A while back, FCA trademarked the “Trackhawk” name and it became clear that the new nameplate would belong to the high performance Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT.
Why Trackhawk? The name is meant to complement Jeep’s “Trailhawk” SUVs, which are tuned to better handle rough terrain. Of course, the SRT Grand Cherokee represents the best Jeep has to offer for paved roads, so the name fits. FCA wants to scrub off the SRT badge because Dodge maintains exclusive rights for SRT models, and Fiat-Chrysler isn’t about to give up its best-selling SRT-badged car.
Now we’re learning that the Trackhawk won’t just be a re-badged Grand Cherokee SRT, but will also inherit FCA’s most potent powertrain. It’s being reported that the 2017 GC Trackhawk — its first model year — will use the supercharged 6.2 liter V8 from the Charger and Challenger Hellcats to make 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. That monstrous engine could get the Trailhawk to 60 mph in less than 4.0 seconds.
If that’s too much power to handle, there will be “base” Trackhawk Grand Cherokees offered with the current SRT’s naturally aspirated 6.4 liter V8 that makes 475 hp.
There are a couple obstacles in the way of a Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee, unfortunately. While the SUV shares its platform with the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, which can absolutely handle loads of power, its driveline will struggle to manage the insane levels of torque from the Hellcat’s supercharged motor.
The competition is also getting more fierce. The new Range Rover Sport SVR makes 550 hp and gets to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. The 2016 BMW X5 M pumps out 567 hp and needs just 4.0 seconds to hit 60 mph. Finally, there’s the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, which develops 570 hp and speeds past 60 mph in 4.3 seconds.
Not only will the Trackhawk’s rivals be quick in a straight line, but each of them have been tuned for track duty. Having ‘track’ in its name won’t be enough for the Trackhawk to stop and turn the 707 hp beast without FCA upgrading its handling hardware.
Expect the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk to go on sale in mid-2016 starting at around $65,000