Jeep revealed its long-awaited Gladiator pickup truck last November and now it appears off-road-focused brand may have a performance-oriented version in the works.
On Tuesday, Motor1 spotted information posted on the Jeep Gladiator Forum. A forum staff member published what he calls inside information about Jeep looking into a high-performance Gladiator Hercules along the lines of a Ford Ranger Raptor. In addition, the forum website created renderings of the speculative model.
2020 Jeep Gladiator, 2018 LA Auto Show
Before enthusiasts get too excited, the forum claims such a model has not been given a green light for production just yet and no supplier contracts have been signed. However, the forum says prototypes are being assembled, and Jeep's design chief, Mark Allen, told Autoline After Hours at last year's LA Auto Show that Jeep would expand into the high-speed off-road market. An FCA spokesperson provided no comment on the rumored Gladiator Hercules.
A performance version of the Gladiator would also do battle with the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, though the information pegs the Gladiator Hercules as a more powerful pickup. The Colorado ZR2 remains offered with two standard powertrains from the regular model.
As for how Jeep would boost power in the Gladiator Hercules, we don't know. The regular Gladiator will arrive with a 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque paired to either a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic transmission. Next year, the pickup will gain a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 rated at 220 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque mated exclusively to the 8-speed automatic.
Without a proper high-performance mid-size pickup on the market, it would appear the rumored Gladiator Hercules would have a segment to its own. We're always A-OK with more power.
We likely won't hear much about a high-performance Gladiator in the near future, but we might get a look at performance possibilities when Jeep releases its typical slew of concepts for its annual Moab Easter Safari.