Jeep Launches 152 Mph Grand Cherokee SRT8 For Just Ł40, 585
[June 10th, 2006 – WKJeeps.com] Chrysler Group’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) high performance division has fitted an enlarged version of the company’s legendary HEMI engine into the Grand Cherokee, creating the quickest, most powerful Jeep ever made.
Powered by a 6.1-litre HEMI V-8 producing 420 bhp and 420 lb ft of torque, the Grand Cherokee SRT-8 is 25 per cent more powerful than the standard Grand Cherokee and uses a unique four-wheel drive system to help it accelerate to 62 mph in just 5.0 seconds, achieving a top speed of 152 mph.
“When Jeep set out to create its quickest-ever model, it was with the race track rather than mud track in mind,” said Peter Lambert, Managing Director of Chrysler Group UK. “The SRT-8 is not intended to be off-road capable. Instead, with this injection of SRT DNA, the new Grand Cherokee SRT-8 establishes a fresh benchmark for high-performance SUVs. It has the raw power to out-perform a Porsche Cayenne Turbo at a fraction of the price.”
Although the heart of the Grand Cherokee SRT-8 is the enlarged 6.1-litre HEMI V-8 engine, the aim of the four-wheel drive system is to maximise the on-road traction available to the driver, while being robust and reliable enough to handle the upgraded HEMI engine’s massive amounts of power and torque.
The all-new unique transfer case is set up to deliver from five to 10 percent of torque to the front wheels, under normal driving conditions, with the remaining 90-to-95 percent being sent to the rear axle. When driving on slippery surfaces, the four-wheel drive system can automatically transfer up to 100 percent 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, all SRT vehicles feature a race-inspired interior and performance-oriented exterior features. These features include an all-new front fascia, to reduce lift and drag and providing sufficient airflow to meet the increased cooling demands of the larger HEMI engine, unique air intake ducts that help cool the front brakes, specially designed side sill extensions that help to increase down force, a new rear fascia incorporating two large diameter exhaust tail pipes and five-spoke 20-inch forged aluminium wheels.
To match the car’s performance characteristics, the Grand Cherokee SRT-8 offers enhanced ride and handling, and first-class braking with an ultra-high performance Brembo racing-style braking system. The SRT-8’s unique chassis set-up includes tuned Bilstein dampers, specially tailored spring rates and suspension bushings and larger-diameter anti-roll bars, together with 25 mm lower ride height and a re-tuned ESP system.
Peter Lambert added: “This sensational addition to the Jeep model range is priced at Ł40,585 on-the-road and is on sale to UK customers in right-hand drive from July 2006. If driving enthusiasts want to get their hands on the fastest Jeep ever they will have to be as quick as the car itself! Only a handful will be brought into the UK this year.”
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, housing components from two existing units, reinforced for their new role. Engineers opted to use the front half of a 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 percent of torque to the front wheels, with 90-to-95 percent 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 percent of torque to the front wheels, automatically as needed, when additional traction and stability is required.
Awesome HEMI V-8 Power
At the heart of the Grand Cherokee SRT-8 is an enlarged SRT 6.1-litre HEMI V-8 engine, which generates 420 bhp – 85 horsepower more than the 5.7-litre version – a massive 25 per cent power boost, with 420 lb.-ft. of torque compared to the smaller V-8’s 369 lb.-ft.
This normally aspirated 90-degree V-8 is the highest specific-output engine ever offered by the Chrysler Group – its 69.8 horsepower-per-litre rating exceeds even that of the legendary 1966 ‘Street HEMI’.
Although the Chrysler HEMI engine entered into legend in the 1960s and ‘70s, today’s version took much of its inspiration from the original 1950s version – 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 SRT-8’s engine achieved more horsepower 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 V-8 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 420 bhp is generated at 6,000 rpm, while maximum torque (420 lb.-ft.) 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 maximize 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 SRT-8’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 percent, 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 SRT-8 chassis has been fine-tuned to deliver outstanding SRT-style ride and handling across the broad dynamic range that enthusiastic Jeep owners are sure to exploit to the fullest extent. 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 SRT-8’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 re-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 SRT-8 is equipped with larger diameter, unique five-spoke 20-inch forged aluminium wheels shod with high-performance 245/45 ZR20 all-season tyres, with a run-flat capability.
The braking system of the all-new Grand Cherokee SRT-8 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. Stopping from 62 mph is accomplished in just 125 feet (38.1 metres).
Functional SRT Exterior Enhancements
Appropriate to its role as ‘the quickest-ever Jeep’ the Grand Cherokee SRT-8’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. In addition, specially designed side sill extensions help to increase downforce.
Unique Interior Features
The cabin of the new Grand Cherokee SRT-8 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 height-adjustable steering wheel ensures that every driver can find the ‘perfect’ seating position from which to fully exploit the SRT-8’s performance. All Grand Cherokee SRT-8 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 180 mph (290 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 SRT-8 cabin include a standard AM/FM stereo radio with six-disc CD changer, 280 Watts 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. Other standard features include a full screen satellite navigation system, while a rear seats entertainment DVD system is available as an option.
Choice of two colours…
Jeep customers in the UK will be offered a choice of two exterior colours for their Grand Cherokee SRT-8 – Brilliant Black Crystal Pearlcoat or Bright Silver Metallic Clearcoat – each with the interior finished in Medium Slate Grey leather.
Security and Warranty
Like other Jeep models, the new Grand Cherokee SRT-8 has remote control central locking and a Thatcham Category 1 security system incorporating the Sentry Key® theft deterrent system, plus 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/60,000 mile mechanical warranty, seven-year anti-corrosion warranty and 12 months European roadside assistance.