What’s more powerful than a locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet and able to lap a challenging racetrack without even breathing hard? No, it’s not Superman, who in reality is a fictional character. It’s Super Jeep of course. It’s real, and it would likely be the Man of Steel’s vehicle of choice if he were the real deal. The Super Jeep is officially known as the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. It is the most powerful and quickest SUV ever to date.
The Trackhawk makes the transition from “Trail Rated” to “Track Rated”, also moving from the “Tread Lightly” philosophy to “Burn Rubber.” This boldly styled, but unobtrusive appearing SUV boasts the same horsepower rating as the Dodge Challenger Demon while giving up only 5 pound feet of torque, and it’s capable of zipping from 0-60 mph in a mere 3.5 seconds, covering a quarter mile run in 11.6 seconds at 116 mph and of achieving a top speed of 188 mph. Pretty incredible for a vehicle that tips the scale at 5,363 pounds. Oh, and it stops as good as it goes – braking from 60 mph to 0 takes only 114 feet. In skid pad exercises, the impressive new Trackhawk registers a .88 g capability.
Is it Trail Rrated? No, but who cares. Does anybody really need a vehicle like the Trackhawk? Probably not, but again, who gives a rat’s patooty. The new Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk starts at $85,900. Add another $1,095 for Destination and Handling charges. The price can climb higher depending on which options are chosen. Is it worth it? Absolutely!
The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk’s motive force is delivered courtesy of a 6.2-liter Supercharged V8 engine with sequential, multiport, electronic, returnless fuel injection. Spent fuel exits through a dual 2.75-inch straight –thru system with quad 4-inch Black chrome round exhaust tips.
The massively potent, longitudinally mounted mill delivers 707 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, while also developing a whopping 645 pound feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. Energy reached the four driving wheels via an 8-speed Torqueflite 8HP95 automatic overdrive transmission.
The Trackhawk rolls on Pirelli P-Zero 295/45 ZR20 110Y run flat tires mounted on alloy wheels. Suspension componentry consists of SRT-tuned Adaptive Damping, Short- long arm independent (SLA) with aluminum lower control arm, aluminum knuckle, aluminum clevis, coil springs, Bilstein adaptive damping suspension, upper-and lower-control “A” arms and hollow stabilizer bar up front and a Multi-link setup with coil spring, Bilstein adaptive damping suspension, aluminum lower control arm, independent upper links (tension and camber) plus separate toe link and hollow stabilizer bar in the rear.
Bringing the Trackhawk to a halt are Power-assisted four-wheel discs – single-rate, tandem diaphragm vacuum, ABS 15.75 x 1.42 two-piece aluminum hat performance rotor, directionally slotted with Brembo six-piston caliper and ABS 6 x 40 six-piston fixed caliper in front and 13.78 x 1.10 Performance discs, directionally slotted with Brembo four-piston caliper and single-channel ABS 4 x 34 four-piston fixed caliper in the rear.
The rear drive shaft is strengthened and connects to a new, stronger rear axle. The differential features a revised housing design, revised ring-and-pinion tooth geometry and new four-point axle mounting application for better load distribution, additional torque capacity and overall durability. Torque is delivered to the rear wheels via new ultra-high-strength 300M low-alloy vacuum melted steel half-shafts with upgraded eight-ball outboard constant velocity joints.
Launch Control is standard and optimizes the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk’s performance by coordinating the engine, transmission, driveline and suspension for an ideal launch and consistent straight-line acceleration.
A new standard Torque Reserve system delivers improved engine torque response and quicker vehicle acceleration in Launch Control by pre-positioning the supercharger bypass valve generating boost and minimizing manifold filling time, while cutting fueling to individual cylinders and controlling spark timing, generating a reserve of torque that can be provided instantaneously upon acceleration from a standing stop.
To prove the venerable SUV’s prowess, automotive scribes traveled in a real world scenarios on a collection of freeways and backroads from Portland, Maine to the new boutique track Club Motorsports in Tamworth, New Hampshire. The yet unfinished facility’s road course consists of 15 turns over 2.5 miles with an incredible number of elevation changes, and much of it is uphill.
The Trackhawk is no lightweight SUV but it performs both on road and track more like a luxury sport sedan with power to spare and stability to inspire. It is aggressively athletic and handles spirited maneuvers effortlessly, while enveloping occupants is sheer comfort, with all of the amenities needed to satisfy even the most discerning driver on all levels. Think of it as composed of Kryptonite and on steroids.
