2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: the hot SUV
The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 runs from 0-60 mph in under 4.8 seconds, screams from 0-100-0 mph in the mid-16 second range, covers the quarter mile in the mid-13 second range, has a top speed of 160 mph, and brakes from 60-0 mph in 116 feet. In addition to slight improvements in those times, there is a dramatic improvement in 30-70 mph and 50-90 mph acceleration as the eight-speed transmission can drop down multiple gears (while rev matching) in milliseconds. Towing capacity has been increased by 44%, to 7,200 pounds.
Transmission and suspension performance gains
New for 2014, the Grand Cherokee SRT has an eight-speed transmission, increasing its performance and efficiency. SRT took full advantage of the new high-speed electronics architecture and the transmission’s ability to select specific gears within milliseconds; the car also has a corner-specific damper control hooked into the stability control. The transmission can be controlled by new steering wheel paddle controls.; and, on full automatic, it can choose between more than 90 individual shift maps to provide the driver with desired power or efficiency. The intelligent software takes into account variables including engine torque gradients, kick down events, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, grade changes, friction detection and downshift detection to determine the appropriate shift map. Eight-speed transmission details.
The control strategy includes speed control, temperature, and electronic stability control interaction. During development testing at the Nelson Ledges Road Course in Ohio, SRT engineers achieved 6/10ths of a second faster lap times (over the 2013 SRT8).
For better mileage in normal conditions, drivers can choose Eco Mode from the Selec-Track system. Throttle mapping, shift schedules, and cylinder cutoff are all affected.
Also new for 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is an easier way to access Launch Control: a switch in the center console. Launch control affects torque split, damper stiffness, shift speeds, and other variables to achieve the best possible acceleration. The vehicle stays in launch mode until the driver lifts his or her foot off the throttle.
Another enhancement for 2014 is a “rev match” downshift function. When the driver downshifts, the engine controller will blip the throttle to minimize the jerkiness typically associated with this maneuver. The result is improved performance and greater stability when downshifting at the traction limit.
In person, the Grand Cherokee is sleek and muscular; its power is not obvious, except when the engine is on and rumbling, but it does have a look of restrained power, or perhaps that’s just perception, knowing what it is. The car looks smaller than it is, and sportier than the stock Grand Cherokee. It’s not just the dropped suspension, it’s also the body-colored flares and other details.
Powering the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is a new 6.4-liter Hemi® V-8 that delivers 470 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque – 50 horsepower and 45 lb.-ft. torque more than the 6.1-liter V-8 it replaced. An active intake manifold and high-lift camshaft with cam phasing deliver better low-end torque, while optimizing peak power across a wider and improved rpm band. 90% of peak torque is available between 2,800 and 6,000 rpm.
An active valve exhaust system allows four-cylinder operation to engage over a wider rpm range, for better mileage (estimated at 13% on the highway) and a range of around 450 miles on one tank of gas.
The best handling Jeep vehicle ever – capable of .90 g on the skid pad – uses an SRT-tuned, adaptive damping suspension that interacts with several different systems (stability control, adaptive damping, transmission shift strategy, transfer case torque proportioning, Electronic Limited Slip Differential performance, throttle control and cylinder de-activation). Drivers can between five dynamic modes: Auto, Sport, Towing, Track (extra firm), and Snow. There is also an independent Sport/Normal control for the transmission alone.
The standard Jeep Quadra-Trac active on-demand four-wheel-drive transfer case uses input from a variety of sensors in order to determine tire slip at the earliest possible moment and take corrective action. The system uses Throttle Anticipate to sense quick movement in the throttle from a stop and maximizes traction before slippage occurs. When tire slippage is detected, the Jeep 4x4 system can transfer up to 100 percent of available torque to one rear wheel.
The transfer case also enhances handling by proportioning torque between the front and rear axles to maintain the driver’s intended path. The new Grand Cherokee SRT8 also features an Electronic Limited Slip Differential that eliminates rear wheel slip and improves handling.
The performance-tuned, fully-hydraulic steering system is improved with a new, heavy-duty pump and pump cooler. Revised gearing gives drivers more direct feel and on-center response.
