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Default Wheeling the JL Downunder

The long-awaited and comprehensively leaked 2018 Jeep Wrangler was finally revealed in November, but it’ll be later this year before we see the latest generation of the iconic off-roader in Australian showrooms.

When it lands, the 2018 JL Wrangler will have benefited from extensive testing in rugged central Australia, with international engineering heads John Adams and Bernie Trautmann basing themselves out of Alice Springs.

Adams is the overlord of the Wrangler’s entire engineering program, and Trautmann is responsible for developing and fine-tuning the most important aspect of the package: its off-roading toughness and capability.

The program, carried out through the middle of January, was put together with the goal of collecting final hot-weather data and performance results, both for right-hand-drive production and for our region in general.

Australia’s part in the program follows testing carried out in overseas regions including Brazil, China, India and Russia.

“Australia presents some incredibly unique driving environments so it was in our best interest to visit and understand if there were some new learnings that we could apply to the development of the new Wrangler – specifically for this market,” Adams says.

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“Explicitly, we were looking at the effect of Australia’s corrugated roads on long-range and high-speed drives which are common for much of the country’s population outside of the cities – and how our suspension tuning processes these inputs, combined with the extreme heat effects on our engine, transmission and cooling system management temperatures.
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One of the biggest challenges, it’s not only increasing the capability of the vehicle off road but also increasing the dynamic performance on road. One of the things we’ve done is we’ve increased the footprint of the vehicle. Increasing the footprint of the vehicle means still has to remain nimble and one of the biggest obstacles when you increase the wheelbase is ensuring the nimbleness and the turn circle of the car.

One of the things we were able to do is, while increasing the footprint, increasing the interior spaciousness, we have a tighter turn circle so the vehicle has become more nimble on the trail.
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