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Jeep has announced the introduction of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8 which Jeep claims (and I agree) is one of the world’s fastest four-wheel drives. Quick and dirty facts:

  • Power – 30 per cent more than standard Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Performance – 313 kW, 6.1-litre HEMI V8
  • 0-100 km/h – low five-second range
  • Price – $85,990 AUD
  • Limited availability – less than 60 vehicles in 2006
  • Available late August 2006 – so order it now!

So what can I say, we need less 4WDs on the road, but instead Jeep has come out with a 4WD… that I like! Hemi V8 in this car is sure to make an impression (and sound awesome) and with a 0-100 in the mid to low 5s, it will scare the living hell out of WRX/SS/XR owners.

Jeep® has unleashed a high performance Street and Racing Technology (SRT) version of its flagship Grand Cherokee, boasting 313 kW, 569 Nm and a 0-100 km/h time in the low-five-second range. Priced at $85,990, the Grand Cherokee SRT8 is the second SRT vehicle to be powered by a 6.1-litre HEMI® V8, joining the 300C SRT8, and offers 30 per cent more power than the 5.7-litre HEMI.

With 20-inch alloy wheels, performance tuned suspension and Brembo brakes the Grand Cherokee SRT8 is engineered for incredible acceleration and stopping power.The Chrysler Group’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) high performance division fitted an enlarged version of the company’s renowned HEMI engine into the Grand Cherokee to create the quickest, most powerful Jeep ever made. The Grand Cherokee SRT8 uses a unique four-wheel drive system to help it accelerate to 100 km/h in the low five second range, achieving a top speed of 245 km/h.

Additional SRT treatment further boosts the performance and driving experience of the Grand Cherokee SRT8. Functional exterior enhancements include a lower more aggressive stance, a new front facia embodying aerodynamic improvements, air intake ducts which help cool the front brakes, and dual exhaust tail pipes. Unique interior features include deeply sculpted performance front seats with performance suede inserts to hold the occupants securely during spirited driving, and a 276 Watt sound system with Boston Acoustics speakers.

When Jeep set out to create its quickest-ever model, it was with the race track rather than the mud track in mind,” said Gerry Jenkins, managing director of Chrysler Group Australia.

The SRT8 is not intended to be off-road capable. Instead, with this injection of SRT DNA, the new Grand Cherokee SRT8 establishes a fresh benchmark for high-performance SUVs. It has the raw power to out-perform the likes of a Porsche Cayenne Turbo at a fraction of the price. At just $85,990 it leaves in its dust, competitors that cost twice as much. With the SRT8’s addition to the Grand Cherokee line-up we now offer a broad range of engines to suit our customers desires including the highly efficient 3.0-litre turbo diesel powertrain,” said Jenkins.

Although the heart of the Grand Cherokee SRT8 is the enlarged 6.1-litre HEMI V8 engine, the aim of the enhanced four-wheel drive system is to maximise the traction available to the driver, while being robust and reliable enough to handle the upgraded HEMI engine’s massive amounts of power and torque.

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8The resulting all-new unique transfer case is set up to deliver from five to 10 per cent of torque to the front wheels, under normal driving conditions, with the remaining 90-to-95 per cent being sent to the rear axle. When driving on slippery surfaces, the four-wheel-drive system can automatically transfer up to 100 per cent of torque to the front wheels when additional traction and stability is required.

As well as the high-performance engine and four-wheel drive system, as with all SRT vehicles, the Grand Cherokee SRT8 features evocative race-inspired interior and performance-oriented exterior and suspension features.
The Grand Cherokee SRT8 is priced at $85,990 and is available from August 2006.

Jenkins added: “If driving enthusiasts want to get their hands on the fastest Jeep ever they will have to be as quick as the car itself! Less than 60 examples will be brought into Australia this year.

The Grand Cherokee SRT8 becomes the third SRT badged Chrysler Group vehicle sold in Australia, joining the Chrysler Crossfire SRT6, on sale in Australia since mid 2005, and the Chrysler 300C SRT8 which arrived for sale in April this year.
All SRT vehicles feature powerful engines, unique exterior details, sports suspension and a sports interior.
The addition of the Grand Cherokee SRT8 will grow the Jeep stable to five models in Australia, joining the iconic Wrangler, the mid-sized Cherokee, Grand Cherokee and seven-seat Jeep Commander.

