As we get closer and closer to the end of the JK, more and more rumors are starting to find some teeth. Here's an article that was just published in AllPar and a lot of it already confirms what we've been seeing for a while now - there's a very real possibility that we will be seeing a new Wrangler with IFS and more likely than not, IRS too and an optional non-removable steel top with a windshield that does not fold down. Check it out...
Wrangler 2017: What's New?
The next-generation Jeep Wrangler appears to be scheduled to debut in 2016, as a 2017 model. Several sources have now claimed that it will have an independent suspension, which is anathema to many hard-core Jeepers but hardly unique among 4x4s: the 1963 Jeep Wagoneer boasted an optional independent front suspension, and the military’s “Humvee” is outfitted that way. Reportedly, Wrangler’s setup will be a long-travel design with the maximum possible ground clearance. This remains officially unconfirmed and unacknowledged, though Jeep officials have said that a Wrangler redesign is in the works. Many expect a pickup to be part of the next generation as well, though this, too, is unconfirmed.
2017 Jeep Wrangler: The most changes since 1997
The next-generation Jeep Wrangler is currently scheduled to debut in 2016, as a 2017 model, according to Allpar’s research and speculation. Sources within the company have told several outlets that Jeep is hard at work on a long-travel independent suspension for Wrangler, based loosely on a design first launched on the 1963 Jeep Wagoneer. This vehicle used variable-rate leaf springs in back, but were the first off-road vehicles to have independent front suspensions.
Many may ask why Jeep would even want to use an independent suspension. The current design has several advantages:
•It is proven to work well off-road
•It can be modified by owners for higher off-road performance
•Wranglers are out-selling plant capacity already
•The setup costs less than an independent suspension
The arguments for the new design include:
•It would end the so-called “death wobble,” a public relations and lawsuit problem
•Even the Jeep-ready suspension described below would cut unsprung weight by a third, greatly improving on-road ride and handling
•On-road behavior would be much improved
•The factory could increase capacity by having suspensions assembled elsewhere as an assembly
•The change would increase stability and may increase off-road capability for stock vehicles
In the mid-1990s, Chrysler engineers including Evan Boberg, Gerry Hentschel, and Bob Sheaves developed a new independent suspension for the 1997 Jeep Wrangler. Unlike conventional independent designs, it would not lose ground clearance during rebounds; this was a major plus for off-road use. It was based on a deDion design, but connected the differential to the suspension so that it travelled with the wheel. If one side of the vehicle was going over a rock or into a ditch, the differential would be pulled up by that wheel, providing better overall ground clearance. Wheel travel had to be increased to about 12 inches. (Evan Boberg described the project in his book Common Sense Not Required, Bob Sheaves in this article on Li’l Blue.)
The strategy carries obvious risks; the people who designed the long-travel independent suspension are no longer working at Chrysler, not to mention those who worked on the 1963 Jeep Wagoneer (for Kaiser). The Wrangler’s off-road credentials will have to be superior to current models to win the hearts of the brand’s core enthusiasts, who, along with magazine critics, will almost certainly be ready to call it “just another rebadged Fiat,” “fake Jeep,” and “mall runner” — regardless of what it can do on the trail. The system will need to be well tested on all types of terrain, at least as durable as the current setup, and capable regardless of model. Some have talked about the possibility of making two versions of the Wrangler — traditional and independent — which is feasible from an engineering standpoint, but probably not with regard to production in a space-limited factory. One suspects that there is a backup plan in place, but given that such a backup plan would also require two factory redesign plans, the “backup” may simply be spending more time to get it right.
The Jeep Wrangler is a key vehicle for Chrysler, often its second best seller after the Ram series, and Sergio Marchionne has said many times they cannot reduce its off-road capability.
See the whole article here: