When rumors started circulating that Jeep would be stuffing the 707hp Hellcat motor into the Grand Cherokee, it sounded too good to be true. That much horsepower going into an all wheel drive SUV seems unnecessary, which is one of the many things that make it so appealing to hardcore moto enthusiasts. It gives me great pleasure to report that Jeep has now revealed the high-performance SUV and they’re calling it the Trackhawk.

There were quite a few unknowns regarding the long-rumored Jeep, such as would it have the full 707hp. When Dodge debuted the AWD Challenger, they reported they had to use the V6 because they couldn’t get the AWD to work with a more powerful V8. So would that mean we could be looking at the first rear wheel drive only Jeep, or will it still maintain the signature AWD that Jeeps are known for? If there ever was a prime example of a best case scenario, it would be this. Not only is the Jeep getting the full 707hp coming from the supercharged Hemi, but it will also maintain the fully functional all-wheel drive system. And apparently, it will have multiple driving modes too that will distribute all that power precisely where it needs to go depending on the terrain.

Photo: autoevolution

Those two things should come together to provide stellar performance that will be impossible for most SUV’s to compete with. These are the bold claims that are coming along with the details on this powerful beast. As far as the numbers go, the Trackhawk will have a total power output of 707hp as I mentioned above, but it’ll also have 645lb-ft of torque on hand. That should equate to an estimated 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds. And the top speed is 180mph, which is limited by the aerodynamics or it could be even higher.

Obviously, the Trackhawk is no slouch, but will it be the quickest and most powerful SUV on the market. In short, no. The Tesla Model X has a 0-60 time of just 3.1 seconds and the Bentley Bentayga has a top speed of 187mph. So right out of the gate, Jeep is making claims they simply can’t back up. But that’s not to take away anything from the Trackhawk. It will still be the most powerful Jeep Grand Cherokee ever made, as well as the fastest Jeep ever made. And we think that is pretty cool.

Photo: autoevolution

I wanted to touch a bit more on the AWD system and the driving modes that will come standard on the Trackhawk. All wheel drive obviously makes a huge difference regarding the acceleration of the SUV. With the 3.5 second 0-60 time, the Trackhawk is quicker than the Challenger Hellcat that is rated at 3.9 seconds. And that’s impressive considering the Challenger weighs about 1,000lbs less than the performance SUV. In order to handle all that power, the drivetrain had to be beefed up so it didn’t snap like a twig the first time you put your foot to the floor.

A consumer that buys the Trackhawk will probably never take it offroad, but Jeep still wanted to make sure that it could handle different terrains and driving styles. And unlike previous SRT8 Grand Cherokee’s, the Trackhawk will have the ability to tow up to 7,200lbs. It does this thanks to a highly sophisticated all-wheel drive system and driving modes. By the push of a button, you can completely change the Trackhawk’s power distribution. The default setting is a 40/60 front rear split. If you’re pulling a trailer you would put it in tow mode which will reverse that and make it a 60/40 split. If you want to have a little fun while out on a canyon cruise you can put it in sport mode which is 35/65 to give you that little bit of extra power sent to the rear wheels. If you really want to push it to the limits, you have the option of putting it in track mode which sends 70% of the power to the rear wheels and leaves 30% to the front to help pull you through a corner. And to make sure the Trackhawk doesn’t stay cooped up in a garage all winter long, there’s even a snow mode that changes it to a perfect 50/50 power distribution to provide optimum traction. You have to admit, that’s pretty awesome. At the touch of a button, you can completely transform this high-performance SUV into exactly what you want it to be.

Photo: autoevolution

With all that power and speed potential, Jeep had to use a burly brake system in order to bring the old girl to stop after you just wiped the floor with an unsuspecting Mustang. So Jeep engineers opted to go with massive 15.75-inch Brembos with 6 piston calipers up front. And 13.73-inch Brembos in the back that uses 4 piston calipers which combined provide ample stopping power.

Interestingly, aside from the long list of performance upgrades there really isn’t much on the cosmetic side that scream Trackhawk. Yeah, there’s a few badges here and there that say “Trackhawk” and “supercharged.” But not much on the design aspect. Where the older SRT8 models stuck out like a sore thumb and anyone would be able to distinguish the high-performance version from the regular stock trim, it would take a knowledgeable enthusiast to notice the subtle changes like the quad exhaust tips and massive brakes that separate the Trackhawk from the standard trim.

Even just looking at what we know right now, the Trackhawk sounds like it’ll be one hell of an SUV. And that’s exactly how Jeep should’ve advertised it rather than making these ridiculous claims about being the fastest and most powerful. But that’s beside the point. More details are scheduled to come this weekend at the official debut at the New York Auto show. Although you might want to start preparing yourself mentally because spending an estimated $80,000 on a Jeep might be difficult.


Photo: autoevolution

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