2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport: Track Tested
November 04, 2011
The big news for the 2012 Jeep Wrangler wasn't so much the spruced up interior, but rather the new, standard, 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. This engine makes 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Those are big numbers for a Jeep that starts at just over $20 grand.
Not only does our Long Term Wrangler have the new motor, but it's also got a six-speed manual. We've already tested the 2012 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited with the five-speed manual and were as curious as you are as to how the smaller, lighter Wrangler with row-your-own box did when pushed to its limits at the track.
You asked for it so here we go...
Vehicle: 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport
Driver: Chris Walton
Price as tested: $23,740
Drive Type: Four-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed manual
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, port-injected V6, gasoline
Redline (rpm): 6,600
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 285 @ 6,400
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 260 @ 4,800
Brake Type (front): 11.9-by-1.1 inch Ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 12.44-by-0.47 inch solid discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front) Solid live axle, shock absorbers, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Solid live axle, shock absorbers, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): P225/75R16 (104S)
Tire Size (rear): P225/75R16 (104S)
Tire Brand: Goodyear
Tire Model: Wrangler ST
Tire Type: All Season
Wheel size: 16-by-7.0 inches
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,865
0-30 (sec): 2.8 (2.9 w/TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.7 (5.0 w/TC on)
0-60 (sec): 7.1 (7.4 w/TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.9 (7.1 w/TC on)
0-75 (sec): 10.8 (11.3 w/TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.4 @ 89.3 (15.6 @ 88.3)
30-0 (ft): 35
60-0 (ft): 140
Slalom (mph): 55.7 (55.4 w/TC off)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.63 (0.63 w/TC on)
Db @ Idle: 49.4
Db @ Full Throttle: 81.0
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 73.2
Acceleration: Long-travel, high-point engaging clutch is great for off-roading but horrible for a drag strip. With TC off, in 2WD it'll light the rear tires. A little spin works, but too much is too much. Upshifting to a different zip codes with the long-neck shifter takes time, but it'll still chirp 1-2 and 2-3 if done quickly enough. Tall gears let the engine pull (for a long time in each gear) all the way to redline where power fades slightly.
Braking: Lots of dive, lots of wiggle and some directional change even requires steering to keep straight. Tires howl every time. Moderate fade.
Skid pad: Silly, really, considering how low the threshold is for non-defeat ESC. So low that the Jeep barely leans at this slow speed. Steering barely loads up. Barely a measurable difference with TC off.
Slalom: Also silly with early onset ESC intrusion -- best run was with minimal steering input and staying below the ESC's radar. Also essentially no reason/difference with TC off.