British companies have found considerable success modifying the Land Rover Defender, even managing to export them to American buyers.
Now, in an intriguing twist of fate, a new UK outfit is promising to transform the iconic Jeep Wrangler into a refined off-roader.
Sterling Automotive Design, based in Blackburn, Lancashire, says the Jeep Wrangler JL Launch Edition demonstrates their commitment to crafting a ‘bespoke piece of British Heritage’.
Prepared for a grilling
Sterling Automotive Design aims to offer buyers the chance to fully customise their purchases, with in-house prototyping and 3D scanning capabilities.
The Wrangler JL Launch Edition is intended to demonstrate just what the company can do, and includes features said to be bespoke to this particular model.
Most noticeable is the fact that Sterling has ditched Jeep’s trademark seven-slot vertical front grille. Replacing one of the Jeep’s most instantly recognisable components is a brave move.
However, Sterling believes the new triple-slot horizontal grille offers ‘a sophisticated and definite aesthetic’ for the Wrangler.
It is also matched with a set of substantial widened wheel arches, which also sit deeper on the boxy Jeep bodywork. At the front these feed into a larger, body-coloured, front bumper.
The jutting chin certainly gives the Wrangler Launch Edition a distinctive look, and features a set of integrated fog lights.
British tailoring meets American style
At the back, the rear bumper gains a body-coloured finish, with Sterling also fitting a bespoke spare wheel cover with signature branding.
Filling those widened wheel arches are set of 17-inch Pro Comp wheels. Measuring 8.5-inches across, they are fitted with chunky 265/70 Davanti Terratoura tyres.
Sterling badging can also be found above the new front grille, whilst body-coloured wing mirrors also complete the exterior makeover.
Where the JL Launch Edition shows serious changes is inside. Here, Sterling has upholstered the front and rear seats in 3D panelled and perforated leather. Matching leather is applied to the gear lever and arm rests, whilst the dashboard is finished in Alcantara.
Sterling branding can be found embossed on the front seats, with a large logo also displayed on the dashboard in front of the passenger seat.
It certainly changes the nature of the Wrangler interior, and might make you think twice about using a hosepipe to clean it out.
Ready for launch
Beneath the new exterior and interior, Sterling has left the mechanics of the 4×4 Wrangler unchanged. That means a 2.2-liter turbodiesel engine with 197 hp, connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Pricing for the Launch Edition is £52,995, meaning a premium of £5,740 over the regular Jeep Wrangler Overland on which the Sterling creation is based.
Sterling promises more vehicles to come, with an enhanced Audi Q8 also said to be in development. We will have to wait and see how Sterling tackles the gigantic front grille of that model.