2011 New York Auto Show
What is it?
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
What's special about it?
Jeep calls its 2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8 the most powerful, technologically advanced, high-performance Jeep ever. And when it arrives in dealers this summer with a 6.4-liter V8 cranking out 465 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque, few will argue.
Jeep is making some pretty serious claims about the latest version of the Grand Cherokee, too: zero to 60 in 4.8 seconds, zero to 100 and back in the mid-16-second range and the quarter-mile in the mid-13-second range, a 155-mph top speed and 60 to zero in 116 feet.
Certainly, those numbers are impressive, but they aren't any better than the previous Grand Cherokee SRT8, which we tested in 2007. That truck hit 60 in 4.7 seconds and ran the quarter-mile in 13.4 seconds at 102.3 mph.
Even so, the new 6.4-liter V8 cranks out an additional 45 hp and 45 lb-ft of torque relative to the old 6.1-liter V8 in the previous-generation Grand Cherokee SRT8. Cylinder deactivation via an "active valve exhaust system" improves fuel consumption by a claimed 13 percent and increases highway range to 450 miles. Power hits the ground through all four wheels via a five-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted manually via paddle shifters on the steering wheel or the floor-mounted shifter.
Perhaps most impressive is Jeep's claim of lateral acceleration of up to 0.90g on the skid pad — a considerable increase from the 0.84g we measured in the first-generation Grand Cherokee SRT8.
Handling response and ride quality are variable via an adaptive damping system. Jeep's SelecTrac system controls the SRT8's adaptive dampers, stability control, shift logic, front/rear torque split, rear electronic limited-slip differential, throttle calibration and cylinder deactivation. Five modes are available: Auto, Sport, Tow, Track and Snow.
Serious performance car hardware like Brembo brake calipers at all four corners — six pistons up front, four out back — combined with 20-inch forged wheels wrapped in 295/45ZR20 Pirelli P Zero run-flat tires provide, well, performance carlike grip and stopping power.
Sitting 1 inch lower and utilizing body-color wheel arches, a ducted hood and a large rear spoiler that both reduces drag and increases downforce, the new Jeep has a purposeful look.
Inside there's an SRT-specific leather-wrapped steering wheel and Napa leather and suede seats embroidered with the SRT logo. Both the front and rear seats are heated, as is the steering wheel. The Electronic Vehicle Information Center displays horsepower, torque, 0-60 time, 60-0 distance, lateral acceleration (in g) and quarter-mile time.
This is a serious Jeep. And we can't wait to mash its accelerator.
Edmunds.com says: Whether it's any faster in a straight line remains to be seen, but Jeep's latest creation certainly looks menacing and its chassis should be a considerable improvement. — Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor