DESPITE its traditional look and traditional mechanical layout, the JL Wrangler introduces new thinking and employs technology where appropriate. Parts of the body, including the doors, are aluminium, for example, indicative of the efforts designers have gone to, to reduce weight.
“Weight begets weight,” says Adams. “You put weight in somewhere else and you’ve got to put bigger brakes on … it’s like a waterfall effect. Everything you can reduce is a multiplier and a benefit down the road.”
But it’s the traction-control system Trautmann is most proud of with the JL. “The brake lock differential is such a cool story of how we made it,” he says. “It was such a difficult process; it took me almost two years.”
Trautmann explains it was a challenge to calibrate it for rock hopping. “It should be instantaneous and seamless that you’re transferring all that torque. Certain things like driving in snow and ice are quite different to rock hopping.”
In the end, he’s stoked with the result, one that in many instances can effectively replace locking diffs, something only fitted to the Rubicon.
For the Rubicon Trail development drive – part of receiving the “Trail Rated” badge of any new Jeep – the Wrangler relied heavily on electronics.
“We ran the entire Rubicon without using lockers,” he says. “We ran it front and rear open differentials; shows our controllability and tractive effort.”