Stomping Grand Cherokee Hellcat a go for NZ?

The most powerful Jeep ever created has been cited for NZ use - but only a lucky few will get to experience it.


SUPPORTERS of Jeep’s extrovert heavy-metal Grand Cherokee SRT are expected to be the primary audience for an event more mental edition, featuring the humungous Hellcat engine, that seems set to unleash here next year.

The vehicle’s exclusivity is such just a few of those faithful might get to lay their hands on the special SRT Grand Cherokee with the supercharged super-sized V8.

Distributor Ateco Group New Zealand has confirmed that New Zealand seems likely to be among recipients of what it is calling a premium flagship, potentially toward the end of 2017.

“It’s certainly on the table. There is certainly every indication we will have that next year … late next year,” chief executive officer David Smitherman said today.

“I haven’t seen the vehicle nor have I haven’t driven it … but I would fully expect to get a small allocation and they will all be sold, very easily.”

He concurs that the Hellcat edition will doubtless carry a hefty premium over the $124,990 SRT – but doubts that will diminish interest, noting that the SRT averages 10-15 sales per month.

“It’s very good business for us.” And if the Hellcat edition, which is going to be the most powerful American car ever officially imported here, could be produced in the same volume as the regular SRT, it would probably achieve the same volume.

“But I think we will keep it limited, just to retain the brand strength and the retail value.”

The model’s 6.4-litre V8 creates 527kW and 880Nm, against 324kW and 624Nm out of the current SRT, with has the same engine but without supercharging.

Jeep’s flagship model is the third to receive the Hellcat engine, following the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat models. These have been in production for two years and some have been imported to New Zealand.

However, there is no plan to produce the Dodge cars in the right-hand-drive format the Jeep will provide in.

Smitherman says there is plenty still be determined about the Hellcat, but says it is already apparent that it will require a different ownership approach, not least in respect to a core Jeep value.

“I think it’s fair to say it won’t be an off-road model. I think that much performance isn’t really suited to that sort of driving.”

The new monster model will represent as a derivative of the current SRT because that car 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.