Jeep 4SPEED Unveiling
You read that right Jeep is going for speed with this concept vehicle. Although the Wrangler has never been associated with speed (or mistaken for a sports car), Jeep set out to unveil this new lightweight speed demon at this year’s Easter Jeep Safari, which is held every year in the scenic backdrop of Moab in Utah.
All about the weight
In large part, the 4SPEED concept is really a combination of two previous concepts, the Pork Chop from 2011 and the Stitch from 2013. What these three have in common is a huge reduction in weight, particularly when compared to the factory models. This year, the 4SPEED has pushed the weight-reduction even further by shedding around 950-pounds, in comparison to a regular two-door Wrangler. In fact, the weight reduction of the 4SPEED is so noticeable that the Jeep actually sits 2-inches higher, even using the same factory suspension. In addition to ditching a ton of interior convenience parts like the radio, climate control, carpet and the rear seats, Jeep redesigned the roll-cage with a thinner, sleeker design, which included a carbon fiber hood, fender flares and rear tub area. Focusing on every corner of the Wrangler and eliminating anything that wasn’t essential to driving it.
Aerodynamics and stance
The recent JL Wrangler was designed with aerodynamics in mind and went through a slight modification of the windshield. Angling the windshield was met with some criticism, but the results ended up not being as drastic as expected. The 4SPEED Jeep doubled-down on the rake and brought the windshield back even further. In addition, the concept Jeep is also 22-inches shorter, but still maintains the same factory wheelbase, allowing it to be an incredibly agile beast on the trail, while also providing impressing approach and departure angles.
To help this Wrangler live up to its concept nameplate, Jeep is taking advantage of the great light-weight platform to showcase its new 2.0-liter turbo, four-cylinder engine. This engine is coupled with an 8-speed automatic transmission and Dana 44 front and rear axles, each running a 4.10 gear ratio. These features are couples with 18-inch lightweight aluminum wheels wrapped in 35-inch BF Goodrich mud-terrain tires. The combination of a lighter platform plus the increase in lift height and larger tire size makes this Wrangler fast on the road, and very capable on the trail.
Future potential models for the JL
We all know that concepts vehicles are created to push the envelope of creativity and development minus the commitment of manufacturing. Without knowing which pieces were rescued from the JL R&D bin and which are completely new ideas, elements of the 4SPEED could still appear in a possible special edition Wrangler model later in the year, especially during the launch of their 4-cyliner Hurricane turbo engine. Pieces like the carbon fiber hood and fender flares are certainly reasonable, along with the more minimalistic interior. Stripping down a Wrangler to the bare-essentials and pairing it with a turbo engine is certainly intriguing, and the potential to introduce a lower, cost-effective and gas-efficient model in the Wrangler line-up is one that we might see come to fruition sooner than we think.
Photos courtesy of Jeep