The performance SUV wars have long been waged among premium manufacturers. It continues to rage on in earnest, and now Jeep wants to stamp its authority with its biggest battleship yet. Welcome the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, which is the most powerful SUV currently on sale. LERATO MATEBESE looks at how much power it wields.
The “absolute power corrupts absolutely” adage has never rung this true in the SUV fold, what with Jeep laying down the gauntlet, drumming its chest and shouting from the rafters that it is, indeed, the most powerful SUV currently on sale. You might be wondering as to whether there is any substance to this bold claim and, having looked at the vital stats, I can affirm that it is indeed the case.
TRACKHAWK SUBTLY LOOKS THE PART
Cosmetically, there is very little to distinguish the already feisty SRT8 variant of the Jeep Grand Cherokee from the foaming-at-the-mouth Trackhawk, but there are some minor tweaks to mark the top dog’s status. These include 400 mm brake callipers (painted in yellow) with six-pot rotors up front and 380 mm, four pot rotors at the rear that should, on paper, be effective in its task of reeling the big SUV in from speed.
In addition to the rejigged front valance – to aid better cooling for the engine – there is also model specific quad exhaust tailpipes sprouting just below the rear valance that are vital for dishing up a rambunctious battle cry. Shoe-wise, the Trackhawk treads on all-new Pirelli 295/45ZR20 Scorpion Verde All-Season and new Pirelli P Zero three-season tyres with an increased speed rating.
The cabin, meanwhile, has also been given some added visual venom in the form of unique light black chrome finishes and carbon fibre smears, with a 7” driver information display (DID) instrument cluster that features a centrally-located tachometer, while the 290 km/h calibrated speedometer is on the left-hand side of the cluster.
The instrument panel centre stack well with the 8.4” Uconnect touchscreen that features Trackhawk-exclusive Performance Pages showcasing an array of performance timers and gauge readouts. This includes a new engine dynamometer screen that measures instantaneous horsepower, torque and the gearbox’s current gear.
The dynamometer screen also includes a new snapshot function for owners to save their readouts on a USB. There’s also a three-spoke, flat-bottom steering wheel that is home to a bevy of comfort, convenience and connectivity controls and, of course, paddle shifts for the gearbox.
Under the bonnet lies a snarling 6.2-litre V8 that is further augmented by a 2.3-litre supercharger (able to spin up to 14,600 r/min) to thump out a stupendous 522 kW and 850 Nm to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic gearbox. According to the company, the model can romp from standstill to 100km/h in a rather scant 3.5 seconds, break the 400m mark in 11.9 seconds and keep accelerating right up to its terminal top speed of 290 km/h. Those figures unequivocally place the model right at the top of the performance SUV pedestal.
We are yet to get behind the wheel of the vehicle in order to ascertain whether those figures translate to tangible real-world performance credentials. However, as far as outright, raw data goes, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk wields more firepower than any other SUV on sale today.
At an asking price of R2.2m, the model comes comprehensively specified and takes the fight directly to the BMW X5M (423 kW and 750 Nm), Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S (430 kW and 760 Nm) and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S (404 kW and 770 Nm), which all pale in comparison to the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk’s class-leading 522 kW and 850 Nm – the performance SUV wars, it would seem, are anything but abating.
Report by LERATO MATEBESE | Images © FCA GROUP