Caught testing totally undisguised earlier this week, we’ve got photos of the first-ever Jeep Grand Cherokee “Trackhawk,” a model powered by the supercharged 6.2L Hellcat V-8.
Setting the Trackhawk apart from its more plebian Grand Cherokee SRT sibling is the aforementioned supercharged V-8, as well as a host of obvious styling changes and likely suspension mods. The front-end graphic merges Jeep heritage cues and Hellcat trademarks, as shown by a narrowed version of the signature seven-slat grille and massive lower air intakes. LED driving lamps float within brake cooling ducts on the front bumper’s corners. In spite of the big grille apertures, the look is actually cleaner than that of the “standard” Grand Cherokee SRT.
Around the side and back, the Hellcat looks similar to the SRT, with flared wheel arches, bold rocker moldings, and a diffuser-style rear exhaust valence. Spent hydrocarbons will exit the engine via some bazooka-sized exhaust tips, giving the rear end a purposeful look.
Large wheels with spindly spokes recall other Mopar vehicles like the Dodge Viper, and they also hide pizza-sized brake discs clamped by what we hope are uprated calipers. The ride height of the Trackhawk looks to be unchanged compared to the SRT, and we’re a little disappointed the awesome Hellcat badge isn’t to be found on the vehicles our spy photographer spotted.
While powertrain details have yet to be confirmed by Jeep, the Trackhawk should be one of the more docile kittens in the Hellcat lineup. We expect the company to slightly detune the engine to around 675 hp for Grand Cherokee duty, and that power will shuffle to all four wheels through a nails-tough eight-speed automatic transmission. Torque-vectoring all-wheel drive will make the most of that prodigious power output, giving the Grand Cherokee excellent, accessible performance.
Of note, the Hellcat-powered Jeep will also be the most powerful SUV on the market when it hits dealership order books in 2017, and if Jeep ever takes it to the Nurburgring, we expect it will beat the similarly sized Range Rover Sport SVR’s time of 8 minutes and 14 seconds. That 550hp SUV will likely be the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk’s most natural competitor in size, price, and performance, although Jeep will also target the 567hp BMW X5M, 550hp Mercedes-AMG GLE63, and 570hp Porsche Cayenne. We expect the Trackhawk to be the least expensive of its competitive set.
Jeep boss Mike Manley confirmed the company would get a Hellcat-engined product by the end of 2017, but we expect it even sooner. If that’s true, we should be getting our grimy paws on the Trackhawk’s steering wheel within about 12 months.
Source: SpiedBilde Photography