Jeep is rumored to be working on a high-performance version of the new 2020 Gladiator to take on Ford’s F-150 Raptor.
Jeep made a big splash when they finally took the cover off the 2020 Gladiator. The first new Jeep pickup since 1992, the Gladiator might look like a Wrangler with a bed but it’s built from the ground up to be a pickup truck, with increased towing capacity and a beefier suspension to handle the extra load.
The Gladiator is powered by the same 3.6-L Pentastar V6 that powers so many of Jeep’s vehicles. It offers a fine amount of power at 280 horses, but that’s a far cry from some higher-end pickups such as the Ford Raptor’s 450 horsepower twin-turbo V6.
During the Gladiator’s unveiling, it seemed that Jeep was perfectly content to stick to the mid-size pickup market, but now we’re hearing rumors that Jeep has greater aspirations. They want to break into the Raptor’s territory with a performance version of the Gladiator, and they’re currently building prototypes to do it.
According to a report from the Jeep Gladiator Forum, the performance pickup is to be called the Hercules. It has yet to be greenlit by the bigwigs at FCA, and they’re currently performing a market viability study to see if it’s worth their time.
The Forum also created a few detailed renderings of just what the Hercules might look like. The general lines of the Gladiator remain the same, but now there’s a hood scoop, Mopar front skid plate, lifted suspension, rock rails, and vented fenders to give it a sportier look.
Looks are only half the battle. Anything to take on the Raptor would need to be at least as powerful as the EcoBoost 3.5-L twin-turbo V6, which produces 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. FCA has a few engines to choose from, with Motor Trend suggesting the 6.4-L V8 from the Dodge Durango SRT and Challenger 392 as a possibility. That engine produces 475 horsepower, which is more than enough.
But why stop there? Why not use the Hellcat’s 6.2-L supercharged V8 with over 700 horsepower and really put the Raptor to shame? We can dream.