Jeep drops Hellcat engine into Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

"After the addition of new 707-horsepower Trackhawk, Jeep Grand Cherokee is going to prove the most powerful and quickest SUV", said Mike Manley, head of Jeep brand at FCA.

Although it doesn't use their devilish name, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk borrows the 707 horsepower supercharged V8 from the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcats.

The Hellcat engine gives the Trackhawk bragging rights for a number of other feats, namely a 0 to 60mph time of 3.5 seconds, a top speed of 180mph, and a quarter-mile time of 11.9 seconds.

Look for the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk to begin arriving in Jeep showrooms in the fourth quarter of the year. Meanwhile, Track reduces the shift times between each gear and torque split is at 30:70.

This kind of power means the 5,363-pound (2,433-kilogram) Jeep beast can roar to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) in just 3.5 seconds, making Jeep claim this is the quickest accelerating figure ever for an SUV. The Dodge Challenger is the most powerful muscle auto according to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, or FCA, which is the parent company of both Jeep and Dodge.

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Despite its race track leanings, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk comes with much of the same active and passive safety gear used in the regular SUV, including the ability for the driver to check on a towed load while driving.

If you're insane enough to take this thing off-road, the Trackhawk comes with the Quadra-Trac four-wheel-drive system, although it's worth noting that the whole vehicle sits an inch lower than the Grand Cherokees you're used to. It will provide front brakes of 15.7 inches and vented rotors with six-piston calipers. The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk will also boast a 7-inch information display, which has been designed especially for the drivers. To cope with the extra poke, Jeep has beefed up the transmission, fitted forged chain sprockets and a wider chain in the transfer case, fortified the rear driveshaft and half-shafts, and tweaked the rear differential. Out back, the dual exhausts are replaced by black chrome quad exhaust tips. The Trackhawk rides on 20-inch lightweight forged alloy wheels wrapped in standard 295/45 Pirelli Scorpion Verde All-season Performance run-flat tires. There are no fog lights; in their place air intakes for engine and oil cooling.

Over the current performance flagship, the SRT, the Trackhawk increases lateral g-force from 0.87 to 0.88g thanks to nine per cent stiffer springs and different Bilstein damper settings.

The standard auto gets a Nappa leather interior, while a Signature leather pack is also available which features "Trackhawk" embossed into the seat.

  • Delia Davidson