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Images Surface of Jeep Testing Grand Cherokee Hellcat “Trackhawk”

Posted in News on March 11, 2016
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Photographers: Brian Williams

From our friends at Truck Trend, Chrysler’s Hellcat onslaught continues with these images of a Jeep Grand Cherokee undergoing testing in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Although the side and rear look like a garden-variety Grand Cherokee SRT, the front-end camouflage hides a few telltale signs we’re instead looking at a Hellcat-powered Grand, rumored to carry the Trackhawk model designation.

Like the Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcat, the Grand Cherokee sports a slimmer upper grille and extra ductwork in the bumper. We’re interested to see if Jeep will give the Trackhawk a skinny version of its seven-slat grille opening, or if it’ll have the gaping-maw visage from the Charger SRT. On the Grand, brake ducts share apertures with the front fog lights, moving the latter down from the bumper face. Curiously, on the vehicle spied, the lower front spoiler looks less aggressive than that of the “standard” SRT.

The updates given to the Hellcat-ified Grand Cherokee look very upscale, as well. The SRT’s black-nosed headlight and grille surround looks like it was deep-sixed, a move we think should give the Hellcat a more mature, streamlined appearance. Additionally, its spindly, five–V-spoke wheels are upsized a bit from the Grand Cherokee SRT, giving it a planted appearance that would befit a competitor for the Range Rover Sport SVR.

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Speaking of competition, the Grand Cherokee Hellcat will likely be the most powerful SUV on the market today. Even if it’s retuned for more low-end torque, expect the Trackhawk to produce at least 650 hp, outstripping the Bentley Bentayga’s 600 hp, the Mercedes-AMG G65’s 621 hp, and the aforementioned SVR’s 550 hp. The Trackhawk should also provide more than the 650 lb-ft already available from Dodge’s Hellcat cars, and all that torque will come in a lag-free wave that starts way down low in the engine’s rev range. Accompanied by the engine’s sexy supercharger whine, the Jeep should provide an assault on the senses. (Our spy photographers said it sounded absolutely beastly as it passed by.)

The whole Hellcat package represents a $16,000 premium on the Dodge Charger compared to a standard SRT, and if that formula holds true, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk will be the first civilian Jeep to crest $80,000. If that sounds like a lot, remember comparable SUVs from the German and English brands cost the same, even for midlevel models. The much less powerful Porsche Cayenne S, for example, runs $74,800 before any options are added, and getting close to the Trackhawk’s power output requires selecting the Cayenne Turbo S at $157,300 (and even then, you only get 570 hp). Clearly, the Grand Cherokee will continue to be the standard bearer for price and performance.

Expect the Trackhawk (or whatever Jeep decides to call it) in the latter half of 2017 as a 2018 model. With spy shots like these popping up, we’ll have a hard time waiting that long to drive one.

Source: SpiedBilde Photography

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