A manual electric Wrangler and a bob-tailed Gladiator are just some of the concepts Jeep is previewing at the 56th Easter Jeep Safari.
Jeep is previewing five concepts at the week-long event in Moab, Utah but the brand says there’s essentially a zero per cent chance of most of these reaching production – but that doesn’t mean all these concept elements are completely fanciful.
“We’re literally kind of hiding some things in plain sight in some cases,” said head of Ram and Mopar Exterior Design Mark Trostle.
“But some of the vehicles that we create, we do like to get feedback and, and some of those parts can make it and hopefully we’ll make it into the Jeep Performance Parts catalogue.”
The brand has maintained an official presence at the event for around 20 years, using it as an opportunity to stay in touch with some of the most hardcore off-roading enthusiasts.
A follow-up to last year’s Magneto concept, the Magneto 2.0 strips the Wrangler of its internal combustion engine and instead includes an electric drivetrain.
There’s a custom-built axial flux electric motor that operates at up to 5250rpm, plus four lithium-ion battery packs – distributed throughout the chassis for weight balance – for a total capacity of 70kWh. They run on an 800V system.
Total outputs are 466kW of power and 1152Nm of torque, good for a dizzying 0-60mph (0-96km/h) time of two seconds. That’s considerably quicker than last year’s concept, which had a 6.8 second claim and outputs of 213kW and 370Nm.
Like last year’s Magneto, the concept features an unusual-for-an-EV six-speed manual transmission but with the first gear ratio changed from 5.13 to 3.36. A selectable maximum regeneration function, however, promises a true “one-pedal” driving experience.
It spans a 305mm longer wheelbase, and has been lifted by 76mm compared to a regular Wrangler. It also rides on 40-inch off-road tyres and 20-inch wheels, with locking Pro-Rock Dynatrac axles front and rear.
The Magneto 2.0 features Surf Blue paint, a custom “bikini top”, and a carbon-fibre bonnet with a blue-tinted transparent window. There are also custom bumpers front and rear, plus carbon-fibre wheel arch flares.
Like the regular Grand Cherokee 4xe, this concept features a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine mated with a 17kWh battery, two electric motors, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Total outputs are 280kW of power and 637Nm of torque.
The Trailhawk 4xe features a sway-bar disconnect and Jeep’s Quadra-Lift air suspension, as well as 33-inch BFG mud-terrain tyres.
It’s finished in Industrial Blue with Lagoon Blue tow hooks and a black-and-blue matte bonnet decal.
The roof has also been finished in black-painted Rhino Liner, typically used for ute tubs, while there are vinyl graphics down the sides to protect against debris.
There’s a reprieve from the black and blue inside, with saddle-coloured upholstery featuring houndstooth inserts. However, Surf Blue stitching has been included, as blue is the signature colour of 4xe Jeeps.
This Gladiator-based concept, featuring a bobbed-tail, is simply (and appropriately) called Bob. It’s been designed to blur the lines between the Gladiator and Wrangler.
The tray is a whole 305mm shorter, though the wheelbase is unchanged. The doors and B-pillars have been removed, while a canvas top has been stretched across the customised, perforated hardtop.
It’s powered by Jeep’s 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 engine, which remains unavailable in the Australian-market Gladiator.
There’s a three-inch lift with custom suspension components, Dynatrac Pro-Rock 60 axles with King Coils and Bypass shocks, and 20-inch beadlock wheels and 40-inch tyres.
Other changes include a custom vented bonnet and fenders made of carbon-fibre, steel bumpers, and a multi-finish paint scheme mixing gloss and matte finishes.
Mark Allen, head of Jeep Exterior Design, referred to this as a “spring special”, an American term for a special edition, and indicated it’s the concept most likely to reach production – at least in some form.
Celebrating 20 years since the rugged Wrangler Rubicon started reaching US dealerships, the Rubicon 20th Anniversary concept is based on the Rubicon 392. That means a beefy 6.4-litre V8 engine sits under the bonnet, producing 350kW of power and 637Nm of torque.
Jeep has fitted an active dual-mode exhaust, a bonnet scoop, custom-built half doors, and the Sky One-Touch power soft-top roof.
Off-road tweaks include a JPP two-inch lift kit, 17-inch Mopar beadlock-capable wheels rapped in 37-inch mud-terrain tyres, steel bumpers and belly pan, and a winch.
It’s finished in a matte Granite Crystal wrap, which Jeep says is to reduce scratches from branches. There are also gold tow hooks and unique badging.
The ‘41 concept pays homage to the Jeeps used in World War II by the U.S. Army.
Based on the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe plug-in hybrid, it’s finished in a matte olive green with black powder-coated steel bumpers, a tan soft-top and JPP half doors. It features a two-inch lift kit and 17-inch matte green wheels in 35-inch mud-terrain tyres.
Inside, the seats are covered in canvas with “digital camo” inserts, while the floor is finished in durable Rhino material.
The Gladiator D-Coder is effectively a rolling, interactive parts catalogue.
It wears more than 35 Jeep Performance Parts and Mopar accessories, each painted in Maraschino Red and labelled with QR codes. Scan one of these codes and you’ll be taken to the relevant link on the Mopar eStore website.
The interior is also bathed in Maraschino Red, with the seats upholstered in Katzkin leather. And yes, the QR codes on the seat will take you to the Katzkin website.
Powered by the Pentastar 3.6-litre petrol V6, the Gladiator has been given a two-inch lift kit with Fox shocks. It rides on 17-inch beadlock wheels riding on BF Goodrich KM3 37-inch tyres.
There’s a three-piece modular bumper, a single-hoop tubular grille and winch guard, 7.0-inch LED off-road lights, a snorkel, a Gorilla Glass windscreen said to be three times stronger than a standard windscreen, rock rails, and various other accessories from the JPP and Mopar parts catalogue.
Other changes include a cold-air intake system, a cat-back dual exhaust, JPP tube doors, and a Thule low-profile cargo basket.
Based on the plug-in hybrid Wrangler Unlimited 4xe, the Birdcage concept appears to preview some new parts in the JPP catalogue.
That includes flat fender flares with integrated, removable daytime running light covers, plus tail light spacers that will meet US Government lighting requirements.
There’s a custom rock-slider skid plate, behind which sit two low-mounted, closed-tow hoops. At each corner of the vehicle sit underbody rock lights, while custom rock rails on each side feature additional slider tubes to further protect the body.
It’s finished in Eagle Brown with Granite Crystal and Surf Blue accents, while inside there are Tobacco Leaf and Cocoa Brown leather seats with Surf Blue accent stitching.
Other changes include:
- 2.0-inch lift kit with Fox shocks
- 17-inch JPP beadlock wheels and BF Goodrich KM3 37-inch tyres
- 14-inch JPP TYRI off-road LED lights
- Armorlite vinyl flooring
- Rhino-Rack cargo basket
These concepts aren’t the only ones Jeep is taking to Moab, with a 1976 Kaiser Jeep M725 military ambulance-based concept serving as an off-road support machine and a “rolling mascot” for Jeep Performance Parts.
Which is your favourite Easter Jeep Safari concept?