Track laps at speed were accomplished with the transmission in fully automatic mode and with only steering and braking input needed at the proper times. There was no need to utilize the paddle shifters. Launch Control exercises were incredible time and again without a glitch. Simply set the rpm level desired, depress the brake fully, accelerate fully to the proper rpm point, lift off the brake and hang on for dear life. No wheel spin, just awesome adhesion and rocket-like takeoff.
COMFORT & CONVENIENCE
Visually, the Trackhawk displays an athletic and functional exterior, and it rides one-inch lower than non-SRT Grand Cherokee models. Wheel flares and side sill cladding are body-colored and the hood is sculpted with dual heat extractors. The signature seven-slot upper front grille is flanked by adaptive, bi-xenon headlamps surrounded by an LED character lamp effect. Headlamps feature a unique Gloss Black background accenting a jewel-like appearance.
Seating is standard Nappa leather and suede with an embroidered “Trackhawk” logo. Seats are also heated (front and rear) and ventilated (front). A new Premium Metal Package is standard and enhances the Trackhawk’s interior with various upscale genuine metal accents.
Additional premium interior features include: Standard active noise cancellation; premium headliner; leather stitched instrument panel, doors, center console and armrest; Berber floormats with Trackhawk badge and available dual-screen rear-seat entertainment center with Blu-ray. There is a choice of two audio systems, including an 825-watt Harman Kardon high-performance audio system with 19 speakers and two subwoofers, but that would tend to spoil the melodious engine and exhaust notes. New for 2018, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is equipped with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through the Uconnect 4 system.
The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk comes with more than 70 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, and a Valet mode that enables a host of vehicle security configurations.
There’s also Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop; Advanced Brake Assist; Blind-spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Path Detection; Full-speed Forward Collision Warning with Crash Mitigation; Front and Rear Park Assist; Lane Departure Warning-Plus; Ready Alert Braking and SiriusXM Guardian and Roadside Assistance buttons.
TFLCAR’s TAKE: You can dismiss the necessity for such a vehicle as the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, and you can criticize the price point, but until you experience the euphoric sensation of driving one, don’t knock it. Just be prepared for the time of your life.
The Trackhawk’s only negative issue is the temptation to blow the doors off unsuspecting adversaries when traffic signals change from Red to Green and the possible accumulation of numerous citations.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
- Base Price: $85,900, price as Tested: $100,960
- Engine Type and Size: 6.2-liter Supercharged V8 with sequential, multiport, electronic, returnless fuel injection. Dual 2.75 straight –thru system with quad 4-inch Black chrome round tips. exhaust
- Horsepower (bhp): 707 @ 6,000 rpm
- Torque (ft./ lbs.): 645 @ 4,800 rpm
- Transmission: 8-speed Torqueflite 8HP95 automatic overdrive
- Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / Four-wheel Drive with Quadra-Trac on demand and five drive-mode Selec-Track system (Auto, Sport, Track, Snow and Tow)
- Suspension: Front – Short- long arm independent (SLA) with aluminum lower control arm, aluminum knuckle, aluminum clevis, coil springs, Bilstein adaptive damping suspension, upper-and lower control arms (“A” arms) and hollow stabilizer bar
- Suspension Rear – Multi-link rear suspension, coil spring, Bilstein adaptive damping suspension, aluminum lower control arm, independent upper links (tension and camber) plus separate toe link and hollow stabilizer bar
- Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs – single-rate, tandem diaphragm vacuum, ABS 15.75 x 1.42 two-piece aluminum hat performance rotor, directionally slotted with Brembo six-piston caliper and ABS 6 x 40 six-piston fixed caliper in front and 13.78 x 1.10 Performance discs, directionally slotted with Brembo four-piston caliper and single-channel ABS 4 x 34 four-piston fixed caliper in the rear.
- Tires: Pirelli P-Zero 295/45 ZR20 110Y run flats (All-Season or Three Season) mounted on alloy wheels
- Wheelbase: 114.7 inches
- Length Overall: 189.8 inches
- Width: 84.8 inches – with mirrors
- Height: 67.9 inches – with roof rails
- Curb Weight: 5,363 lbs.
- Turning Circle: 38.0 ft.
- Approach angle: 18.0 degrees
- Ramp Breakover angle: 18.4 degrees
- Departure angle: 23.1 degrees
- Ground Clearance: 8.1 inches
- Fuel Capacity: 24.6 gallons
- EPA Mileage Estimates: 11 mpg city / 17 mpg highway
- Drag Coefficient: 0.37
- 0 – 60 mph: 3.5 seconds
- Top Speed: 180 mph