2012 Jeep Wrangler: official details, photos and specs

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2011

To satisfy off-road enthusiasts with upscale elements, the 2012 Wrangler Unlimited will be offered with the more powerful, more refined and lighter Pentastar V-6 engine. This is the replacement for the iron-block 3.8-liter V-6 engine used on the outgoing model. When Jeep debuted the four-door Wrangler Unlimited a handful of years ago, it found out that off-roading fans like features that may be seen as upscale.

The switch in engine has resulted to an improvement in acceleration. Going from zero to 60mph on a Wrangler Unlimited that’s fitted with a Pentastar engine takes 8.4 seconds.

In comparison, the outgoing model’s acceleration time is 11.4 seconds. The aluminum-block 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 has an output of 285 hp, about 41% higher than the 2011 model’s 202 hp from the V-6. Showrooms are expected to offer the 2012 model this month. In 2006, the year that the Wrangler Unlimited was first unveiled, it was seen to be important but certainly wasn’t expected to dominate in the Wrangler lineup.

The Unlimited sells more units than its two-door stable mate by a 3-2 ratio. At the same time, it appeals to customers who are younger and wealthier. The customers of the Wrangler Unlimited customers have an average age of 44, and the average household income is $110,000.

Meanwhile, the customers of the Wrangler two-door have an average age of 50 years old and its average household income is $95,000. It’s amazing how the four-door model has seemingly converted the Wrangler from being a cult vehicle beloved by off-roading enthusiasts into an all-purpose hauler that’s more appealing.

At a recent media launch, Ryan Nagode, lead interior designer for the Wrangler, said that the Wrangler Unlimited has started to be seen as a “day-to-day vehicle," and isn’t just for trails. To raise the appeal of the vehicle to upscale customers, Jeep has added fender flares and removable hard-top roofs with the same color as the body to its offering. The matching-color roofs and flares were offered initially on the 2011 Wrangler Sahara model. But they will be made available on the range-topping Rubicon model too.

Press Release

Jeep Wrangler 3.6-liter V-6: the Pentastar engine equipped on the Jeep icon

Jeep introduces the all-new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 petrol engine that will be equipped on the 2012 Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. 3.6-liter V-6 powertrain provides more fuel efficiency, improved on-road driving dynamics and refinement, more power and more torque. Petrol powertrain now adds upgraded automatic transmission for refined shifting and greater performance. Dramatically improved on-road performance combines with even more off-road prowess. New petrol engine joins 2.8-liter turbo diesel engine for European lineup.

In Europe, the all-new 3.6-liter petrol powertrain will be introduced on Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, Sahara and Rubicon trim levels starting November 2011.

3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 Engine

Compact and lightweight, the all-aluminum 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine is more than 40 kg (90 lbs) lighter than the previous 3.8-liter V-6 engine that was constructed with a cast-iron block. The Pentastar engine is extremely quiet, constructed with a high-pressure, die-cast aluminum block fitted with cast-iron bore liners and aluminum cylinder heads. The engine also has been designed to meet all known future worldwide emission standards and is currently Euro 5 certified.

The 3.6-liter V-6 engine is manufactured at the Trenton engine plant in Michigan (USA).


The A580 automatic transmission benefits Jeep Wrangler as much as the new petrol engine, with more refined shifting and gear selection. By increasing the number of speeds, the transmission allows the engine to operate in a more efficient RPM range, which helps increase fuel economy. More speeds also enable the engine to remain in the torque curve, increasing acceleration. The new Wrangler (two-door) boasts a 37-percent improvement in 0 - 100 km/h time, which is now 8.1 seconds. Also, a lower first-gear ratio in the new automatic transmission gives the Wrangler more off-road capability via a lower overall crawl ratio.

Electronic Range Select is standard for all automatic-equipped Jeep Wrangler models. The electronic stability control (ESC) also has been optimized to perform effortlessly with the new 3.6-liter V-6 engine.

Along with the proven NSG 370 six-speed manual transmission, engineered for the newest Jeep Wrangler are a new clutch housing, flywheel and long-travel damper clutch. The improvements are a result of the adaptation of the transmission to the 3.6-liter V-6 engine.

The five-speed automatic transmission is produced in Kokomo, Indiana (ITP2), and the six-speed manual transmission is produced in Gaggenau, Germany.


Jeep Wrangler delivers unmatched off-road capability with legendary four-wheel drive and is produced with more than seven decades of 4x4 engineering experience behind it. Wrangler continues to offer a body-on-frame design, front and rear five-link suspension system, live axles and electronic lockers.

Jeep Wrangler now offers a choice of two transmissions: a six-speed manual and a five-speed automatic gearbox.

Along with a new powertrain, Jeep engineers have thoroughly optimized ride and sound characteristics of the Jeep Wrangler's body-on-frame design. New motor and transmission adaptations and revised suspension calibrations contribute to overall improvements that are immediately evident both on- and off-road.

The interior sound quality is greatly improved through refinements in the powertrain mounting system, noise damping in the firewall and the inclusion of the first Jeep Wrangler engine cover to effectively isolate the cabin from noises emulating from the engine and road surfaces.

On the outside, engine noise is barely perceptible at idle. With the new 3.6-liter V-6 engine, all accessories are mounted directly to the engine with no accessory brackets. This helps ensure that all accessories, including the power steering pump, alternator and air conditioning compressor, are anchored firmly and less susceptible to vibration and noise.

Shocks have also been retuned and are designed for optimum balance between advanced on-road handling and rugged off-road capability.

Axles and Transfer Cases

The Jeep Wrangler is now available with more axle gear ratios, allowing customers to optimize fuel economy and/or vehicle capability. Wrangler is available with 3.21, 3.73 or 4.10 ratios depending on model. Also, Jeep Wrangler offers towing capability up to 2,500 kg.

The capable driveline of the Sport and Sahara models includes a Dana 30 front axle and Dana 44 rear axle. The Command-Trac® NV241 part-time, two-speed transfer case features a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio.

The Rubicon model features heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles and the Rock-Trac® NV241 two-speed transfer case with a 4.0:1 low-range gear ratio. Rubicon also includes electric front and rear locking differentials and disconnecting front sway bar, taking Jeep Wrangler to the highest level of capability.

2.8-liter CRD Engine

The all-new 3.6-liter V-6 engine joins the new 2.8-liter turbo diesel engine with fuel-saving Stop/Start technology. The diesel engine provides power of 200 hp DIN (147 kW), a 13-percent improvement over the prior 2.8-liter diesel engine. Torque for the engine comes in at 410 N•m (302 lb-ft) with its six-speed manual transmission and 460 N•m (339 lb-ft) with its five-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep Wrangler's diesel engine, when paired with the manual transmission, incorporates Stop/Start technology - the first application of this technology on a Chrysler Group vehicle. Stop/Start improves fuel efficiency and reduces CO2 emissions by managing the amount of time the engine runs. With Stop/Start, the engine is shut off when the vehicle is stopped, the shift gear is in Neutral and the clutch is released. The engine then restarts automatically when the clutch pedal is depressed. Drivers can deactivate the technology via a button on the dashboard, and an icon displays in the instrument panel to indicate the Stop/Start status.

Topics: jeep, jeep wrangler

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