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Evidence mounts for Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Video shows RHD Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, but Jeep Oz no closer to confirmation

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Jeep logo26 May 2017

THE first right-hand-drive (RHD) Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk has been outed by YouTube channel Sinister Life, confirming the existence of an export-market version of the 527kW/874Nm headline-stealing large SUV revealed at this year’s New York motor show.

Although the vehicle filmed is identified as a pre-production vehicle still undergoing what is described as “vehicle reaction testing”, the existence of a RHD Trackhawk all but officially confirms its imminent Australian arrival.

Since the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk was first mooted nearly two years ago in August 2015, rumours have circulated that the US-built supercar-scaring crossover would be offered in the power-hungry Australian market.

Last year in June, FCA product planning specialist Callum Maynes told GoAuto “there’s certainly a demand for performance cars like that”.

“If it was to come out, we’d put our hand up for a right-hand-drive business case, for sure,” he said.

Similarly, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia president and CEO Steve Zanlunghi told journalists in February that the brand has “two hands up” for the flagship model.

Since then, Jeep officially ripped the covers off its flagship Trackhawk in April, confirming the production of a Grand Cherokee with the 6.2-litre supercharged V8 petrol engine transplanted from the Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcats.

According to reports from other Australian automotive publications, local Jeep dealers have been taking deposits for the new model, with the brand’s official website even featuring a dedicated Trackhawk link on its home page for users to register interest.

Naturally, Jeep Australia has not announced any pricing for the new model, but early reports from the US are indicating a circa-$US85,000 pricetag for the Trackhawk, an almost 30 per cent increase over their version of the naturally aspirated V8-powered SRT.

However, rumours are pointing that the local Trackhawk will carry a cost of around $150,000, a substantial $59,000 – or almost 65 per cent – price increase over the $91,000 before on-roads of its SRT sibling.

This would set up the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk to compete directly against European rivals in performance while also being cheaper in price, including the 320kW/900Nm Audi SQ7 ($153,616), BMW’s 423kW/750Nm X5 M ($152,000) and the 430kW/760Nm Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 ($219,950).

As mentioned, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is powered by a force-fed 6.2-litre V8 petrol engine, producing 527kW/874Nm.

With power fed to all four wheels via a heavily revised eight-speed automatic, the Trawkhawk will sprint from zero to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 290km/h.

Larger 400mm front discs with six-piston Brembo brakes are fitted from factory to pull up the two-tonne behemoth, while an electronic limited-slip differential (LSD) is fitted on the rear axle to maximise grip.

A launch control function is also included in US-spec Trackhawks, while standard equipment also includes 20-inch wheels, adaptive dampers, a gloss-black rear diffuser and chrome quad exhaust pipes.

If an Australian-spec Trackhawk was to emerge, expect to see it arrive in showrooms towards the end of the year in limited numbers of about 100-150 examples.

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