Grand Cherokee SRT8 standard features

Safety and security

• Advanced multi-stage air bag system
• Side curtain airbags
• Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) 4 wheel disc
• Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
• Brake Assist
• Energy-absorbing steering column
• Rear park assist
• Central locking with remote operation
• Headlamp on timer delay, levelling system
• Height adjustable front seat belts
• Thatcham 1 alarm and immobiliser
• Rain sensitive automatic windscreen wipers
Performance
• 6.1 HEMI® V8 engine – 313 kW, 569 Nm of torque
• Performance-tuned five-speed automatic transmission with electronic range select
• Electronic active full-time 4WD system (all-new system is unique to Grand Cherokee SRT8)
• Enhanced chassis and suspension system – specially tuned components and Bilstein monotube Dampers provide excellent ride and handling in a variety of driving conditions
Utility
• Flexible cargo capacity – smart space with large interior volume, 60/40 splitfolding rear seat and large cargo area
• Memory-controlled features – heated eight-way power driver’s seat, radio presets and exterior mirrors, Reconfigurable in-cluster Electronic Vehicle Information Centre (EVIC) driver-interactive information display
Style
• Exterior performance styling – unique air dam and sill extensions, chrome exterior accents, dual four-inch exhaust tips
• Choice of Brilliant Black, Bright Silver or Steel Blue exterior colour
• Interior performance styling – unique steering wheel, 300-km/h speedometer, and “refined aluminium” accents. Premium low-back front bucket seats with Royale leather trim, embossed suede inserts and embroidered SRT logo
• Large wheels and tyres – 20-inch wheels with high-performance tyres
Value
• Exclusive SRT modifications
• Significant modifications by Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) group turn an already impressive production vehicle into a highly desirable performance model
• High level of standard features
• Dual zone automatic temperature control, tilt/steering column, memory system, leather trimmed seating, ESP, rear park assist system and rain-sensing wipers
• Boston Acoustics sound systems – standard system includes six-disc CD with six Boston Acoustics speakers

Jeep Grand Cherokee prices

Grand Cherokee Laredo

4.7L V8 Auto $53,990
3.0L V6 CRD Auto $58,990

Grand Cherokee Limited

4.7L V8 Auto $65,990
3.0L V6 CRD Auto $68,990
5.7L Hemi® V8 Auto $70,990

Grand Cherokee SRT8

6.1L V8 Auto $85,990

Options

The Grand Cherokee SRT8 comes with an impressive long list of standard equipment, with the only option for the vehicle being a power sunroof with a recommend retail price of $3,191.

New four-wheel-drive system

Developing the first SRT vehicle with four-wheel-drive, SRT engineers created a drive train that was lightweight yet robust and reliable enough to handle the upgraded HEMI engine’s massive amounts of power and torque. A new transfer casing was designed using housing components from two other units, reinforced for their new role. Engineers opted to use the front half of an existing Jeep transfer case, mated to the rear half of a heavy-duty case, chosen for its ruggedness and ability to accommodate the electronic full-time four-wheel-drive system’s components.

Under normal driving conditions, this all-new transfer case delivers from five to 10 per cent of torque to the front wheels, with 90-to-95 per cent being sent via a heavy-duty propshaft (from the diesel-powered Grand Cherokee) to a Dana 44 rear differential upgraded with a larger crown wheel fitted within a new axle casing. The system was designed to provide a well-balanced vehicle with a high fun-to-drive factor, befitting its SRT badging.

Under severe road conditions, when travelling on slippery surfaces, the four-wheel-drive system can transfer up to 100 per cent of torque to the front wheels, automatically as needed, when additional traction and stability is required.

Awesome HEMI V8 power

At the heart of the Grand Cherokee SRT8 is an enlarged SRT 6.1-litre HEMI V8 engine, which generates 313 kW– 73 kW more than the 5.7-litre version – a massive 30 per cent power boost, with 569 Nm of torque compared to the smaller V8’s 500 Nm.

This normally aspirated 90-degree V8 is the highest specific-output engine ever offered by the Chrysler Group – its 51.3 kW-per-litre rating exceeds even that of the legendary 1966 ‘Street HEMI’.Although the Chrysler HEMI was born in the 1950s and entered into legend in the 1960s and ’70s, today’s version took much of its inspiration from the original, particularly the namesake hemispherical combustion chambers that provide power and efficiency.

When SRT set out to develop a more powerful HEMI for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Chrysler 300C, they were mindful of the engine’s heritage, adopting traditional HEMI engine cues such as the orange-painted cylinder block and black valve covers.

