First DriveNew-look Jeep Grand Cherokee also gets new technology and improved performance to take on the class best
First DriveChrysler Group's crack tuning division, SRT, gets its hands on the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The result is bonkers, quite frankly...
IT CAN LUNGE from standstill to 60mph in a mere 4.9 seconds. It can round corners pulling a staggering 0.9g. And when you stomp on the brakes at 60mph it’ll halt in just 36.6m . Porsche’s Cayenne Turbo can’t match its blistering performance claims. BMW’s X5 and even Mercedes’ upcoming ML63 will have trouble keeping up. This is what happens when Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology division gets hold of a new Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4. It creates a monster. A monster called the SRT-8. At its heart is a 6.1-litre version of Chrysler’s potent Hemi V8 that cranks out a 420bhp and 420lb ft of torque. All that muscle is channelled through a five-speed Autostick automatic to a beefed-up electronic all-wheel drive system. To ensure the SRT-8 corners as fast as it sprints, there are new Bilstein dampers, wrist-thick anti-roll bars, firmer springs and bushes and massive 225/45ZR front and 285/40ZR rear Goodyear Eagle RS-A run-flats mounted on polished 20-inch alloys. There’s no missing the new SRT on the street with its ground-scraping front bumper, sill extensions and a rear end dominated by a pair of sewer pipe exhausts. Floor the throttle from rest and there’s no scrabbly wheelspin, just a tsunami of power accompanied by a deep, bellowing soundtrack. What’s even more impressive is the way the SRT-8 corners. Grip is immense, there’s hardly any body roll, and when you need to stop in a hurry there are massive four-piston Brembo callipers clamping 360mm front discs. Yes, you’ll tire of the brittle ride and the appalling fuel economy. And don’t even think of going off-road. But when the Grand Cherokee SRT-8 lands in the UK next summer, its expected £40k price tag will make it the performance 4x4 bargain of the year. Howard Walker