Johannesburg – The world’s most powerful SUV is now on sale in South Africa, and it doesn’t have the exotic Italian badge that you might expect.
This sledgehammer of a sport utility is none other than Jeep’s Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, and it’s even more powerful (and quicker-accelerating according to claims) than the Lamborghini Urus, the American monster pushing 522kW and accelerating from 0-100km/h in 3.5 seconds, versus the Lambo’s 478kW and 3.6 second quote.
Although by no means cheap, the Trackhawk is a somewhat more attainable proposition with its list price of R2 199 000, although dynamically it’s not going to be in the same league as the R3.5m Lambo.
At the heart of the Trackhawk is the same 6.2-litre supercharged V8 that powers the Dodge Challenger Hellcat and other head-turning stats include a torque output of 875Nm, claimed quarter mile time of 11.6 seconds and a 290km/h top speed.
The engine features numerous high-strength components, including a forged-steel crankshaft designed to withstand the equivalent of five family-sized sedans standing on each forged-alloy piston, as well as specially-treated alloy cylinder heads and sodium-cooled exhaust valves.
The 2380cc-per-revolution supercharger can operate at a maximum boost of 11.6 psi.
Power goes to all four wheels through an upgraded eight-speed automatic gearbox and Quadra-Trac on-demand four-wheel-drive system, featuring an electronic limited-slip diff and single-speed ‘active’ transfer case, meaning it can go fast off the beaten track too.
To cope with all that urge, Jeep has also strengthened the driveshafts and beefed up the chassis, which includes a Bilstein adaptive damping system.
The suspension, along with the 4WD system, transmission and steering, can be configured through five modes: Auto, Sport, Track, Snow and Tow. The driver can also create a more personalised set-up through the Custom mode.
And no, Jeep didn’t forget the brakes, the Trackhawk sporting a high-performance Brembo system with six-piston calipers and 400mm vented discs up front and four-piston calipers, along with 350mm vented discs at the back.
The Trackhawk rolls on 20-inch rims and gets its own unique styling kit, although it’s not overly shouty.
Inside you’ll find Trackhawk-embroidered Nappa leather seats, with subtle sporty touches coming in the form of Light Black Chrome and carbon fibre inlays.
Your command centre is a 21cm Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system, featuring ‘Performance Pages’ with performance timers and a dynamometer screen, as well as the obligatory Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
The Trackhawk is also fitted with a 19-speaker, 825-watt Harman Kardon premium audio system and dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system with Blu-ray.
Safety kit includes Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop, Blind-spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Path Detection, Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Warning with Crash Mitigation.