MoparMax covers all automotive things Mopar. A new issue of MoparMax.com is published on or around the 15th of each month and is updated throughout the month.
CEO, Jeff Burk
Editor & Publisher, Richard Kratz
Managing Editor, COO Kay Burk
Contributing Editor, Chuck Green, Chris Holley
Contributing Writers, Jim Baker, Steve Magnante, Geoff Stunkard, Matt Strong, Mark A. Posner
Senior Photographer - Ron Lewis
Contributing Photographers - Tim Marshall, Dennis Mothershed
Published by Racing Net Source LLC, 607 Seib Drive, O'Fallon, MO 63366 - Phone: 636.272.6301
Racing Net Source LLC is licensed to use MOPAR, a trademark of Chrysler Group LLC, in the title of the magazine MOPAR MAX. No other connection with Chrysler Group LLC is expressed or implied. The editorial opinions are those of the publisher and do not necessarily represent the views of Chrysler Group LLC.
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Director: Casey Araiza
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Production Monkey: Axel G.
Racing Net Source LLC
607 Seib Drive
O'Fallon, MO 63366
Editor & Publisher
CEO Jeff Burk
COO Kay Burk
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Director: Casey Araiza
Director: Dave Ferrato
Contact: Casey Araiza
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2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
We don't want to bury the lead on this story, so it's best to just state this right up front, "By any name this is a Hellcat Jeep." Fiat Chrysler Automobile leaves all mention of the Hellcats out of their materials; they prefer the official name of Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk, so we'll go with that.
Before we launch into all of the technical details, let's answer the question, why? Why a 707 horsepower four-wheel drive Jeep? We could be flippant and say, "Why not?" and that would be a fine answer. Why bring back the HEMI? Why build the Hellcats? Why create the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon? Why not? FCA is on a roll and who are we to look a gift horse in the mouth.
But there are very good reasons for FCA to build the Trackhawk and very good reasons for you to buy one. The overall vehicle marketplace loves SUVs and CUVs. FCA shut down their Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 assembly lines because they couldn't build enough higher profit Jeeps to meet worldwide demand. Porsche proved with the Cayenne way back in 2002 that there is a market for high performance CUVs. BMW and Mercedes play in this market too. Jeep is a beloved brand that sells well and added performance street cred to its off-road reputation with the Grand Cherokee SRT8 beginning in 2006.
A couple of years ago we got the chance to ride shotgun around a road course in Las Vegas, Nevada in all four SRT vehicles driven by professional race car drivers. Of course the Challenger was fast, as were the Charger and the Chrysler 300 SRTs. The surprise for us was the Jeep. The Grand Cherokee SRT defied sense and reason hustling around the road course as fast and precisely as the other SRT cars. The difference was a sense of refinement; the Jeep SRT went about its business of going fast with a smooth, almost off-hand ease. With the car based SRTs we thought high-end American muscle cars. With the Grand Cherokee SRT, we thought European GT luxury sport sedan.
We spent a whole day playing with the cars and at the end of that day hands down the car we wanted to take home was the Jeep. There were eight race car drivers on hand that day, and seven of them agreed with us, if they could they'd drive the Jeep home.
Fast forward to 2017 and even Lamborghini and Bentley are introducing high performance SUVs. It makes sense to us; if you have the coin to afford a supercar at some point in your maturity you may want your performance car to have the comfort, visibility and utility of an SUV. An SUV/GT is easier to live with day-to-day and provides more interior room for all of the luxury touches you expect in a premium sports grand touring machine.
Seven hundred and seven horsepower was a mind-blowing number when the Hellcat first came out and it still is today. They sell Lamborghini’s that don’t make that much horsepower and now FCA is putting that number of ponies under the right foot of Jeep buyers. This is the most powerful SUV ever made. The 6.2L supercharged engine is the now proven package powering the Hellcats (there’s that word again). 645 lb. ft. of torque, 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, about 11.6 in the quarter mile off the dealer floor in a vehicle with a curb weight north of 5,100 pounds—that’s the Trackhawk. Forged steel crank, powder forged rods and forged aluminum pistons keep the bottom end intact. Feeding the engine up to 11.6 PSI of boost is a 2.4L supercharger.
