“Hercules” High Performance Jeep Gladiator Being Tested!

JAY

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Update: Jan. 16, 2019 with Jeep CEO Tim Kuniskis interview about the Gladiator Hercules.

https://www.motorauthority.com/news...gladiator-will-go-hercules-but-hes-not-saying

Just three months into his current role as Jeep president in North America, former SRT chief for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Tim Kuniskis sat Monday in an upstairs office above the 2019 North American International Auto Show.

The admitted car guy who prefers T-shirts and drag strips looked tired from the morning's show as he wore suit and tie but he perked up after questions about Jeep's rumored high-powered Gladiator, reportedly called Hercules.

"Hercules? Wow. That's getting a lot of traction today," he said. "I think the pictures are cool—I don't know who made them—but they look interesting."

"We've done a lot of work in the space, we build those cars for Moab every year. It fits. It works. It's awesome...the problem is: They're not street-legal."

About 3,000 Jeeps with high-powered engine swaps are sold every year from tuners, he said. That's a sizable collection of vehicles that makes Jeep take notice, but not enough to engineer a cost-efficient cooling system required to stuff a V-8 with more than 6.0 liters under the hood.

Kuniskis estimates that aftermarket sellers charge about $80,000 for a lifted, modified Jeep Wrangler with a 6.4-liter V-8 under the hood. For 3,000 customers each year, the profits would be motivation alone for any automaker.

Yet, it's the buyers' motivations that Kuniskis says makes the rumored Hercules different. Save the few, outrageous SEMA builds each year, Kuniskis says their surveys indicate that most Jeep owners willing to shell out the big bucks for a super-stout engine are looking for more torque on the trail—in the neighborhood of 450-475 pound-feet of torque.

The Gladiator will offer that in 2020—just not from a fire-breathing V-8.

"We've got our diesel coming with 442 pound-feet, with a warranty, from the factory. The torque that they're looking for, we're to able deliver to them with a diesel," he said. "I don't know where the Hercules thing comes from."

Kuniskis speculated that the rumors stem from his comments at the 2018 LA auto show that the Gladiator's low-speed rock crawling features and high-speed off-road modes tipped off enthusiasts that a dune-busting, high-powered Gladiator must be in the works. Competitors such as the Toyota Tacoma TRD and Chevy Colorado ZR2 gave more momentum to the idea that Jeep would respond in kind.

"Sure, there's a space there," but with the coming Rubicon he added that already Jeep would be on "a level playing field."

Kuniskis headed FCA's SRT brand from 2014 to 2018 and famously ushered in a horsepower arms race beginning with the Challenger SRT Hellcat, Demon, and Redeye, all with at least 700 horsepower. Before the Challenger SRT Hellcat went on sale, Kuniskis publicly sandbagged the then-secret horsepower rating for the engine before he unveiled its 707-hp potential. He laughed off the reactions, even proud that FCA's skunkworks effectively smoke-screened enthusiasts and the industry to the engine's potential.

He admitted the upcoming pickup has a long future in the lineup, too.

"I think we’re just scratching the surface on where that thing can go. There’s nothing else like it…it has massive potential," he said.

On Monday, Kuniskis couldn't hide a wry smile about speculation that a high-powered Jeep was inevitable in the Gladiator's future, especially given his history with high-performance vehicles.

"What do you think we should do?" he asked.

"It makes too much sense not to but it's not my decision," I answered.

"That's interesting," he replied with a smile.


Jeep Gladiator Forum original post/info:

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 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.

Public statements have hinted that this model is indeed coming. Mark Allen, head of Jeep design, recently alluded to a future high speed off-roading Jeep in an interview from the LA Auto Show (video below). Could he be referring to a Jeep Gladiator Hercules? Hopefully we'll know soon!

In the meantime we've taken a shot at what a high performance Hercules Gladiator could resemble through our renderings below, giving the standard Gladiator Mopar beadlock wheels wrapped in larger tires, Mopar front skid plate, Mopar black grille, lift kit, steel front bumper, rock rails, ram air hood, larger fender vents and vented high fenders.



Jeep-Gladiator-Hercules-blue-Jeepgladiatorforum.jpg



Jeep-Gladiator-Hercules-green-Jeepgladiatorforum.jpg



Jeep-Gladiator-Hercules-white-Jeepgladiatorforum.jpg



Jeep-Gladiator-Hercules-white2-Jeepgladiatorforum.jpg



Jeep-Gladiator-Hercules-yellow-Jeepgladiatorforum.jpg



Jeep-Gladiator-Hercules-Jeepgladiatorforum-blue.jpg



Jeep-Gladiator-Hercules-Jeepgladiatorforum.jpg

 
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Jeeptimus Prime

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Its sweet but honestly would swap that hood for a Rubicons, hard enough keeping dust/dirt from engine bay as is. Front fenders are sick tho! Also my price guess if legit... $65K; dealer mark-up $75K.

Aside from the 3.0 Diesel I can't believe Jeep didn't offer a more powerful engine at launch! I heard the 3.6 has been tweaked for the JT but so far the numbers reported are the same.
 
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JTRUBI

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If it looks anything close to that render I’m in. Damnnn
 


MrKnowitall

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They'll probably wait to release it until right after I buy mine, forcing me to live a life of regret.
Its sweet but honestly would swap that hood for a Rubicons, hard enough keeping dust/dirt from engine bay as is. Front fenders are sick tho! Also my price guess if legit... $65K; dealer mark-up $75K.

Aside from the 3.0 Diesel I can't believe Jeep didn't offer a more powerful engine at launch! I heard the 3.6 has been tweaked for the JT but so far the numbers reported are the same.
the Pentastar in the old Ram was rated at 305hp (20 more than JL) and 269lb-ft (9 more) at 4175rpm (625rpm lower). I doubt there's much different internally. The Ram probably has a bigger exhaust and different mapping.
 

ThirtyOne

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The blessing and curse from a design standpoint is the iconic 7-slot grill.

I would love if they did a modified version of the original Gladiator grill on the Hercules to give it a distinctive and more aggressive face. But then I wish they had done that on the Gladiator.
 

Wilk

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Personally, I'm not liking the black grill on those. Everything else looks pretty sweet though.

I'm worried about the higher output engine and transmission. A hemi would be awesome but I suspect they will go with a turbo V6 or go for more power out of the 2.0. Either way, I suspect a manual transmission option is unlikely unless they keep the pentastar base. I'm gonna wait forore news before I buy.
 

steffen707

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Personally, I'm not liking the black grill on those. .
Needs to look like this grill . I saw something like this on two jeeps in Milwaukee this weekend. I'm totally doing this to my JT. I want our JT to be like a family member with its own personality.

Just need to come up with a badass name for the vehicle, like Glenn or Shirley! lol

81r8ssee55L._SL1200_.jpg
 


Oilburner

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... A hemi would be awesome but I suspect they will go with a turbo V6.. I suspect a manual transmission option is unlikely -
Requoted for troof -
 

Vegas_Sirk

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A Hemi would be sweet, but I could also see them doing a high output version of the I-6 Turbo that is rumored for the new Grand Cherokee.
 

JEEPN X 4

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This is going to cost a million dollars but I love it. It seems kind of unlikely it would have coilovers, but should at least have some pretty nice remote reservoir race shocks on it.
 

DamonC64

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Not a fan of the “Vader Grills” but would like a 715 style grill on it. Also those fenders would be awesome, just add a single bar DRL on it like the Rugged ridge prototype fenders from Sema.

284BD45C-0D1D-4DAF-8F15-9E2366C14DB6.jpeg
YES!!!!!!!

 

 
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