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2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk first drive: Hellcat hauler

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk first drive: Hellcat hauler

How do you get 5,363-pound Jeep Grand Cherokee to 60 mph in Three.5 seconds? It is all within the particulars.

It, in fact, begins with the engine. The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, the monstrous, steroid-riddled on-road massive brother to the Cherokee Trailhawk, sources all 707 hp and 645 lb-ft of torque from the pushrod-operated 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat motor. However that’s solely step one, and a easy one at that. That may get you to 60 mph in a rush…as soon as.

The Trackhawk additionally has a brand new, extra sturdy model of FCA’s TorqueFlite eight-speed automated transmission with stronger the whole lot, a strengthened rear drive shaft, a more durable single-speed switch case with a wider chain, a four-pinion differential with greater enamel and both Pirelli Scorpion or three-season Pirelli P-Zero tires. That will get you to 60 mph in a rush not less than a couple of occasions with nothing breaking.

SRT fashions — all SRTs — undergo further punishment throughout improvement testing, in keeping with engineers. That features 50 consecutive launches on road tires. Following that they do 50 consecutive launches on drag radials, which places much more stress on the driveline. Lastly, engineers race the vehicles for 24 hours over three days. That’s eight successive hours a day, solely stopping for fuel and brake pads. Jeep informed us the Trackhawk did it on one set of discs, by the way in which.

That is what will get you to 60 mph in Three.5 seconds all day lengthy, all week, all yr, reliably.

Automotive Opinions

Gallery: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk inside

The torque cut up is variable. Launch management locks the facility at 50/50 entrance to rear, however in auto mode it rests at 40/60. Tow mode sends extra energy to the entrance and observe mode sends 70 % backwards.

Throughout launch management — selectable within the central display or by way of a console button –- a brand new “torque reserve” system positions the supercharger bypass valve to generate increase and reduce manifold filling time whereas additionally slicing gas to particular person cylinders and managing spark timing, all so you will get that Three.5-second time. That is supercar territory.

And in spite of everything of that, you’ll in all probability have to gradual this beast down, until you’re on an airstrip someplace racing German supersleds. Six-piston Brembos clamp down on 15.75-inch entrance and four-pots seize 13.78-inch rears. These fronts are the most important ever fitted to a Jeep and larger than each the Charger and Challenger Hellcat. We put them to good use at Membership Motorsports, an almost completed new nation membership observe in New Hampshire.

An unbiased entrance suspension makes use of principally aluminum elements to save lots of weight together with a hole stabilizer bar and Bilstein dampers. A multilink rear with coil springs does the identical. For these actually seeking to save weight, the non-compulsory matte black wheels save Three kilos a nook and value $995.

If you wish to spot the big-boy Grand Cherokee Trackhawk on the highway it is advisable search for a couple of issues: The Trackhawk doesn’t have fog lights, which provides it extra space for airflow (the 14,600-rpm 2.Three-liter supercharger sucks in 1,000 cubic toes of air per minute and makes 11.6 psi of increase). The usual Grand Cherokee grille is a bit shorter prime to backside, and there are three new rectangular vents beneath. It has twin exhaust ideas at every nook within the rear versus one massive one on both sides just like the unblown SRT model. And eventually, yellow calipers. That’s the one you don’t wish to race.

The Execution

Hopping in to the slick, non-compulsory pink leather-based two-tone inside, the whole lot seems sportier than the common Grand Cherokee. The seats have cool, racy-looking sew patterns with outstanding bolstering, the sprint options carbon fiber and steel weave and the pillars and roof are coated with Alcantara. The issue is that it’s all a façade. Rap your knuckles on the suede-look A-pillar and the telltale tap-tap of plastic comes again by. Similar with the leather-wrapped and contrasting-stitched sprint. Faucet-tap. It seems good although, if busy. The perforated-suede customary seats look nice too, each are heated and cooled.

The Trackhawk doesn’t begin up snarling just like the Hellcats. It’s subdued. No less than as subdued as a 707-hp controlled-explosion air pump might be. The leather-based steering wheel is thick, solely narrowing the place your palms fall at 9 and three, and there’s sufficient seat adjustment for anybody between a horse jockey and an NBA middle.

Taking off in auto mode, one among 5 (auto, sport, observe, snow and tow), the Trackhawk saunters off strongly however easily with none neck snapping jerks, or the split-second pauses of a turbo motor. It’s quieter than anticipated when cruising with zero exhaust drone to talk of. Much less supercharger whine than the Hellcats too. There’s a tad little bit of wind noise, however it’s low sufficient that even Ira Glass’s dulcet tones would cowl it up.

There’s just one exhaust mode, so in auto the entire package deal stays fairly tame. However transfer it to sport or observe on the road and the gauge needles transfer faster, shifts come extra typically and the bark will get louder. Leaving a snack cease at full throttle, the Trackhawk exhibits its true Hellcat colours.