Of course, FCA couldn’t just take a Hellcat drivetrain and drop it into the Jeep; Hellcats don’t have four-wheel drive. FCA had to upgrade the Jeep drivetrain to handle the new levels of power. The eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission was upgraded to survive under Hellcat, um, we mean, Trackhawk power and torque.
The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is equipped with the Jeep Quadra-Trac on-demand four-wheel-drive system, which includes an electronic limited-slip rear differential and a single-speed active transfer case. The new, full-time active transfer case uses forged steel chain sprockets and a wider chain for added strength and durability. We’ve watched a lot of Grand Cherokee SRT8’s launch at the drag strip and having four drive tires makes them surprisingly quick off the line. We can’t wait to see a Trackhawk launch.
A strengthened rear drive shaft (remember, the Jeep has front and rear shafts) connects to a new, stronger rear axle. The differential features a revised housing design, revised ring-and-pinion tooth geometry and a new four-point axle mounting scheme for better load distribution, additional torque capacity and overall durability. Torque is delivered to the rear wheels via new ultra-high-strength 300M low-alloy vacuum melted steel half-shafts with upgraded eight-ball outboard CV Joints.
VOLUME XII, ISSUE 2 - MAY/JUNE, 2017
To help you look like a big hitter bracket racer, a Launch Control optimizes the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk’s performance by coordinating the engine, transmission, driveline and suspension for a textbook launch and consistent straight-line acceleration. Technology developed for the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon comes to the Jeep in the form of the new Torque Reserve system. According to FCA, this provides improved engine torque response and quicker vehicle acceleration in Launch Control by pre-positioning the supercharger bypass valve to generate boost and minimize manifold filling time, while cutting fueling to individual cylinders and managing spark timing. This generates a reserve of torque that can be instantaneously delivered upon acceleration from a standing stop.
The Selec-Track system on the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk uses performance-tuned software to provide five driving modes, including: Auto, Sport, Track, Snow and Tow. The drive modes separately control the four-wheel drive system, transmission, paddle shifters, suspension and the electric power steering.
The drive mode configurations include:
Trackhawk also features a Custom Mode that allows the driver to personalize the vehicle’s performance with a selectable driving experience offering a multitude of vehicle system combinations, call it drive mode number six.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk rides on a short/long-arm (SLA) independent front suspension with coil springs, Bilstein adaptive damping suspension (ADS), upper- and aluminum lower-control arms, aluminum knuckle, aluminum clevis and hollow stabilizer bar. The rear suspension is a multi-link design with coil spring, Bilstein ADS, aluminum lower control arm, independent upper links (tension and camber), plus a separate toe link, and a hollow stabilizer bar.
Unlike a Hellcat Challenger or Charger, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is capable of towing 7,200 pounds.
To bring the “Whoa” up to par with its “Go,” The Trackhawk’s new high-performance Brembo brakes include the largest standard front brakes ever offered on a Jeep vehicle. We’re talking “Large sized pizza” here, up front are 15.75-inch (400 mm) two-piece vented rotors with six-piston calipers painted with a new yellow finish, and 13.78-inch (350 mm) vented rotors with four-piston yellow calipers in the rear for outstanding stopping performance, heat management and durability.
The new Brembo brakes bring the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk to a stop from 60 mph in 114 feet. For added safety, the anti-lock braking, electronic stability control and traction systems are uniquely tuned.
The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk rides one inch lower than non-SRT Grand Cherokee models and is further set apart with body-colored wheel flares, side sill cladding and a sculpted hood with dual heat extractors.
