It comes with 1,000 horses under the hood and a six-digit price tag

Jeep kept us waiting for almost three decades to bring out the Gladiator. It launched the concept truck back in 2005, but the production-spec truck was launched this year. However, it was worth the wait because Jeep managed to create an all-round truck that could be used as a daily-driver, as an off-roader, and also as a work truck. However, that Gladiator couldn’t be considered a ’beast’ in any sense. It neither looked intimidating, nor had the firepower to make people’s jaws drop. But Hennessey Performance was quick to work on this and decided to close in on the one thing that the original Gladiator was not. Hennessey has unveiled the alter-ego version of the Jeep Gladiator under the 2020 Hennessey Maximus 1000 Jeep Gladiator Truck moniker. The tuner decided not to make this a common offering and announced that only 24 examples of the Maximus will be manufactured. Is this product worth the exclusivity?

Overview

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Jeep’s quest to create an ultimate off-roader with a legendary moniker had not been an easy one. There was a lot of pressure from enthusiasts and purists as well for almost 30 years now. However, the positive critiques put the automaker in high spirits and it went berserk with its promotional activities. Jeep wanted to capitalize on this hype and decided to bring five Gladiator based concepts to the 2019 Easter Jeep Safari; even if that meant taking that Wrangler off the grid this year. The 2020 Gladiator is underpinned by the Wrangler’s platform, but it is much more than just ’a Wrangler with a bed’. Jeep has launched the 2020 Gladiator is four different trims: Sport, Sport S, Overland, and Rubicon. There was a Launch Edition limited to 4,190 units as well.

We wouldn’t call it a mistake or a missed opportunity per se, but Jeep played a little too safe by offering the Gladiator with the company’s trusted 3.6-liter V-6 mill. The engine has been around since forever, and although it does its duties well, it does not like to be taken down hard. Like I mentioned earlier, it is a versatile vehicle, but not a fast one. Hennessey figured this vacuum and decided to fill the void by offering the Maximus with the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat’s engine, albeit with 300 extra ponies.

Exterior

Jeep Gladiator Maximus 1000 by Hennessey
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  • Signature Seven-Slat Grille Retained
  • All-Black Look Feels Elegant
  • Maximus-Exclusive Bumpers
  • LED Light Bar On The Roof And Bumper
  • Hennessey-Designed 20-Inch Alloys
  • Stainless Steel Exhaust Pipe
  • LED Taillights

I am so glad that Hennessey did not try to go overboard with the aesthetics and spoil the signature looks of the Jeep. Jeep is one of the very few brands today that has a loyal fan-base for its old-school looks. The seven-slat grille is older than many mainstream automakers in the market today. Upfront, it looks nothing but a Jeep. The circular headlights, the seven-slat grille, and the swelled-up fenders with turn-signal indicators have been retained. Hennessey has installed a Maximus bumper that features two LED lights each on either sides and a long LED bar in the middle. The bumper is placed quite high and the LED bar sits flush, so there is no risk of it getting knocked out in case of some hardcore off-roading. The Maximus also comes with a bullbar attached to the bumper, which makes the truck look all the more butch. The front windshield comes in a white ’MAXIMUS’ decal for dummies who, despite all the changes, could not figure out this is no ordinary Gladiator. The hardtop roof also comes with an LED bar that is mounted as sturdily as possible.

The black shade looks absolutely classy on the Maximus 1000. It is offered on the standard Gladiator as well, but the most common choice has been the Rubicon Orange, or the Blue. So, it’s a good thing that Hennessey strayed away from the Jeep-generic colors. There’s nothing much to write about the side profile other than the raised stance, the Hennessey badge at the rear-quarter, and the drool-worthy BFG 20-inch KD Off-Road Tires. In my opinion, what makes the Hennessey Maximus a winner is the lack of chrome. There’s no hint of chrome elements anywhere around the body and I couldn’t have been any more happier. However, the stainless steel exhaust pipe sticks out like a sore thumb under the rear door. Hennessey may have placed it here to add some funkiness, but to me, it looks like an after-thought.

When viewed from the rear, the Hennessey Maximus looks absolutely stunning; so much so that if you take a selfie with it, the truck will give you a complex. I find the rear three-quarter angle to the best to view the Maximus. The flared wheel arches, the tall ride stance, and the LED taillights give the perfect vibe to the truck. The plastic piece to protect the LED Taillights are now covered completely, unlike the open piece on the standard Gladiator. Obviously, the ’Jeep’ branding is nowhere to be found on the tailgate, but neither is ’Maximus’ embossed on it. The rear Maximus bumper is offered with two tow hooks and painted in red to break the monotony. All-in-all, the changes when compared to the Jeep Gladiator are subtle, yet effective.