The SRT powertrain engineers who developed the Grand Cherokee SRT8’s engine achieved more power by increasing the capacity, raising the compression ratio, redesigning the cylinder head air intake and exhaust systems for increased flow, and enhancing the internal components to allow higher engine speeds (rpm). Strengthened components include a reinforced engine block, forged steel crankshaft and high-strength connecting rods.

The cylinder bore of the 90-degree V8 was increased by 3.5 mm, boosting displacement from 5.7-litres (5654 cc) to 6.1-litres (6063 cc). The compression ratio was raised from 9.5:1 to 10.3:1, unleashing more energy in the combustion process. Maximum power of 313 kW is generated at 6,000 rpm, while maximum torque of 569 Nm is produced at 4,800 rpm.

Engine breathing was increased with new high-flow cylinder heads featuring 16 larger diameter valves (2 per cylinder) and reshaped cylinder ports to maximise airflow. A special intake manifold was designed with larger diameter runners for higher-speed tuning and the exhaust ‘header’ pipes have individual tubes encased in a stainless steel shell, routed through a larger-diameter (70 mm vs. 63.5 mm) exhaust system with 101 mm chrome tail pipes – all unique to the Grand Cherokee SRT8’s 6.1-litre HEMI engine.

Performance-oriented camshaft profiles were developed to balance total vehicle requirements, simultaneously allowing more air in and out of the cylinders and enabling the engine to attain higher revs. SRT engineers increased the HEMI’s peak engine speed nearly 20 per cent, to 6,000 rpm (up from 5,000 rpm).

The high-performance 6.1-litre HEMI is further strengthened with a host of redesigned components, including a reinforced engine block with increased coolant flow, forged steel crankshaft, high-strength powdered-metal connecting rods, floating-pin pistons (cooled by oil squirters), an oil sump modified for reduced oil foaming and hollow, sodium-filled intake and exhaust valve stems to help dissipate heat more efficiently.

The 6.1-litre HEMI’s power is channelled through an A580 five-speed automatic transmission with specially calibrated AutoStick® driver-selectable range control, which offers fully automatic operation or sequential manual gear selection. A heavy-duty four-flange prop shaft sends the torque from the transmission to an upgraded differential and rear axle.

Ride and handling

The Grand Cherokee SRT8 chassis has been fine-tuned to deliver outstanding SRT-style ride and handling across the broad dynamic range. While the existing Grand Cherokee’s suspension layout – independent with double wishbones at the front and a live axle located with multiple links at the rear – is retained, numerous enhancements have been made.
The SRT8’s unique chassis set-up includes tuned Bilstein dampers, specially tailored spring rates and suspension bushings and larger-diameter anti-roll bars. The ride height is lowered by 25 mm, reducing aerodynamic drag, lowering the centre of gravity and enhancing stability and creating an aggressive stance. The Electronic Stability Program (ESP) is specially tuned to match the car’s performance characteristics. The power-assisted rack and pinion steering is higher geared for a more agile response, with 2.85 turns lock-to-lock for an 11.3 metre turning circle, compared with 3.14 turns on the regular Grand Cherokee.

Contributing to its aggressive appearance, while providing both a cosmetic hype and genuine performance boost, the Grand Cherokee SRT8 is equipped with larger diameter, unique five-spoke 20-inch forged aluminium wheels shod with high-performance 245/45 ZR20 all-season tyres.

Upgraded braking

The braking system of the all-new Grand Cherokee SRT8 was upgraded to provide benchmark braking performance, setting a new standard for SUVs and a potent counterpoint to the vehicle’s amazing acceleration and performance.
To stop the vehicle safely and predictably from high speeds, all four discs are fitted with ultra-high performance Brembo racing-style callipers, equipped with four pistons for even greater clamping performance. Up front, there are 360 x 32mm ventilated discs, with 350 x 28mm ventilated discs at the rear.

Functional SRT exterior enhancements

Appropriate to its role as ‘the quickest-ever Jeep’ the Grand Cherokee SRT8’s exterior styling follows the SRT credo with functional exterior enhancements unique to this model, which boost performance and resonate with brand character. The new model’s lowered, aggressive stance shows its unmistakable Jeep identity endowed with Street and Racing Technology DNA.

An all-new front fascia embodies aerodynamic improvements that reduce lift and drag, while providing sufficient airflow to meet the increased cooling demands of the larger HEMI engine. Unique air intake ducts also help to cool the front brakes. A new rear fascia incorporates an aggressive centre cut-out to accommodate the dual 101 mm diameter exhaust tail pipes.

