2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: First DriveS

Ok, so here's the thing. The new Grand Cherokee SRT8 kicks ass. It eats racetrack tarmac in Joey Chestnutt-sized bites, then spits chunks in your face while it's giving you the drill sergeant treatment for not trusting it to carry more speed in the corners than you did. You're as useful as a football bat, you maggot. It's that much of an improvement over the previous model.

At a curb weight of 5,150, we're talking 'saurus-sized forces acting on the Cherokee's running bits during changes in direction. And still, the thing can pull 0.9Gs on the skid pad. It takes a lot of hardware, software and sensors to keep everything rotating properly. The electronic rear diff vectors torque between the rear wheels, locking up fully when ESP notices you're braking under a sharp steering angle. That last bit will both make the assist for trail braking on track, and also keep panicky commuters out of the weeds.

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The Jeep shares massive Brembo brakes (15" x six piston front; 13.78" x four piston rear) with the other SRTs. Necessary, very necessary. They work. Enough said.

While disorientating to look down on creation from SUV level, the Cherokee in Track Mode is remarkably tossable. Perhaps not as precise as its heighty-weighty competitors from BMW and Porsche, but it's still a ton of fun. Make that 2.5 tons.

Click here to go back to the 2012 Hemigasm!