WE’RE not sure what’s in the drinking water at Fiat-Chrysler at the moment, but it’s clearly a high-octane brew.
If the idea of a limited-edition, drag strip-optimised Challenger seems crazy, then unleashing a 527kW/874Nm SUV surely qualifies you for a straitjacket. Jeep pulled the covers off the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk at the New York Motor Show, in the process creating the world’s wildest production SUV, and one that could allow Aussies their first taste of Hellcat power.
Local Mopar fans have been denied the Challenger and Charger Hellcat due to a lack of right-handdrive compatibility, however, there are no such issues with the Grand Cherokee and Jeep Australia says the Trackhawk is currently under evaluation for local release.
Fiat-Chrysler Australia CEO Steve Zanlunghi has made no secret of his desire to have the Trackhawk locally, previously telling MOTOR he’d have “two hands up for it”. Jeep is tightlipped on its future plans, however MOTOR understands that dealers are currently taking substantial deposits from prospective customers.
Should the Trackhawk be confirmed for Australia, it’s unlikely to appear for at least 12 months, with production not scheduled to start until late-2017 with fulfilling US orders Jeep’s main priority. Nor will the beast be cheap, with numbers as high as AUD$160,000 being thrown around, though we suspect the final figure will be closer to the $140K mark.
While that’s an unprecedented price tag for a Jeep, and some $50,000 more than the current Grand Cherokee SRT8, the Trackhawk will still rate as one almighty performance bargain. Thanks to that 527kW/874Nm 6.2-litre supercharged HEMI V8, the Trackhawk fires from 0-100km/h in 3.6sec, crosses the quarter mile in 11.6sec at 186km/h and can thunder on to a limited top speed of 290km/h. Jeep claims this makes it the quickest production SUV in the world, though we suspect it may have forgotten about its fellow American, the Tesla Model X P100D, which claims 0-100km/h in 3.1sec.
An eight-speed automatic feeds power to an upgraded Quadra-Trac
four-wheel drive system, which uses an electronically controlled rear limited-slip differential.
The Trackhawk also adopts the Challenger Demon’s Torque Reserve system, which allows the supercharger to build boost while stationary to ensure maximum power delivery off the start line.
Bilstein adaptive dampers do their best to keep the 20 x 10-inch wheels wrapped in 295/45 ZR20 all-season tyres in contact with the ground, with lightweight wheels (5.5kg lighter per wheel) and Pirelli P Zero rubber an option. Brakes are the biggest fitted to a Jeep, consisting of 400mm rotors and six-piston calipers up front and 350mm rotors with four-piston calipers at the rear, which is claimed to bring the Trackhawk to a stop from 100km/h in just 36 metres.
Should the Trackhawk make it to local shores, as looks likely, it will be the fourth most powerful car on sale in Australia, behind only the 544kW Lamborghini Aventador S, 545kW Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and 568kW Tesla P100D twins.