ROAD TESTED — Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk – Mega 4×4 eats Ferraris for breakfast!

Suppose this is what happens when the Italians build a Jeep.

There’s button on the console — you don’t really notice it at first. But when appropriately deployed with the Jeep in Track mode and the traction control expunged, the dash prompts you to flatten the brake and the throttle. And then it invites you to release the brake. 

That torque reserve launch control button on the console transforms this phenomenal car into something quite stupendous. This Jeep took 3.35 seconds to accelerate to 100km/h!

beats ferraris in a drag

To put that into perspective, running a finger up towards to top of our all-time best road test numbers, we see the Ferrari FF ran 0-100km/h in 3.51 seconds, the McLaren 650S took 3.39 seconds and the Ferrari 458 Italia 3.37 seconds. All of the above mentioned cars were tested starting from the same point and along the same strip of tarmac.

To be clear, this 2532kg R2.2-million 522kW 875Nm supercharged 6.2-litre V8 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk launched to 60km/h in 1.45 seconds, smashed through 100km/h in 3.35 seconds, did 160km/h in 7.73 seconds and got to 200km/h in 12.45 seconds down there. Not bad for a Jeep, hey? 

oH, it’s thirsty!

It also flattened 400 metres from that standing start in 11.3 seconds at 193km/h, pulled from 80-120km/h in 2.12 seconds and from 120 to 160 in 3.29 seconds. Oh yes — the fuel consumption readout showed 45 litres per hundred when we were finished and Jeep says it will do 290km/h flat out. All of which is, well, pretty astounding! 

Mind-blowing, actually!

What’s more, the Trackhawk is a stunning car to drive too. It holds the road, handles, turns in, follows through and brakes in a fashion that its astounding straight-line performance demands. It sounds its 2.2 million bucks too…

That guttural V8 growl accompanied by the supercharger’s serpentine squeal eggs you on; never mind the machine gun staccato it shouts for the second or so you’re both full throttle and full brakes in launch control, is almost as awe inspiring as what immediately follows…

blown hemi v8

The nuts and bolts of this thing is its SRT-8-based 6.2-litre Hemi V8 pumped by an integral charge-cooled twin-screw 2.4-litre per revolution supercharger. That feeds Trackhawk’s upgraded TorqueFlite eight-speed autobox fettled with a five drive-mode Selec-Track system complete with its splendid bareback Track mode and the all important launch control (which is worth around three-tenths to 100km/h, by the way).

Add Bilstein adaptive damping and driveline components engineered — and quite capapble — of handling all that additional torque and those  Brembo brakes packing the largest-ever front disc rotors ever to find their way onto a Jeep and good for 35m 100km/h to standstill retardation in just 35 metres.

The best thing about the supercharged Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, is perhaps the fact that you need to look twice to notice it’a really different from its common garden mud-plugging hillbilly kin. 

has the looks too

That’s probably more to do with those siblings being pretty darn good looking to start with, but when you look again, you will notice the darkened headlamps, more aggressive bumper and vented bonnet, 20-inch wheels and distinctive yellow Brembo callipers. 

Jeep calls Trackhawk’s spacious, comfortable enough and well-appointed cabin driver-focused and it certainly is well equipped, if a bit plasticky and downgrade versus some Teuton rivals. There’s a lot of kit in there though — highlights include the central-tachometer 7-inch instrument cluster and an 8.4-inch touchscreen with Trackhawk Performance Pages, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and the rest.

a 29okm/h speedo. that’s no joke

What does set Trackhawk apart however, is that 290 km/h speedometer, which we can promise you is not a joke. 

We’re also pretty sure that there must already be a good few Ferrari, McLaren, Lamborghini and Porsche drivers around who will also attest to that, but this quite ridiculous machine is noting less than a full-blooded supercar dressed up as a jeep. 

And we thought we’d seen it all! — Michele Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
Engine: 522kW 875Nm 6.2-litre 
        supercharged petrol V8      
Drive:  8-speed automatic 4x4
0-60km/h:              1.45 sec
0-100km/h:             3.35 sec                      
0-160km/h:             7.73 sec   
0-200km/h             12.48 sec    
400m:                 11.3 sec @ 193km/h            
80-120km/h:             2.12 sec
120-160km/h:            3.29 sec          
VMax:                  290km/h              
Fuel:                  16.8 l/100km                     
CO2:                   350 g/km
Warranty/Service:      3y 100K/6y 100Kkm 
LIST PRICE:            R2.2M           
RATED:                 9