The 2017 New York Auto Show is shaping up as a big one for Fiat Chrysler Automotive. Dodge will be putting an end to the tease and finally unveiling the Demon tomorrow, and Jeep has already whipped the covers off the Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk. With the V8 from the Dodge Hellcat crammed into its engine bay, the Trackhawk is the quickest, most powerful four-wheel drive to emerge from the Jeep factory.
That's right, the Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk is essentially a four-wheel drive Hellcat on stilts. The supercharged V8 pumps out 527 kW (707 hp) of power and 874 Nm of torque, which is enough to hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 3.6 seconds. Sure, the Tesla Model X has it covered off the line, but the Trackhawk clocks an identical 11.6-second quarter mile, and keeps pulling through to 290 km/h (180 mph).
Compared to the downsized, turbocharged and electrified powertrains making their way into rival SUVs, the engine in the Trackhawk isn't particularly sophisticated. With that said, Dodge left no stone unturned when developing it for the Hellcat. Water jackets between the cylinders help keep things cool, and the forged-steel crankshaft is designed to handle firing pressures up to 1,600 psi.
Putting this prodigious power to the road requires some serious work on the drivetrain. The on-demand four-wheel drive system, which now includes an electronic limited-slip differential on the rear axle, makes use of forged steel chain sprockets and a new chain in the transfer case to handle. Meanwhile, a new driveshaft is hooked up to a stronger rear axle, and the rear differential is mounted using a new four-point mount to better distribute load. Launch control is standard, so that's probably for the best.
Unlike the Hellcat, which is available in a stick-shift, the Jeep will only be offered with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Keen drivers might be disappointed but, in spite of its name, the Trackhawk is more likely to be driven on the school run than the racetrack.
Anyone with dreams of track-day heroics will be pleased to know Jeep has tweaked the standard Grand Cherokee SRT suspension to handle the extra power on tap. Stopping is dealt with by 400 mm (15.7 inches) two-piece brake rotors up front and 350 mm (13.8 in) vented rear rotors, which help deliver a stopping distance of just 36 meters (118 ft) from 100 km/h.
By now, it should be clear the Trackhawk is all about standing out. It sits 15 mm (0.59 in) lower than the regular SRT V8, and a smattering of "Supercharged" badges scattered around the exterior let onlookers know this isn't an average grocery-getter. If that doesn't give it away, the V8 rumble and supercharger whine should also do the job.
Inside, the standard cabin has been tarted up with some soft-touch leather, while the central touchscreen now doubles as a mobile performance meter. The speedo runs to 320 km/h (199 mph) as well. Music-loving owners will be pleased to know the car has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Pricing for the car hasn't been announced, but expect it to set you back around US$80,000. It'll be on show at the New York Auto Show, where New Atlas is on the ground covering all the action.