In theory, fast SUV’s make no sense. A high-riding AWD vehicle capable of 0-100 km/h in 4.0 seconds and top speeds well north of 250 km/h yet incapable of traversing more than a pavement makes as much sense as a mid-engined supercar that can only go off-road with the performance figures of a Land Rover Defender, but alas, there seems to be a market for these. Back when the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT was first launched in 2006, it was the fastest SUV money could buy, right up until every manufacturer under the sun put over 300 kW in one SUV or another.
11 years later, Jeep have done it again by plonking the Dodge Challenger Hellcat’s 6.2-litre supercharged V8 into the Grand Cherokee. The numbers are truly remarkable – 523 kW and 881 N.m. To put that into context, a BMW X5 M produces 423 kW/750 N.m and anyone who has ever experienced the sheer shock of launching the 2.5 tonne behemoth to 100 km/h and beyond can attest to the g-forces experienced. So how would you feel, then, if I told you that the Trackhawk is faster?
A snazzy Torque Reserve pre-positioning the supercharger bypass valve to generate boost and minimize manifold filling time while cutting fuelling to individual cylinders and managing spark timing in order to provide improved engine torque response and quicker vehicle acceleration in Launch Control. In short, this generates a reserve of torque that can be instantaneously delivered upon acceleration from a standing stop.
At 14 600 rpm, 2,380cc of air pass through the supercharger per revolution which comes with integral charge-air coolers. What this means is that the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk will out accelerate an Audi RS6 and keep going all the way to 290 km/h. 3.5 seconds to 100 km/h is quite a cool number to flaunt around the lawyer’s office or whatever professional workspace you might commute to in your ‘murican monster.
As with most performance cars these days, endless configuration is possible and a few design queues such as quad-exit exhaust pipes and carbon fibre remind you of the grunt under your bonnet. Aside from this, the Trackhawk isn’t as lary as one might expect. All that torque is fed through a modified TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission, as well as a strengthened transfer case. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk goes on sale in the USA in the 4th quarter of 2017 but there is no word yet on local availability or pricing.