Jeep has confirmed there’s a special hell waiting those who believe the extrovert heavy-metal Grand Cherokee SRT isn’t mental enough.
SUDDENLY a 6.4-litre V8 capable of slingshotting its 2.3-tonne heft from a standstill to 100kmh in just 4.9 seconds isn’t awesome enough – so Jeep’s largest offer, the Grand Cherokee, is set to get more phwoar.
A lot more: Potentially 527kW and a tyre-baking 880Nm to be exact.
Those outputs are enough to confirm a long-held hope among fans of American muscle machines – that the big lugger is set to become the third car to join the ‘Hellcat’ club, in which the star is a supercharged super-sized V8, the most powerful even meted an American production car.
Talk of a Grand Cherokee with more powerful than the current 324kW/624Nm 6.4-litre SRT performance flagship was under consideration began as soon as the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat models appeared 18 months ago.
However, Fiat Chrysler’s dirt division declined to confirm or deny such a weapon was being considered – until yesterday, that is.
Jeep’s chief executive Mike Manley confirmed speculation at the Detroit motor show.
Speaking with American website Vvuzz.com, Manley said “not only can I put a Hellcat motor in [a Grand Cherokee] for you, I’m going to bring that to market by the end of 2017”.
Manley’s comment came in response to a request by the site’s lead writer for a Hellcat upgrade to his favourite Jeep, the Grand Cherokee SRT.
Fiat Chrysler Australia, the parent for Fiat Chrysler New Zealand, has previously expressed optimism that the big foot flyer would one day be created – and also offered in right hand drive, a format that is denied the Charger and Challenger, though that has not stopped a number of these being privately imported into New Zealand.
It is probable the new monster model would be a derivative of the current SRT because it has already been extensively re-engineered to cope with massive muscle.
The SRT’s bespoke equipment includes an electronic launch control function, six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembo calipers, adaptive Bilstein dampers and five driving settings – track, sport, auto, snow and tow. It also runs steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the standard eight-speed automatic.
The steering and handling packages are also unapologetically sporty.
The SRT also has upmarket cabin with quality materials and presentation. Automatic tailgate, 8.4-inch touchscreen and heated and ventilated front seats and heated rear seats are among the long list of standard items. Strong suite of safety features including forward collision warning with crash mitigation. Three-tonne braked towing capacity.
The Hellcat edition would doubtless carry a hefty premium over the $124,990 SRT. Privately imported as-new Challenger Hellcats tend to cost around $130,000.
There has been no comment from Fiat Chrysler NZ.