high beams. A rear camera mirror and head-up display are available.

Heated front seats come standard, as do synthetic leather upholstery and keyless entry for all four doors. Smart door handles called Digital Latch prevent the passengers from opening the doors if the blind-spot monitors detect a passing car, cyclist, or runner going more than 5 mph. 

The 2022 Lexus NX goes on sale in late 2021.

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