One of the custom vehicles Jeep is bringing to Moab will be a Wrangler 3.0 Magneto. The name suggests a hybrid-Hurricane combination—dual H power, so to speak. The reality is not quite so poetic: it’s the third Magneto concept. That said, the concept does bring up speculation about the Wrangler and Challenger (and Charger) once the 6.4 liter SRT Hemi—the “392”—goes away.
The Wrangler 392’s absurd, instant-on power easily overcomes the heavy weight of the off-roader, but the end of the 392 is in sight. The 4xe Wrangler is surprisingly close to the 392 in acceleration, but Jeep may not be satisfied with “close.” That brings up the question of Hurricane engines—those new twin turbo straight-sixes used in the Wagoneers and coming to the Grand Cherokee. There are two of these, a standard output which neatly beats the 5.7 Hemi, and a high output which tops the mighty 392.
While so far there’s been no indication that it’s coming, a hybrid 3.0 would be a fine alternative to the supercharged Hellcat engines. The “LB” Challenger will have a Hurricane engine under the hood, but even the high output Hurricane takes it just a little beyond the 392 level. Adding a hybrid would push the Challenger to Hellcat levels, making the Challenger more complete; and who knows what might happen on E85? At least one Challenger must consistently beat the Tesla Plaid, after all.
One happy thought for the next generation Wranglers is the idea of only having inline engines, allowing more space for suspension articulation—and perhaps allowing for a choice of independent or straight-axle front suspensions. The independent front suspension could provide better highway manners and, tweaked enough, could actually outdo the stock Rubicon—though it would all but forbid inexpensive modifications. The Wrangler could keep the solid front axles on its base and Rubicon models, allowing for the modders to have their way; and have independent front suspensions on the other models to compete more strongly against the Bronco.
The advantage of a Hurricane hybrid setup, other than a performance-based system running with Hellcats, would be raising Wrangler gas mileage to the point that Stellantis doesn’t have to buy tax credits when Wrangler and Gladiator sales go up. Given that these tax credits currently bolster future rival Tesla, that would be a good thing for Stellantis.
The concepts will be revealed soon; the production cars will keep us waiting considerably longer. Jeep is having a reveal in two weeks at the New York Auto Show; many believe this will be a Wrangler with updated electronics, but it could go beyond that.
The third Magneto concept is probably just the third Magneto concept. But wouldn’t it be fine if “Magneto 3.0” had a double meaning?