Some cars are ballistic. This one is a seismic event. A force of nature. 710 hp. Not sophisticated, not playful, not understated. Pure, raw American muscle, that trumps its competition. I experienced the Trackhawk. Photos: Irina Mink & Dieter Losskarn
Putting a huge engine into an old car is such an American thing to do. It’s car-porn in the USA. Subsequently Jeep pimped their rather dated Grand Cherokee design with a 6.2-l. 710hp supercharged Hemi powerplant and dubbed it the Trackhawk. The wildest Jeep ever is the epitome of political incorrectness. Exactly the reason why this steam hammer is so much fun to drive.
Imagine a big box, weighing 2.5 tons and accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds, accompanied by a primal V8 roar. Turning each and every drive into a Cannonball run.
The souped-up Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT debuted in 2016. It was obviously less off roader than show-off. With a lot of fun under the hood. Initially 426hp from a 6.1-l. Hemi-V8. Then Fiat-Chrysler started to search for a slightly more potent beating heart. And found a Hemi 6.2-l. super-charged V8 with a mighty compressor already playing beautiful tunes in the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat.
Result: the most expensive and most powerful stock-Jeep ever. But not only the engine is new. Auto gearbox, drive shafts, transfer-box and brakes had to be fortified to withstand the violent onslaught of 710hp. Luckily Brembo is supplying the giant 350/400mm (front/back) brakes, managing to bring the monster to a standstill from 100km/h in just 37 meters.
The ‘normal’ setting for gearbox and engine is already goose bump stuff. Each right foot pressure on the pedal, no matter at what speed or rpm applied, results in a massive propulsion, while the Trackhawk is roaring with pleasure out of the four arm-thick end pipes.
And against all expectations the number one Jeep doesn’t only do straight lines and quarter mile runs well, it loves twisties too. Not too wild though, as the rear end is very eager to go.
The Trackhawk meets the likes of Mercedes GLE 63 AMG, Porsche Cayenne Turbo, BMW X5M and even Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga with utter confidence. No stock SUV is more powerful and the muscular appearance is even paired with an opulent leather interior. And all of that at a ‘bargain’ price.
Driving the Trackhawk you always wish for red robots. And for tunnels. Or for tunnels with a red light, just to combine motion and sound.
There is no sensible reason to buy a 710hp SUV. But as long as there are no laws yet against having fun in a car, this Jeep has an absolute right to exist.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
Engine 6.2-l. V8, paired with an 8-speed auto
Power 522kW and 875Nm
Top Speed 290 km/h
0-100km/h 3.7 seconds
Price from R1.9 mil.