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Last week at Millbrook Proving Ground I got the chance to get behind the wheel of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. On the day in question, the only track I could use the SRT on was the test bowl, which had a 100mph limit, so I grabbed the keys and went for a (very) high-speed drive.
It’s All About That V8 Hemi
The first thing about the Grand Cherokee SRT is that engine. It’s a 6.4-litre Hemi V8, no turbocharging or other such trickery, just pure V8 muscle. The engine dominates proceedings from the moment you set off, it burbles away menacingly in the background pulling you forward at a rate so fast that the horizon quickly becomes a blur.
Total power output from the V8 is 461bhp, torque is equally as massive with 624nm. All of this power and torque propels this massive car to 62mph in 5.0 seconds dead, going onto a top speed of 160mph. While I only took the SRT to a 100mph, I have no doubt it had plenty more to offer in the speed stakes.
It Looks As Menacing As It Goes
My test car was finished in what Jeep call ‘Deep Cherry Red’, this is a £775 optional color and it helps to give the SRT menacing looks. This look is helped by the deeper chin spoiler, massive 20’ inch wheels inside those flared wheel arches, twin tail pipes at the back and the bonnet vents which all point to the huge power it possesses. The car just has an absolute presence about it, you just know by looking at it that it’s not your average run of the mill Jeep.
On the inside, it doesn’t really give much away in terms of power available at your right foot. The materials and layout are pretty much the same as the lesser Cherokee models, if you look carefully you will spot the carbon fiber inserts around the cabin.
The SRT does come equipped with excellent half leather/Alcantara sports seats which did a great job of holding me in place in the test bowl.
Massive Stopping Power And High Tech Handling
All this power and size does have a downside, weight. The SRT tips the scales at a whopping 2,418kg which about twice the weight of your average small hatchback. While I cannot give you much insight into how all this weight affects the handling, I can merely confirm that at 100mph, the adaptive Bilstein dampers did a great job of absorbing all of the bumpiness of the Millbrook test bowl.
Given that the SRT is a very big, very heavy and very fast car – substantial stopping power is needed. To this end, you get massive 380mm brake discs all round equipped with 6 piston brake calipers. These brakes did do a great job of helping me lose all of the speed I’d gained during my test drive, there is a slight lack of feel in the pedal but they definably offer ferocious stopping power should you need it.
There is no doubt that Jeep has given us a monster SUV in the form of the SRT, it possesses massive power combined with menacing looks. The numbers this car produces are simply staggering; it just makes wonder how did they make it this quick. Remembering that all of this performance is from what is essentially an extremely capable family hauler that you could drive every day.
I will hopefully be getting more time with the SRT for a full review in the coming months.
Price: £69,830 (as tested £72,130) Engine: 6417cc, 8cyl Layout: Front-engined, four-wheel drive Gearbox: 8-spd automatic Power: 461bhp at 6250rpm Torque: 624nm at 4100rpm 0-62mph: 5.0 seconds Top speed: 160mph Weight: 2418kg Economy: 20.2mpg (combined) CO2: 327g/km
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