If you’re reading this then the WK generation Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is likely already a memory. As we go to press the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is getting ready to launch, sans SRT, though we hope for a new one in 2012. The Grand Cherokee SRT8 had a great run starting with the 2006 model year and ran for five years. The SRT8 Grand was the first ever all-wheel-drive SRT vehicle and the quickest and most powerful Jeep ever built from the factory. The Grand SRT’s 6.1 liter Hemi engine propels it from 0-60mph in less than five seconds, from 0-100mph in less than 19 seconds, and its Brembo brakes slow the SUV from 60-0 in about 125 feet. And with a low 13 second quarter mile time the Grand SRT is the quickest accelerating of all of the SRT8 vehicles, second only to the SRT10 Viper.
The all-wheel-drive system in the Grand Cherokee SRT8 is arguably the key to its success. Using an NV146 transfercase with specially designed electronics and programming the Grand SRT is able to send the engines torque exactly where it needs it most. The Grand SRT8 uses a Dana 44 rear axle with an open differential. To finish off applying the power to the ground the Grand SRT8 wears a set of 11.2-inch wide rear and 10-inch wide front Goodyear tires. This combination along with the sport-tuned suspension allows the Grand SRT8 to hold a .92g on the skid pad, just .04g less than the Porsche 911 Turbo.
A normal Grand Cherokee is able to be equipped with either a 3.7-liter V6, 4.7-liter V8, or 5.7-liter V8. The Grand SRT is no normal Grand so it is powered with a fire breathing 6.1-liter V8 Hemi engine cranking out an earth shattering 420hp and 420lb-ft of torque. Backing this behemoth is a 5-speed automatic transmission with manual shift and sport modes. Manual shift mode allows the driver to manually select which gear they would like to be in, within reason, while sport mode still retains the automatic shift function but holds gears until the redline of 6,400 rpm. With all that grunt you would expect the Grand SRT to need large brakes to stop it all, and that is does, The Grand SRT is equipped the best-in-the-business Brembo brakes at each corner.
Being a Jeep you would think that the interior of this machine would be more on the utilitarian side of things but this isn’t the case. The Grand SRT’s interior is appointed in a way that is usually left for the luxury class of SUV costing double the price. The seats are covered in elegant dark slate gray leather and embroidered with the SRT logo and are heated both front and rear. The dash and door panels have plenty of soft-touch leather panels and the center stack is adorned with carbon fiber accents. The Grand SRT also comes with a backup camera, gps navigation, Sirius satellite radio, dual zone climate control, 30gig hard drive, and a 476-watt 11-speaker Kicker stereo system.
With all of these seemingly grand features what could there be to complain about? Well the Grand SRT does have a few flaws. First off with all of that power you would think that the Grand SRT would make a good tow rig for your boat right, wrong. The Grand SRT’s dual exhaust tips take up the space where the hitch should be. The AWD system is great, the torque steer that 420lb-ft trying to get to the front wheels creates is not. And yes, it is an SRT vehicle, but it’s still a Jeep, and a Jeep should have a low-range and at least some ground clearance, but we’ll make an exception for this one. Oh, and it gets 12mph, so you’ll have to get over that too.
The bottom line is this, like most vehicles Jeep produces the Grand Cherokee SRT8 will put a smile on your face, a big smile. Sure you won’t be going wheeling in this Jeep, but you will have no problem crushing that punk kid in his hopped up Integra at the street-legal-drags (we would never condone street racing). This Jeep is more sports car than most sports cars and more luxury than most luxury cars and all at a price that is almost affordable.
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