The Jeep signature seven-slot upper front grille is flanked by adaptive, bi-xenon headlamps and surrounded by an LED character lamp treatment. The headlamps on the Trackhawk feature a unique Gloss Black background to accent their appearance.
The fog lights are absent from the Trackhawk’s front fascia, the openings are employed to flow air to cooling modules and engine air intake. From behind, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk features a unique Gloss Black rear valence that showcases four-inch Black Chrome quad exhaust tips. We’ve heard that the exhaust sounds more muscular than anything with a “Jeep” badge ever has before.
New standard 20x10-inch Titanium-finish wheels with a Satin Chrome center cap showcase the distinctive Brembo yellow calipers underneath. Available lightweight 20 x 10-inch forged aluminum Low Gloss Black wheels save a total of 12 pounds versus the standard Trackhawk wheel. Grand Cherokee Trackhawk also features all-new Pirelli 295/45ZR20 Scorpion Verde All-Season or new Pirelli P Zero three-season tires with an increased speed rating.
You can have your Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk in nine exterior colors: Billet Silver, Granite Crystal, Diamond Black, Ivory Tri-coat, Bright White, Velvet Red, Rhino (exclusive), Redline 2 (exclusive) and True Blue. We haven’t seen the colors ourselves, but we already know we want ours in one of the reds.
You want your journey to the country club to be luxurious. The Trackhawk delivers with Wall Street level ROI in this department. Premium soft-touch materials, unique Light Black Chrome and carbon fiber finishes, a 7-inch driver information display (DID) instrument cluster, a tachometer and 200-mph speedometer all say “First Class.”
The instrument panel center stack with new 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen features Trackhawk-exclusive Performance Pages that showcase an array of performance timers and gauge readouts, including a new engine dynamometer screen that measures instantaneous horsepower, torque and current transmission gear. The dynamometer screen also includes a new snapshot function for owners to save their readouts on a USB drive. Jeep is making sure that owners can easily post their numbers to Snapchat.
The Trackhawk features standard Nappa leather and suede seats with an embroidered “Trackhawk” logo. A fully wrapped Signature Leather Interior Package with “Trackhawk” embossed on the seats, optional in black and Trackhawk-exclusive black and Dark Ruby Red is available. Seats are also heated (front and rear) and ventilated (front) pamper your back and backside winter and summer. Dark Ruby Red seatbelts and a dual-pane panoramic sunroof are also available options.
A new Premium Metal Package is standard and enhances the Trackhawk’s interior with various upscale real metal accents.
Additional premium interior features include: standard Active Noise Cancellation; premium headliner; leather stitched instrument panel, doors, center console and armrest; Berber floormats with Trackhawk badge and available dual-screen rear-seat entertainment center with Blu-ray.
There is a choice of two audio systems, including an 825-watt Harman Kardon high-performance audio system with 19-speakers and two subwoofers.
With this level of interior accoutrements, we’re pretty sure you won’t miss the fact that this is a Jeep that is not intended to go off-road. What? Like you’d risk getting your Berber floormats muddy? As if. That’s what they make the Wrangler Rubicon for.
But as we mentioned earlier, the Trackhawk can tow up to 7,200 pounds. A trailer hitch camera view not only makes hitching up easier, you can use at speed to make sure your trailer is secure. Take that Hellcats.
Editor’s Note: When I was a young man in the late 1970’s I bought a surplus 1942 Willy’s MB Jeep. I also bought two towering pallets of surplus parts that allowed me to make my jeep actually run. It had a 60 horsepower flathead four engine and once hit 60 MPH on a downhill stretch of freeway with a tailwind. The driver’s seat tilted forward so you could put gas in the fuel tank under said seat. In the winter, the metal tube and canvas top kept 80% of the rain out, so you arrived where you were going wet but not soaked. The rust holes in the floorboard doubled as drain holes in the rain. I wonder what Joe and Willy, Bill Maudlin’s famous WWII funny page soldiers would make of the Trackhawk?
That old MB was the Alpha and the Trackhawk may be the Omega.
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