The latest installment of Jeep’s Grand Cherokee SUV is possibly the best one yet. With a solid frame, great options, and sleek yet functional looks, it’s a big win for Chrysler. So how do you improve on something that’s already great? Well, Jeep did that when they released the Tailhawk edition, making a good thing better, but how do you step past that?
If you’re Jeep you make the Trackhawk edition and on top of that, you use the Hellcat powertrain. So what exactly is a Hellcat powertrain? Well, for Jeep it’s their 6.2l HEMI V-8 mated to a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. Together these give the Grand Cherokee a little bit more than 700 horsepower that’s put to the pavement via an advanced all-wheel drive system.
Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard about this Jeep just yet, as Chrysler hasn’t officially announced it just yet. For now, it’s being tested and the powertrain is being muled in hiding to work out al the kinks before announcing it to the public.
Sources close to the project say that the new Hellcat Grand Cherokee should be capable of a 200 MPH top speed and a breathtaking 0-60 time in the 3-second range. Known as “Project K” at Chrysler, the sources that spoke to Motor Authority seem pretty confident that the new Jeep will be in a class all its own.
Thankfully, it seems that Jeep will not be shuttering the SRT Grand Cherokee any time soon, as it’s looking to get a boost in horsepower up to 490, making it more than respectable in its own right with its own 6.4l HEMI V8.
The only major holdup that we can see right away is how to make the driveline stand up against all that torque with its AWD system. There are two approaches that Chrysler can take to achieve this. First, they can limit torque in the lower gears to protect the mechanics, or more likely, they do away with the AWD system and go with a full-time RWD setup. It’s not likely that a Hellcat will be seeing any boat hauling or off-roading so the RWD setup should be more than fine for what it’s meant to do.
As for pricing, if the Hellcat stays in line with the other Chrysler performance vehicles it should run around $65,000 when it’s (hopefully) released in mid-2016. For now though we have to make due with the SRT 8 Grand Cherokee, which when you think about it, isn’t that bad of a fill-in until the big kid on the block moves in.