Unique interior features

The cabin of the new Grand Cherokee SRT8 is distinguished by power-adjustable, deeply sculpted performance front seats complete with uniquely patterned suede inserts designed to hold the occupants securely during spirited driving. The heated front seats are also equipped with memory functions and the steering wheel is height-adjustable. All Grand Cherokee SRT8 vehicles feature an interior trimmed in Medium Slate Grey leather.

Other SRT-only trim includes a special ‘carbon-fibre technical’ leather trim for a more positive grip, which is applied to the steering wheel and gear selector. The centre stack features a unique finish in ‘refined aluminium’ which is also applied to shifter console and door-switch bezels. The steering wheel frames comprehensive instrumentation, including a 300 km/h speedometer, tachometer and engine temperature gauges, all trimmed with a blue accent and located in a carbon-fibre trimmed binnacle.

Premium amenities within the Grand Cherokee SRT8 cabin include a standard AM/FM stereo radio with six-disc CD changer, 276 Watt audio system powering a six-speaker Boston Acoustics speaker system, with steering wheel-mounted controls.
Heating and cooling adjustments are via a dual-zone fully automatic climate control air-conditioning system with infrared temperature sensing.

Choice of three colours

Jeep customers are offered a choice of three exterior colours for their Grand Cherokee SRT8 – Brilliant Black, Bright Silver or Steel Blue – each with the interior finished in Medium Slate Grey leather.

Security and warranty

Like other Jeep models, the new Grand Cherokee SRT8 has remote control central locking and a Thatcham Category 1 security system incorporating the Sentry Key® theft deterrent system, a sophisticated engine immobilising system that prevents the vehicle being started with a forged key or by directly connecting the ignition wires.
All Jeep models are covered by the company’s warranty scheme, which provides a three-year/100,000 km warranty, and three-year roadside assistance.

Engine

6.1 V8 Hemi 8 Cylinders
Compression Ratio 10.3:1
Cylinders 8
Cubic capacity (cc) 6063
Bore x Stroke (mm) 103.0 x 90.9
Valves 16
Power bhp/rpm 313 KW @ 6000
Torque lb ft/rpm 569 Nm @ 4800

Fuel

Type Premium Unleaded Petrol 98 RON
Delivery Sequential electronic multi point injection returnless

Gearbox

Type Automatic
Gears 5
Gear ratios 1st 3.59
2nd 2.19
3rd 1.41
4th 1.00
5th 0.83
Rev. 3.16
Axle 3.55

Suspension

Front Short-/Long Arm (SLA) independent design with gas-charged twin-tube coil-over shock absorbers, upper and lower control arms and stabiliser bar
Rear Live axle, five-link with tubular track bar twin-tube coil-over shock absorbers and stabiliser bar

Steering

Rack and pinion, power assisted
Overall steering ratio (variable) 16.5:1
Overall steering ratio (full lock) 14.6:1
Lock to lock (turns) 2.85
Turning circle (kerb to kerb) (m) 11.3

4×4

System MD146 SRT, Single-speed Electronic On-Demand 4 x 4, electronically controlled clutch pack torque transfer
Ground Clearance rear axle (mm) 178
Approach/Departure/Breakover Angles 15.8° w front air dam installed/19.7°/9.7° min
Max Wading Depth 508mm @ 8kph
Low range ratio N/A

Brakes

Front Power assisted ventilated discs with ABS, EBD
Rear Power assisted solid discs with ABS, EBD
Electronic Stability Program ESP: Four-channel antilock with active wheel speed, vehicle speed, steering wheel angle, yaw rate, and lateral acceleration sensors, vehicle stability management, traction control, deactivation switch and EBD (4WD)

Tyres

Front/Rear 245/45 R20
Wheels
Front/Rear 20 x 8.0

Dimensions

Height min/max (mm) 1710
Length (mm) 4785
Width (mm) 1870
Wheelbase (mm) 2780
Track front/rear (mm) 1605
Overhang front/rear 855/1105
Weights & Capacities
Kerbweight (kg) 2270
Gross Vehicle Weight (kg) 2750
Max. Payload (kg) 480
Max Towing Weight braked (kg) 1587
Max Towing Weight unbraked (kg) 750
Max. Roof Load (kg) 68
Fuel Tank Capacity (Ltr) 77.7
Luggage Capacity (Seats Up) (Ltr) 978
Luggage Capacity (Seats Down) (Ltr) 1909

Performance

Max. Speed (kph) 245
Fuel consumption ADR8101 16.4
EU4 Compliant
C02 (g/kg) 388




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