Because the world needs more high-performance offroad pickups.
Less than two months after the Jeep Gladiator made its official debut at LA talk of future variants has begun. More specifically, a hardcore Gladiator that'll compete directly against the Ford F-150 Raptor. According to Jeep Gladiator Forum, inside FCA sources have hinted that a high-performance off-roader is in development, rumored to be named 'Hercules'. The Gladiator Hercules? We like it.
Furthermore, the publication claims it has confirmed the vehicle is already being evaluated for market viability, meaning it has not received the official production green light. Jeep has yet to reach out to suppliers yet, but prototypes are reportedly being built right now for testing purposes.
Jeep executives have previously hinted that they'd welcome such a vehicle to join the lineup but, again, a business case has to be made first. In the meantime, JGF has cooked up a series of Gladiator Hercules renderings for our viewing pleasure. All have received larger tires, a Mopar front skit plate, Mopar black grille, lift kit, steel front bumper, rock rails, ram air hood, larger fender vents and vented high fenders.
What has not been addressed yet is what'll be under the hood. First off, don't expect to see the mighty 6.2-liter Hellcat V8 stuffed in there for a few reasons. One, getting it to fit will be a design and engineering challenge that'll likely not be worth the cost, and two, weight. What good is a performance off-roader bogged down with added weight, despite the high power output? It just wouldn't make sense.
A more likely engine candidate is the current 3.6-liter V6 with 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Another possibility, which won't be available in the regular Gladiator, is the turbo four with 270 hp and 295 lb-ft. Both would do the job just fine and it's even potentially possible for engineers to find some additional power (say, a supercharged V6?). In any case, a high-performance Gladiator Hercules, at least to us, is a no-brainer. If Jeep can make the business case work for a Hellcat Grand Cherokee, then why not a Raptor fighter?