Stopping distance performance of 116 feet from 60-0 mph is made possible by new red-painted, Brembo 6-piston (front) and 4-piston (rear) calipers, and vented rotors at all four corners measuring 15-inches (front) and 13.8-inches (rear). The main down-side to the high performance tires and brakes is the high cost of replacing them; like many high-performance cars, the Grand Cherokee SRT8 uses quite expensive tires (those Pirellis will run you $1,968 at Tire Rack), and requires that you replace those big vented rotors when the pads wear down.
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 Styling and Design
The 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT8 was lowered one inch from the standard model, and has SRT-exclusive body-color wheel flares and side sill cladding. A one-piece front fascia contains new LED multi-function daytime running lamps; a body-colored front grille with a black screen background and chrome bezel inserts adds to the aggressive look.
The 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT has somewhat more aggressive styling than the 2013, with a new signature LED character lamp treatment, a brawnier grille, a one-touch liftgate, and a new rear spoiler. An underbody belly pan has integrated brake ducting to prevent fading. Designers put the headlamp washers into the headlamp housing, rather than on the bumper.
The front light treatment is mirrored in back, with larger tail lamps and signature LED lighting. The tail lamps use a black surround, creating the illusion of floating lamps. The rear spoiler is more aerodynamically efficient, and the rear SRT badge that no longer carries the number “8.” The new liftgate is operated electrically, and does not have “flipper glass,” enhancing rearward visibility and cutting weight.
A redesigned leather-wrapped, heated, power tilt-and-telescope, flat-bottomed steering wheel has paddle-shift controls on both sides, while all audio and Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) controls are accessible from the horizontal spokes.
New to the Grand Cherokee is a customer-configurable 7-inch Thin-Film Transistor (TFT) liquid-crystal display, which can be configured one hundred different ways. Navigation, audio, fuel economy info, Selec-Terrain modes, and warning indicators can all be displayed in the 7-inch screen. The display’s pixel illumination is more precisely controlled than in most consumer electronics, which makes for “blacker” blacks, more vivid colors, and crisper graphics, which are critical to instant recognition.
Performance Pages are carried over with new graphics and the 8.4 inch touch-screen, and show instant feedback on steering input measurements, horsepower, torque, 0-60 mph time, 60-0 mph braking distance, g-forces, and one-eighth mile and quarter-mile times, along with expanded engine information.
New for the Performance Pages are the ability to share data with other SRT enthusiasts, using a built in cell connection. The same screen provides access to the optional/late availability UConnect Access via Mobile (see the main Grand Cherokee page for more.) (UConnect Access Advantage is standard, as are Performance Pages and satellite radio).
The 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT Laguna leather interior is available in black and a new Sepia combination.
Nappa leather and suede seats, with sculpted bolsters and adjustable headrests, provide comfort and “grip” and have embroidered SRT logos and contrast stitching accent on the two front seats. Heated (front and rear) and ventilated (front) seats are standard. Carbon fiber accents are integrated into the panels and bright brake and pedal pads add to the look. The optional Luxury Group package adds premium leather to the door trim panels, instrument panel and center console along with a power liftgate, adaptive cruise control, Forward Collision Warning and Blind-spot Monitoring.
An optional 825-watt, 19-speaker premium SRT performance audio surround-sound system from Harman Kardon® includes a 10-inch subwoofer. The standard stero uses nine amplified speakers with a subwoofer and a 506-watt amplifier.
Standard wheels and tires are new, five-spoke 20-inch “Goliath” wheels with Pirelli 295/45ZR20 Scorpion Verde all-season tires; Pirelli P Zero Three-season tires are optional, as are split five-spoke, 20-inch forged aluminum wheels with the “Spider Monkey” design in Satin Carbon or Black Vapor Chrome. Standard 4-inch dual exhaust tips are integrated into the lower fascia.
Owners of any Chrysler Group SRT vehicle receive one day of professional driving instruction from the Richard Petty Racing School as part of the SRT Track Experience, designed to maximize their driving knowledge and skills on the street or track. Sessions are held throughout the year at selected tracks.
Paint colors are Billet Silver Metallic, Bright White, Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl, Deep Cherry Red Pearl, Granite Crystal Pearl, Maximum Steel Metallic, and Redline Pearl. The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 started at $55,295, including destination. No pricing was released at this time for the 2014 model, but we expect it to start at just under $60,000.