Jeep Caught Testing Hellcat-Powered Grand Cherokee
Jeep’s 707-horsepower SUV is prepped for productionby Mark McNabb, on
Only a week or so after Jeep CEO Mike Manley sarcastically confirmed the Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show to a single journalist, a video has surfaced showing the vehicle under development.
The short and somewhat dull video shows the Grand Cherokee performing a quick acceleration run on the empty track. Supercharger whine is clearly present, resonating the distinctive Hellcat noise that’s different from other supercharged V-8s. Also audible is a short burst of tire chirping, but with the amount of throttle heard in the video, any rear-wheel drive, Hellcat-powered machine would smoke the tires, even with traction control on. This leads us to believe Jeep engineers have indeed built an AWD system capable of withstanding 650 pound-feet of torque. Whether it makes production or not is still unknown.
Of course, there’s no official word from Jeep or FCA, but we suspect the Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee will soon be ready for production. Manley’s snarky interview revealed the SUV will be on the market before the end of 2017, likely making it a 2018-model-year vehicle. What’s more, according to FCA’s five-year plan published in 2014, the Grand Cherokee is due for a generational change in 2017. That lines up perfectly, making it seem like Jeep will wait to introduce the 707-horsepower street rod until the next-generation Grand Cherokee makes its debut. Perhaps the Hellcat version will bow at the same time.
Jeep is still quite on what it plans to call the Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee, though all suspension and rumors still point to the TrackHawk name. Either way, these are certainly exciting times in the automotive world.
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Why It Matters
Fiat Chrysler has done a fantastic job at marketing and selling the Charger and Challenger Hellcat cars, bringing both profits and recognition to the Dodge brand. It only makes sense to ride that wave, expanding the Hellcat’s reign to more vehicles in the FCA lineup. The Grand Cherokee makes the perfect (though not really) vehicle for this. The SUV already has an SRT performance trim, powered by the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 that makes 470 horsepower. Adding the Hellcat V-8 to the performance mix would make a fantastic halo vehicle for Jeep, with a name more recognizable than just the SRT moniker.
Read our full review on the Jeep SRT Hellcat here.