If you are into power and performance, Jeep may just have the perfect SUV for you. While you may not yet heard of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, it is for good reason. The Trackhawk is a model that just recently was rumored to be given the green light for production in the near future. Why you may ask? The Trackhawk is the official name for the Jeep Grand Cherokee powered by Chrysler’s recently introduced Hellcat power plant that is capable of producing 707 thundering horsepower. Did we get your attention? Let us weigh the facts and help figure out of the Trackhawk will be arriving in showrooms soon or just another great idea for a muscle SUV that will only grace our desktops and smartphone wallpapers.
The history of the high-performance Jeep Grand Cherokees
The first SRT-8 version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee debuted at the New York International Auto Show in 2005. While SUV popularity already on the rise then, the SRT-8 gave those who were not ready to give up the raw power and performance of a muscle car for the function and passenger room of any old SUV. The first Grand Cherokee SRT-8 boasted 420 horsepower from its 6.1-liter Hemi V8 engine, a 0 to 60 mph time of just 4.6 seconds and a top speed of nearly 170 mph. While not being the most fuel-efficient SUV on the road, it filled the need for power while still being able to take the kids to soccer practice. It was also not as off-road friendly as the standard Grand Cherokee, but it had plenty of good looks to go with all the horsepower.
Fast forward to 2015 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT features a 6.4-liter V8 engine, 8 speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters that offer 475 horsepower plus updated performance and efficiency. It is also styled to be more concrete and asphalt than off-road friendly, but offers those who want power and luxury a sculpted, aggressively-styled family and cargo friendly SUV. The 2015 Grand Cherokee SRT also stands alone with its plethora of the latest in technology features from a programmable suspension, torque, and engine mapping system to SRT-specific dashboard electronics that include the latest in entertainment and communication features as well as a G-force monitor. While it may not be designed to take on the roads less traveled, it can certainly own any racetrack around.
Turning a Jeep Grand Cherokee into the Trackhawk
What makes the Grand Cherokee a Trackhawk is the upgrade to Chrysler’s new Hellcat engine. The Hellcat is a 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 engine that puts out 707 horsepower and produces 650 lb.-ft. of torque, certainly not something suitable for a novice driver. While the Hellcat has proven successful under the hood of the Challenger and the Charger, putting one under the hood of a Grand Cherokee can be a bit more challenging. The pure nature of a large supercharged engine is that it craves airflow. This means that the Grand Cherokee would need a few styling tweaks to allow enough open space to give the Hellcat engine the air it needs to reach its horsepower potential and allow for the taller height of the engine itself. The other problem is that the current all-wheel-drive system in the Jeep Grand Cherokee is not designed to stand up to the massive amount of torque that the Hellcat engine produces.
While these may seem like simple issues to overcome and make the Trackhawk a reality, the fact is that both would most likely entail a complete redesign of the current Grand Cherokee’s front end, suspension and all-wheel-drive systems. While this would be an expensive endeavor, the result would be an SUV with the capability of going from zero to 60 in about 3 seconds and the potential to reach a top speed of close to 190 mph. While this may not be practical for taking the kids to school or a trip to the grocery store, it certainly fulfills the muscle car need for anyone not ready to give up horsepower to have room for car seats and book bags. While anyone that would purchase a Trackhawk may never get the chance to try out the potential to drive close to 200 mph, the pure fact that you could if you wanted is enough to keep many muscle car lovers eternally happy.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk may just be fiction for the moment, the obstacles to its production are not so far-fetched that they cannot be accomplished. While a 700 plus horsepower SUV is certainly not the choice of the typical SUV buyer, it combines the best of both worlds for those that just do not want to give up horsepower and cylinders because they have extra passengers and cargo. Is the Trackhawk fact or fiction? Only time will tell, but remember, the Hellcat was just a cool concept a few years ago as well.
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