Being the smallest of the Big Three is the same as being the youngest sister in a trio, you get away with more naughtiness and people tend to cut you slack. Chrysler is the little sister, and today it’s feeling like going out in public dressed like a monster. And that’s how you end up getting a 707-horsepower super-Jeep in production.
The new Dodge Hellcat-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee is called the Trackhawk, and fresh on the heels of the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63, it wants to occupy the claim as the quickest and baddest SUV on the planet. Seven hundred horsepower will get you to the top fast, but even while weighing nearly half a tonne more than a Challenger or Charger, the Jeep Trackhawk dizzies with its numbers. Zero too 100kph should take around 3.5 seconds thanks to a rear-biased torque split, and it’ll run a quarter mile in the elevens like a proper supercar. The all-wheel drive system puts the 707bhp to the ground (unlike the two-wheel drive Dodges…) via a strengthened eight-speed automatic transmission and beefed-up drivetrain along with stronger driveshafts.
To stop this runaway freight train on the move, the Trackhawk features nearly 400mm diameter brakes up front and 355mm discs on the back. You can even ask Jeep to throw on some optional forged wheels that save 5kg of unsprung weight.
Keeping it amazingly restrained, Jeep has ensured the Trackhawk will hit roads as a bit of a sleeper because there isn’t much to set this one apart from regular SRT Grand Cherokees. If you paste your head to the window you might find the speedometer reading to 320kph as a bit odd in an SUV, and perhaps eagle-eyed spotters will notice the 295-section track-rated rubber.
The quad exhaust pipes are quite well incorporated into the rear, and the car also gets a few small Trackhawk badges, but that’s about it.
What was the first super-SUV?
The first SUV to offer a V8 was a Kaiser Jeep back in 1966, and it came with leather and air conditioning four years before the Range Rover arrived, too. However, when looking at performance SUVs that also somewhat attempted to handle corners, we’d have to fast-forward to the 1992 GMC Typhoon with a turbocharged V6 and 0-100kph in the low fives. The reason we wouldn’t consider the infamous Eighties’ ‘Rambo Lambo is because it was so huge and heavy it took eight seconds to reach 100kph despite a V12 engine, and really, it all began as a military project anyway. And then the ML 55s and X5 Ms and Cayennes came around, but we’d peg super-SUV genesis at GM’s humble Jimmy-based Typhoon…