You might be wondering why the Trackhawk isn't already a thing. Hellcat engines exist, SRT Grand Cherokees exist, so just combine the two, right? It's not quite that easy. Here, we outline what needs to happen, why it should be the quickest Hellcat vehicle out there, and why it won't come anywhere near 200 miles per hour.
How To Build A Hellcat Jeep
The first engineering problem is feeding the air-intensive beast that is the 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8. Breathing is important on two counts: pulling in enough air for the combustion to put out 707 hp, and then cooling the various heat exchangers once the engine is up to temperature. Dodge did it with the Charger and Challenger, it can do it with the Jeep. This is one place where the Grand Cherokee's larger frontal area might be a boon, as it gives the engineers more surfaces through which to suck air.
The first engineering problem is feeding the air-intensive beast that is the 6.2-liter supercharged V8.
Once you generate the 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, it has to get to the wheels somehow. Jeep's current SRT all-wheel-drive system will at least need some beefing up to handle the torque. It could require a more complete re-engineering. We at least know the ZF-supplied eight-speed auto, used in the Dodge Hellcat models, is up to the task.
The Hellcat engine should fit in the Grand Cherokee, as it's about the same size as the 6.4-liter currently in SRT Jeeps, but the Hellcat is taller because of its supercharger. The hood may need to be raised or at least resculpted for clearance, as well as to address those cooling needs.
Quicker Than Everything, But Not Faster
A reminder of the quick/fast distinction: quick is acceleration, fast is road speed. The Jeep's all-wheel drive will help put the Hellcat engine's power to the ground in a more manageable way than the Charger and Challenger do through just the rear wheels. That means better acceleration times than the Dodges (11.0 seconds in the quarter-mile for the Charger Hellcat, 11.2 for its Challenger sibling). Launch control, which is almost a given for the super Jeep, will make a bigger difference with four tires working as well. Something in the mid-to-high 10s in the quarter and around a 3.0-second 0–60 time, as Motor Authority suggests, isn't out of the realm of possibility for the Trackhawk.
200 mph? We're skeptical, from both a physics standpoint and a legal one.
Motor Authority claims the Jeep will hit something close to 200 mph, but we're skeptical, from both a physics standpoint and a legal one. The quickest of the Hellcat cars is the Charger sedan, despite its marginally higher weight, since it is more aerodynamic than the Challenger coupe. The Jeep's additional heft and, shall we say, sub-optimal aerodynamics mean it won't hit as high of a top speed as either of those Hellcat Dodges. Given the current SRT Jeep's top speed of 160 mph and the non-Hellcat SRT 392 Charger's 175-mph top speed, we'll guess something around 185 mph is possible in the Trackhawk. That's still flipping fast. It might also be a bit too quick for the lawyers to sign off on for such a large vehicle, so an electronic limiter isn't out of the question.
Why We're Still Hopeful
None of the hurdles are insurmountable. If FCA wants this nutso Jeep to happen, it's just a matter of money. Historically, at least pre-Hellcat, the SRT Jeep has been the most popular of the SRT models, so the sales would probably be there. Even if they're not, bragging rights are worth something – beating every Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, Range Rover Sport SVR, and Lamborghini Urus would make a lot of people proud to be American.