Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 –

6 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 –
Jeep Cherokee

At A Glance

THERE is no denying that Chrysler’s performance division, Street and Racing Technology (SRT), has in the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 created a machine with the necessary chutzpah to clear the fast lane.

The previous SRT8 used a 6,1-litre V8 naturally aspirated unit to great effect. So, with the second generation, the SRT engineers have decided to stick to the big-capacity formula. Although the application of turbocharging to improve performance and decrease fuel consumption has gained widespread global acceptance, Jeep has decided to stick to the more simplistic (rather American) way of increasing engine capacity, which in turn adds more power and torque.

The result is a capacity of 6,4 litres, 344 kW (up 36 kW) and 624 N.m (up 55 N.m).

During testing, the Jeep rocketed off the line without fuss – assisted by its four-wheel-drive system – and hit 100 km/h in a brisk 5,20 seconds.

The Brembo braking system also showed its worth, with an average stopping time of 3,06 seconds (netting it a good rating), and even managed a best stop of 2,93 seconds.

Once away from the straight-as-an-arrow test strip, we expected the dynamic limits of an almost 2,3-tonne SUV to come to the fore. But we were pleasantly surprised… Select the sport mode on the Selec-Track knob sited below the gearlever, and the Bilstein adaptive dampers firm up. Turn the knob further and the track setting eases the stability control.

In this mode, the SRT8 can be hustled through fast, open turns at a speedy pace. After the initial turn-in, the Jeep quickly settles and then you can read the car’s levels of composure through the suspension feedback and body movement, and your own gyroscope because you sit so high. The only serious flaw is the steering, which most test-team members agreed is too vague and slow.

The boisterous exhaust note, especially when you chase the red line, suits this model, but the powertrain is certainly not on par with BMW or Mercedes-Benz’s V8 engines in terms of flexibility or smoothness. Lastly, when using the paddles to gear down, the engine revs rise lazily, without any automatic throttle blipping.

Although you can venture off-road with the Jeep if you exercise caution – it is a Jeep after all – it is better suited to tar, signified by its masculine stance and 20-inch dark alloy wheels and low-profile tyres.

Jeep Cherokee

The now signature seven-slot grille is accompanied by LED daytime running lights, while the fang-like chrome inserts on the deep airdam, prominent wheelarches, large exhaust pipes and roof spoiler leave no doubt about its performance potential.

Step inside and the sporty theme continues, with carbon-fibre inserts on the facia and doors, and comfy, generously bolstered, climatised seats. Jeep has not been shy with standard specification, either; such items as adaptive cruise control, a rear-view camera, collision and lane-departure warning and a 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system don’t cost an extra cent.

The infotainment system, although not as clear or classy as the newer version we experienced in the Chrysler 300C SRT8 (see road test January 2013), is easy to use and offers a number of interesting performance-related features. This system is supplemented by another screen between the speedometer and rev counter that provides info on tyre pressures, 0-100 km/h acceleration times and a digital speedometer. We found that the acceleration timer is a tad enthusiastic; the times are about 0,3 seconds faster than the Vbox-verified times.

The rear seats can accommodate three adults thanks to ample room for knees, elbows and heads. Fold the bench flat and the SRT8 will swallow up to 1 352 dm3.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 demands respect because it offers the performance – and handling if the road allows – to match its antagonistic appearance. It’s also R500 000-plus cheaper than the BMW X5M and Mercedes-Benz’s ML63 AMG. Yes, you notice the difference in terms of technology, performance and quality. But, at R820 000, value for money is a given.

Just remember to budget for fuel.

Jeep Cherokee

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