The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk SUV will be among the most powerful production cars in New Zealand when it lands here just before Christmas.
The supercharged 6.2-litre V8 under the bonnet of the Trackhawk delivers 527kW, a little less power than the 6.3-litre V12 Ferrari F12 (544kW) and a little more than the 6.5-litre V12 Lamborghini Aventador coupe (515kW).
There’s not much difference in claimed sprint times either, barely a blink or two of the eye. Trackhawk gets from 0-100km/h in a 3.6 seconds, the F12 does it in 3.1sec and the Aventador in 2.9sec.
All three vehicles have a top speed of 290km/h and beyond. Where the go-fast Jeep leaves the Italian supercars breathing deeply is in its torque delivery – 874Nm compared with the Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s identical 690Nm.
Of course there’s a big difference in kerb weight. The Jeep weighs between 2400-2500kg; the Ferrari is around 1630kg and the Aventador coupe 1580kg. There’s a big difference in price, too, a matter of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The NZ office of Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA) is keeping the price to itself until Trackhawk’s launch. The current performance Jeep is the Grand Cherokee SRT, priced at NZ$114,990. It runs a 6.4-litre Hemi V8 good for 344kW/624Nm.
General manager David Smitherman said he’s been working on bringing Trackhawk to NZ since the SUV was first unveiled in April at the New York motor show.
“Interest in Trackhawk has been phenomenal,” he said. “Our dealers have had a steady stream of people ready to buy a Trackhawk as soon as it arrives.
“So it is fantastic to be able to say that Trackhawk will be on sale in New Zealand in December – and that it will simply shatter performance SUV benchmarks.”
The muscle-bound Jeep shares its boosted V8 engine with a couple of other US hustlers from the FCA stable, the Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger Hellcat.
It rides 25mm lower than the SRT and is loaded with advanced technology, befitting such a high-performance vehicle.
Among the high-tech is an upgraded eight-speed transmission with five Select-Trac modes –– Auto, Sport, Track, Snow, Tow – which control the on-demand Quadra-Trac all-wheel-drive system, transmission, paddle-shifters, suspension, and electric power steering.
Trackhawk gets bi-xenon headlights with daytime LED running lights, 20-inch alloy wheels with Pirelli Scorpion all-season tyres. Inside is a 7-inch digital driver’s display, a new 8.4-inch Uconnect infortainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated and ventilated front seats and active noise cancellation..