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The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 runs from 0-60 mph in 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 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.
A new 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.
Standard steering wheel mounted paddle shifters join the AutoStick on the floor. Both use the same automatic transmission as prior SRT8s, and give the driver the ability to shift while the transmission controller calibration prevents situations that might over rev the engine. Fully adaptive electronic control of all shifting makes the powertrain more responsive while minimizing harshness.
The best handling Jeep vehicle ever – capable of .90 g on the skid pad – features a new SRT-tuned, adaptive damping suspension managed by the new Jeep Selec-Track system 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 manually choose between five dynamic modes: Auto, Sport, Towing, Track (extra firm), and Snow.
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. New split 5-spoke, 20-inch forged aluminum wheels ride on P295/45ZR20 Pirelli PZero run-flat tires (standard All-season or available Three-season). Rounding out the capability of the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is a trailer tow rating of 5,000 lbs.
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.
The 2012 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 integrated lower front grille is painted in gloss black and a newly designed underbody belly pan features integrated brake ducting to improve cooling and fade performance. A new hood with functional dual black heat extractors increases engine cooling. At the rear, a new liftgate spoiler reduces drag and improves downforce. A one-piece rear fascia includes a separate air diffuser along with an available trailer receiver and access cover. New for the 2012 version of the Grand Cherokee SRT8 is the dual-sport exhaust system featuring 4-inch exhaust tips.
A new, leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel features a unique race-inspired rim section with a flattened bottom surface. Standard paddle-shift controls flank both sides of the new contoured palm rests while all audio and Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) controls are accessible from the horizontal spokes on the steering wheel. A power tilt and telescoping steering column also is standard. Performance Pages are new for 2012 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 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.
New for 2012 was the available 825-watt, 19-speaker premium SRT performance audio surround-sound system from Harman Kardon® that includes a 10-inch subwoofer for the ultimate in sound quality. The system uses GreenEdge® technology to dramatically increase the efficiency of its speakers and amplifier, performing like a far more powerful unit.
New for 2013 are the Vapor (black) and Alpine (white) editions.
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.
SRT engineers kept a BMW X6M on hand as a benchmark; and a Maserati Levante version is set for launch. (See specifications at bottom of page)
The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 starts at $55,295 including destination. Chrysler said they would produce 3,800 of the 2012 models, though there is some indication that the figure is for the US only, and that additional cars would be made for Canada (1,200) and possibly other markets.
Specifications and engine / capacity details
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