Utilizing the small, wheel-mounted paddle shifters, adjustments from the eight-speed come shortly. Redline is low at 6,200 rpm and energy, as anticipated, feels limitless.

Like different SRTs, the Trackhawk has a separate “efficiency pages” show within the central display to regulate the drive modes, in addition to customise them. Sport makes the steering, suspension, throttle and shifting extra aggressive and observe mode goes even additional.

The brand new Jeep isn’t overly stiff in auto. That is 100 % a daily-driving automobile. Auto might be a step stiffer than the usual Grand Cherokee, sport is one other step up from that, adopted by observe. Physique management is sweet on metropolis streets — there isn’t a bunch of carry on takeoff, until you actually mash the throttle. Tough roads are felt with a bit extra bounciness than anticipated from the motive force’s seat, however the Pirellis aren’t low-profile sufficient to bang up any kidneys or injury rims.

However 5,363 kilos remains to be a number of mass. And one can solely bend physics for thus lengthy. The two.5-mile, 15-turn Membership Motorsports observe with 250 toes of elevation works out a few of these equations.

The straightaway masks all that mass. On the throttle, this SUV will get in control comically quick. It doesn’t really feel massive at that time, bodily. Emotionally although, your mind is pondering “that is in all probability too quick for a automobile this massive, ought to I brake now…perhaps now? In some unspecified time in the future the concern threshold in your mind takes over and your proper foot goes for the clampers. And that’s when it begins to really feel massive.

The primary few classes I alternate from an excessive amount of brake enter, inflicting some antilock, to too little, which requires extra steering and a mid-corner stab. Just a few occasions on path braking the again finish of the Trackhawk threatens to return all the way in which round, however the stability management kicks in — even in observe mode — and retains me out of any actual hassle. Usually it understeers, which is to be anticipated in one thing this massive.

There isn’t a ton of lean in corners, however you may really feel that second of inertia when the physique is about to maneuver, and also you’ll wish to maintain inputs as at the same time as doable. Sluggish is easy and easy is quick. Clean can be secure, on this case.

However what the Trackhawk actually relishes is the prospect to climb one of many a number of critical uphill corners at Membership Motorsport. That’s when all 707 horses and 645 foot-pounds mix to shoot you towards the sky, not less than till these braking cones come up once more. Simply don’t jerk the wheel and brake (in reality, there’s actually no time you need to ever jerk the wheel and brake).

After the observe session, SRT setup a launch management demo the place I bought to really feel the complete energy of an ideal 5,363-pound launch.

First off, it’s not as violent as you’d anticipate, or as violent as another launch-control programs. As soon as the mode is about to launch, the motive force pins the brake, pins the throttle to the ground after which sidesteps the brake when the sunshine goes inexperienced. The back-end hunkers down about six inches whereas the entrance first rises up, then planes out because the automobile crosses 40, 50 and 60 mph. At that time, in observe mode with the throttle pinned, the Trackhawk lastly will get loud.

The Takeaway

The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk begins at $86,995, together with vacation spot. That feels like loads, though the fundamental SRT model begins at $68Okay. However, one should take into consideration the tremendous SUVs that the Trackhawk competes with: Vary Rover SVR, BMW X5M, the G-Wagen and the Cayenne Turbo S. These all begin north of six figures. Granted, optioned up with the great wheels ($995), upgraded audio ($1,995), rear seat DVD gamers ($1,995), trailer tow group ($995), “signature leather-based wrapped inside” ($Four,995) and panoramic sunroof ($2,095) our Trackhawk crested $100,000 too. However that’s the utmost. The Jeep’s inside is well-done, stylistically, however it’s undoubtedly less than the extent of the Euro rivals. There’s your tradeoff.

The Trackhawk is each a household automobile and a scorching rod. Cruising round at regular speeds, within the auto driving mode, it’s no tougher to deal with than the bottom Grand Cherokee. When wanted, say when you’ve got an open runway in entrance of you with a life-saving remedy on the different finish, it’ll do 60 in Three.5 as much as 180 mph, as many occasions as crucial. It’s two vehicles in a single. In fact, you could possibly at all times purchase a well-equipped common Grand Cherokee and have $40-some-Okay to mess around with on the automobile public sale. However, in case you solely have ONE spot in your storage, the Trackhawk fills each niches completely.

Base Value: $86,995

Drivetrain: 6.Four-liter supercharged V8, AWD, eight-speed transmission

Output: 707 hp at 6,000 rpm, 645 lb-ft at Four,800 rpm

Curb Weight: 5,363 lb

Zero-60 MPH: Three.5 sec.

Gasoline Economic system: 11 metropolis/17 freeway(EPA Metropolis/Hwy/Mixed)

Professionals: You possibly can beat Mustangs in an SUV

Cons: It’s going to by no means be an actual sports activities automobile; very thirsty

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