Jeep Trackhawk: 5 things to know about NZ’s most powerful SUV
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The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is proof that a ‘less is more’ approach doesn’t always hold true, especially in the automotive world.
The new track-focused Jeep is the most powerful V8 SUV you can buy in New Zealand, surpassing the best from Audi, Bentley, BMW, Land Rover, Porsche and even the Lamborghini Urus ‘super SUV’.
Yet it goes about doing so in a seemingly simple way, by adding more in every area. More displacement; more air; more petrol and a lot more noise.
But it’s not all about a thunderous V8. After a week of normal road driving with all the hassle Auckland could throw its way, here are the five things you should know about the SUV performance king.
The Trackhawk experience is defined by the thumping 6.2-litre supercharged Hemi V8 under the bonnet. With more grunt then most supercars – including the latest McLaren 720S twin-turbo V8 or Lamborghini Aventador S V12 – the Trackhawk is mind-bendingly fast for a 2.4-tonne five-seat, high-ride SUV.
The engine develops 527kW of peak power at 6000rpm and 875Nm of torque at 4800rpm. 0 to 100km/h will take a mere 3.7 seconds, completing a quarter mile in 11.6 seconds and onto an unrestricted top speed of 290km/h.
Break the figures down and it’s still on par with some of the most highly regarded sports cars. The Trackhawk produces 219kW per tonne, more than the current Aston Martin DB11 V12.
It’s strong, too.
Peak power is great, but knowing you can reach those limits over and over again is more impressive in my book.
Good thing then that the Trackhawk’s power and drivetrain has been developed and tested to allow customers to experience that performance all day long, literally.
Part of the Trackhawk’s testing scheduling included multiple on-tack 24 hour tests, only stopping for fuel (which must of happened often) and tyres. The full drivetrain was also put under strain at the drag strip, with Jeep claiming prototypes were capable of 2000 repeat launches without failure.
It prefers to send power rearward
Even in its most subdued drive mode, the Trackhawk wants to send the majority of its power to the rear axle.
In Auto the front-to-rear torque split is 40/60 and more power will only be sent to the front wheels in Snow (50/50) or Tow (60/40) settings.
But where the Trackhawk’s balance is transformed is in its two racier modes. In Sport torque is split 35/65, while shift times are also reduced by 50 per cent and suspension is tightened. In Track mode the split becomes more pronounced at 30/70, and shift times are reduced to 180 milliseconds.
The changes can be felt behind the wheel as the rear comes into play, helping to turn the SUV as you roll the throttle in a corner.
However, be sure to have the nose pointing in exactly the right place upon corner exit, or a foot-fill of throttle will leave you with understeer.
With prices starting at $169,990, the Jeep Trackhawk is priced smack bang in the middle of the luxury SUV market. Luckily the cabin is appointed appropriately for a such a competitive segment.
The Trackhawk gains a bespoke steering wheel, embroieded leather seats with heating and cooling functions and carbon fibre trim pieces matched with soft-touch materials.
The 7-inch driver display and central 8.4-inch touch screen infotainment screen are modern and helpful, especially when customising drive modes.
You can add to the luxury feel with a panoramic sunroof, Premium Metal interior Package or 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, all offered as an option.
Going… Going… Gone?
As fuel prices rise and congestion on our roads continues to increase, the appeal of a 700+hp car with an advertised fuel usage of 16.8-litres per 100km has not wavered. Kiwis love performance cars, V8s especially, and the Trackhawk proves that passion and buying power is still present in 2018.
When the model was announced for the New Zealand market earlier this year, Jeep confirmed that 75 Trackhawks would make their way down under.
By May, half of our allocation was already accounted for. And now half way through July, the choice for Kiwi buyers has witted even further.
At the time of writing, only two Jeep Trackhawks were listed on driven.co.nz, none of which were brand new. In fact, only one new model could be found in dealerships nationwide.
This isn’t a big seller for Jeep. But it shows no matter how obscure or ridiculous, there’s always a niche... even for a muscle SUV.
Look out for our full Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk road test in NZ Herald and driven.co.nz tomorrow
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