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Hellcat-Powered 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

The main problem with having a 707-horsepower engine is getting traction. The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is a big leap forward - it doubles the rubber meeting the road.

After two years of rumor, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk was released on April 9, 2017, boasting the same 707 horsepower supercharged Hemi V8 as the Challenger and Charger Hellcats. Torque is just five pound-feet lower at 645.

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What difference does all wheel drive make? The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is quoted as having a 3.5 second 0-60 time, devouring the quarter mile in 11.6 seconds at 116 mph, despite the size and bulk of the SUV. The Challenger Hellcat, on the other hand, does 0-60 in 3.7 seconds - but also has a certified 11.0 second quarter mile. Apparently, size and weight matter in the long (quarter mile) run, but traction makes a difference in 0-60 times.

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Car & Driver claimed that the Trackhawk used the air conditioning system to cool the intake; we can't verify that, but it does have the Dodge Demon's "Torque Reserve" system, allowing it to leave the line at a higher boost (and torque) level. Boost goes up to 11.6 psi.

The Trackhawk, not surprisingly, has a single transmission - the familiar eight-speed automatic - and a single speed transfer case, with a wider chain and forged sprockets; the driveshaft and half shafts are stronger as well. The normal mode for the transfer case is a 40/60 split, front to rear; it can go up to 30/70 in Track mode, or 50/50 in Snow mode. As with the regular Hellcats, going into a sport mode makes the suspension firmer and cuts the time it takes to shift. (Modes are automatic, sport, track, tow, snow, and driver-customized). The seven-inch gauge screen and 8.4 inch stereo are standard.

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The Hellcat powered SUV is 259 pounds heavier than the 392-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, so the active dampers were retuned, and stiffer springs were installed - 9% stiffer in front and 15% stiffer in back.

Like the Grand Cherokee SRT8, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk sits one inch lower than standard models; it also has adaptive Bilstein shocks, ten inches wide wheels, and 295/45R20 Pirelli BSW all-season run-flat tires (buyers can choose three season radials instead, at no cost). The standard wheel is Titanium with a Satin Chrome center cap; the lightweight is forged aluminum Low Gloss Black. Optional forged wheels cut around 12 pounds. Skidpad testing shows good adherence to the pavement, with 0.88g quoted.

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Front brakes are the inevitable Brembo six-piston designs with 15.75 inch vented rotors; the rear wheels have four-piston calipers and 13.73 inch rotors. Splitting Jeep from Dodge is the color of the calipers: yellow, not red. Stopping from 60 mph is a rather good 114 feet.

The Hellcat badging is conspicuous by its absence, perhaps because Jeep competes with Mercedes, BMW, and such, while Dodge generally does not. Instead, buyers see dignified "Supercharged" badges underneath the words "Grand Cherokee." No bold stripes, no huge hood scoops. There are, admittedly, four tailpipes, twins on each side.

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There are few outward signs that this is a Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, not an SRT; the fog lights, though, were removed, with the driver's side fog light hole now sending air into the engine (as with the Hellcat cars). Inside, there is black chrome and carbon fiber trim, with the SRT's standard heated and cooled Nappa leather and suede front seats. Buyers can also opt for real-metal trim in black or the dark red; a panoramic sunroof; red seat belts; and a bigger sound system.

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The Trackhawk, unsurprisingly, comes with the SRT's Performance Pages and a mildly optimistic 200 mph speedometer (the top speed has not yet been released). One surprise, though: the tow rating is 7,200 pounds, so if you were worried about going uphill with a trailer, this might work.

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The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk can be ordered "sometime this year." Colors are white, silver, black, gray, ivory tri-coat, Redline 2, True Blue, and Velvet Red. The axle ratio is 3.70:1. Standard features include HID headlights, a hitch and compact spare, dark-lens tail-lamps, electronic limited-slip rear axle, forward collision warning plus emergency braking, headlamp washers, lane departure warning with mediation, self-parking, power tilt/telescope steering column, rain-sensitive wipers, and selectable steering modes for the electric power steering.

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