TRACKHAWK TOPS JEEP HIGH-FLIERS

Jeep_Grand_Cherokee_Trackhawk_frontUntil recently, Jeep has relied on its high-flying SRT to top off its Grand Cherokee sports utility vehicle range; now the premium SUV force has gone stratospheric with the addition of the Trackhawk.

While the SRT did a good job of defending Jeep’s high-performance SUV credentials with a zero-to-100 km/h time of 4.9 seconds, the Trackhawk sets a personal best of 3.7 seconds.

Such a sprint is at the behest of a 6.2-litre Hemi V8 supercharged engine that delivers a stonking 700 horsepower (522 kW) of power and a monumental 868 Nm of torque put to ground through a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission.

Not that the accoutrements of the Jeep’s traditional off-road capabilities are sacrificed at the altar of sporting performance. The powertrain incorporates Jeep’s Quadra-Trac on-demand four-wheel-drive system, which includes an electronic limited-slip rear differential and a single-speed active transfer case.

Added to this is a Selec-Track system, which uses performance-tuned software to call on one of five dynamic modes – Auto, Sport, Track, Snow and Tow – enabling drivers to choose their vehicle requirements and conditions under rubber.\

Jeep_Grand_Cherokee_Trackhawk_rear

Stopping is no hit-and-miss manoeuvre, with new high-performance Brembo braking that includes the largest standard front brakes offered on a Jeep.

Needless to say, matching the premium high-performance, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk packs a hefty price punch of $134,900, plus on-road costs.

STYLING
While extra-bold looks are unique to Trackhawk, with body-coloured wheel flares, side sill cladding and a sculpted bonnet with dual heat extractors, the signature Jeep seven-slot upper front grille is front and centre.

Flanked by adaptive, bi-xenon headlamps and surrounded by an LED character headlamp treatment, fog lights have been forgone from the front fascia to optimise airflow to cooling and air induction without compromising the vehicle’s balance.

A gloss black rear valance is home to four-inch black chrome quad exhaust tips, while supercharged badging on both front doors and a Trackhawk badge on the liftgate features a liquid titanium chrome outline and matte black background.

New standard 20 x 10-inch titanium colour wheels with a satin chrome centre cap set off distinctive yellow brake callipers. Optional lightweight 20 x 10-inch forged aluminium low gloss black wheels each save 5.5 kg.

Jeep_Grand_Cherokee_Trackhawk_side

INTERIOR
The cabin features premium soft-touch materials, Light Black Chrome finishes and carbon fibre inserts. Standard Nappa leather and suede seats have an embroidered Trackhawk logo. Seats all round are heated and ventilated up front.

Active noise cancellation, leather stitched instrument panel, doors, centre console and armrest are complemented by Berber floor mats with Trackhawk badge.

A fully wrapped Signature Leather Interior Package with Trackhawk embossed on Laguna leather seats, optional in black, or black and Dark Ruby Red, is available.

INFOTAINMENT
A 7-inch driver information display instrument cluster features a tachometer in the middle, with the 320 km/h speedometer on the left.

The centre stack with new 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen features pages with an array of performance timers and gauge readouts, including a new engine dynamometer screen that measures instantaneous power, torque and current transmission gear.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard via the touchscreen. An 825-watt Harman Kardon high-performance audio system incorporates 19-speakers and subwoofer.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The supercharged 6.2-litre Hemi V8 engine delivering 522 kW and 868 Nm is designed and manufactured using the strongest and most durable materials. Its cast iron block features water jackets between the cylinders for optimal cooling.

The standard TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission delivers improved shift response, quality and consistent performance and drivability, while the Jeep Quadra-Trac on-demand four-wheel-drive system includes an electronic limited-slip rear differential and a single-speed active transfer case.

SAFETY
Jeep tells us the Trackhawk includes more than 70 available safety and security features, including Trailer Hitch Camera View at Speed, which allows owners to view trailered items through the rear-mounted camera while moving.

Other safety features include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross path detection, forward collision warning with crash mitigation, front and rear park assist and lane departure warning.

Passive safety is provided by seven airbags – two front, two side curtain, two side seat and a single driver knee.

DRIVING
It would be no idle a boast that the Jeep Trackhawk has neck-snapping acceleration off the mark. Try 3.7 seconds to 100 km/h, with launch control, on the way to a top speed of 289 km/h.

Launch Control co-ordinates the engine, transmission, driveline and suspension for a textbook launch and consistent straight-line acceleration.

Fuel consumption is quietly quoted by the maker as a combined urban / highway 16.8 litres per 100 kilometres. The test vehicle regularly racked up 16-plus in mixed driving.

Thanks to the Brembo stoppers with striking yellow calipers, the almost three-tonne SUV comes to rest from 100 km/h in 37 metres. That’s when the test Trackhawk went awry. With electronic ‘park’ in operation, the foot-pedal-operated back-up park brake refused to engage.

With the engine switched off, the brake once again on odd occasions, went missing. It was only with the driver’s door opened that the system secured the Trackhawk in ‘park’ every time. Bewildering, annoying. Then again, Jeeps are hardly famed for being trouble free.

The aforementioned Jeep Selec-Track features a Custom Mode that allows the driver to personalise the vehicle’s performance offering a multitude of combinations.

SUMMING UP
Despite prodigious power, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk comes to market in the face of strong headwinds from petrol / electric and hydrogen-based SUVs. There will, no doubt be takers, but it’s certain to maintain more than its share of exclusivity.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL LINE-UP
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4×2 $47,500
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4×4 3.6L V6 petrol $52,500
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4×4 3.0L V6 diesel $57,500
Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4×4 3.6L V6 petrol $62,500
Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4×4 3.0L V6 diesel $67,500
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk $73,500
Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland $78,000
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT $91,000
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk $134,900
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Jeep dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk 6.2-litre Hellcat supercharged Hemi V8 petrol engine, 8sp automatic, 4×4)
Capacity: 6188 cc
Configuration: V8
Maximum Power: 522 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 868 Nm @ 4800 rpm
Fuel type: Petrol 98 RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 16.8 litres per 100 km
CO2 emissions: 385 g/km

DRIVELINE:
Drivetrain: 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic, Quadra-Trac Active On Demand 4WD

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4846 mm
Width: 1954 mm
Height: 1749 mm
Wheelbase: 2915 mm
Tare weight: 2399 kg
Turning circle: 11.6 m
Fuel Tank Capacity: 93 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

WARRANTY:
5 years / unlimited kilometres

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