Interior

  • Custom Leather Upgrade
  • Hennessey-embroidered seats
  • Perhaps with a seven-inch infotainment system

Hennessey has not revealed much about the interior yet, not even the pictures. But what we do know is that the cabin has been revamped with custom leather and new Hennessey and Maximus embroidered seats. Until the tuner releases more photos, we can safely assume that these are the only changes it has done to the interior. As for the Jeep Gladiator, it comes with soft-touch material all around the cabin, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system that can be upgraded to an 8.4-inch system as well. It supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. In terms of space, it is not roomy by any means, but as per truck standards, it is quite spacious. Stuff like adjustable bolsters, lumbar support, and heating function come as optional in the Gladiator, but I’d expect them to be standard affair in the Maximus.

Drivetrain

  • 6.2-liter, Supercharged V-8 Engine
  • Hennessey’s HPE1000 Engine Upgrade
  • 1,000 Horsepower
  • 933 Pound-feet of Torque
  • New ECU, Fuel System, and Radiator
  • Upgraded Suspension System
  • Six-inch Lift Kit

Let’s talk about the most important aspect in the Hennessey Maximus 1000. This truck may still have hints of Jeep Gladiator’s exterior and interior, but it is completely different under the hood. The 3.6-liter, V-6 Pentastar engine from the Gladiator that produces 285 horses and 260 pound-feet of torque has been replaced by the Hellcat engine. You read that right. FCA’s 6.2-liter, supercharged V-8 engine has been plonked under the hood of the Hennessey Maximus. In standard form, the engine churns out 707 horses and 650 pound-feet of torque. But it is imperative for a tuner like Hennessey to fiddle with the specs.

The company decided to put this mill on HPE1000 steroids that bumped up the figures to 1,000 ponies and 933 pound-feet of torque. How about that. This is now almost four times more powerful than the standard Gladiator. Power is sent to the ground via an eight-speed automatic transmission, that may or may not be an FCA unit. Hennessey has also added new elements such as an ECU, radiator, and fuel system, held up using new wiring harnesses. With all these add-ons, the Maximus is not a down-to-earth vehicle, quite literally. An upgraded suspension system with a lift kit raises the truck six more inches off the ground. The ground clearance now stands at 17.1 inches. Talk about a first-floor view from the driver’s seat. Hennessey is also offering a 3-year/36,000 mile warranty on the Maximus.

Pricing

Hennessey has decided to produce just two units of the truck per month and will limit the production to 24 units. Naturally, this exclusive offering will attract a high price. How much, you ask? $200,000 a pop. To put things into perspective, Jeep offers the standard Gladiator with a starting sticker price of $35,000.

Final Thoughts

Jeep Gladiator Maximus 1000 by Hennessey
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People have longed for a V-8 engine in the Gladiator, but the company has no plans of offering it. Tim Kuniski, head of Jeep North America, said that "the problem is that it fits like a glove and there is no air space around the engine and the whole external space of the vehicle, so you have no crush space". This puts the safety in jeopardy as there needs to be a enough space for the crumple zone to absorb as much impact as possible in case of an accident. But Hennessey has done it with the Maximus. We’ll need to wait for the tuner’s official report on this to see if any structural modifications were made to the Maximus. All we know is that a new bumper was installed along with a bullbar, which is surely not enough to absorb a high impact.

Nevertheless, the Hennessey Maximus 1000 is a desirable product; and, I’m not saying it just for the clever Gladiator-Russell Crowe-Maximus reference and wordplay. The Hellcat engine in a pickup truck is very tempting, but with the six-digit price tag, I’m not sure if it will be able to sell all the 24 units. Ram is offering the Rebel TRX with the same engine, so it is not exactly an out-of-the-box idea. However, given the Gladiator and Hennessey’s popularity amongst enthusiasts, you never know. The Texan tuner plans to kick off the production from July 2019 and will take four months to build each example.

2020 Hennessey Maximus specs
Engine V-8
Engine displacement 6.2 liters
Gearbox 8-speed automatic
Power 1,000 horsepower
Torque 933 pound-feet
Wheels 20 inches
Suspension lift 6 inches
  • Leave it
    • Too pricey at $200,000
    • The interior should have been completely revamped to justify the price tag
    • V-8 engine is not a safe choice unless structural changes have been made

Further reading

2020 Jeep Gladiator Exterior
- image 806951

Read our full review on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator.

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