Not content to let the atom-bomb-like reveal of the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon steal the thunder from one of their highest-selling models, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was sure to send some love both to the Jeep Grand Cherokee and its fans, as well as fans of Mopar muscle in general.
The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk – that’s Trackhawk, not Trailhawk – burst onto the stage in New York with not quite the same aplomb of the Demon, but if that reveal hadn’t happened, I’d say the Grand Cherokee event would have been the can’t-miss event of the show.
After Jeep president and CEO Mike Manley finished his opening remarks, the lights fell on a Trackhawk hooked up to a rolling road, where it pulled a zero-to-60-mph run right there on the spot. It was epic, and it left little doubt as to what the Trackhawk is all about.
For starters, it’s what Manley’s calling “the quickest SUV ever,” with a zero-to-96 km/h time of a scant 3.6 seconds, and an 11.6-second quarter-mile. That’s pretty phenomenal, considering the AWD-equipped Trackhawk weighs a none-too-svelte 2,433 kilos.
That’s what happens when you’ve got 707 supercharged horses underhood, courtesy of a 6.2-litre HEMI V8 derived from – you guessed it – the Hellcat family of performance sedans and coupes. Torque, meanwhile, is rated at 645 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm. Yes, you’ll need those dual functional heat extractors on the hood, as well as the better internal cooling.
Power is fed to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic with launch control, and there’s also a variable torque split that can go as high as 30/70 front/rear in “Track” mode, which joins “Auto,” “Tow,” “Snow,” and “Sport” modes. Speaking of Tow mode: the Trackhawk’s good for 3,266 kilos, meaning you’ll be getting to the dirt bike park or the dock in record time.
While the Demon’s sole purpose is really to scorch the drag strip and handling be darned, this particular Grand Cherokee does have “Track” in its name and drive mode settings, so it’s going to have to handle, too.
To handle all the weight, Jeep employed Bilstein to fit a set of their all-world adaptive dampers and scrubbed off as much weight as possible by fitting aluminum suspension parts and a hollow sway bar.
Brake masters Brembo came to the table with two-piece vented rotors and six-piston calipers up front, plus four-piston vented items at the back. The calipers, meanwhile, are painted yellow to separate the Trackhawk from its lesser Cherokee SRT brethren and its pedestrian red-painted calipers. The brakes, meanwhile, can haul the Trackhawk down from 96 km/h in a scant 114 feet.
Inside, the go-fast looks continue: Nappa leather/suede seating; embroidered “Trackhawk” logos all over the place; and optional ruby-red seatbelts. There’s also a 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment that can display Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a Trackhawk-exclusive Performance Pages app that includes a dynamometer for immediate horsepower readouts.
You can get dual-screen rear entertainment but—really? If that’s your priority, the softer Overland may be the better choice for you, friend.
If you’re looking for some people-moving muscle, however, look no further. This is some of the best you’re going to find anywhere.