A Jeep that can pull 0.9g on the skidpad? You already know that. But a Jeep with paddle shifters? That's a new one. Meet the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. And yes, it does look like our two-year-old spy rendering.
The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 not only gets a new basis model — the latest Grand Cherokee with a Mercedes M-Class-derived independent rear suspension (and 146 percent improvement in torsional stiffness) — it also gets a 0.3-liter boost in Hemi displacement (to the current 6.4 liters) and power bump from 420 hp to 456 hp (and 465 lb-ft). That, Jeep says, means 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds and the quarter-mile in mid-13s. Braking from 60-0 happens in 116 feet via Brembo six-pistons in front, four-pistons in the rear and vented rotors all around — 15" in the front, 13.8 in the rear.
A big deal in the latest SRT8 is a new adaptive-damping system, managed by Jeep's new Selec-Track system, which also manages stability control, transmission shift mapping, transfer-case torque proportioning, performance of the electronic limited-slip differential, throttle control and cylinder deactivation.
Top that off with an active valve exhaust system allows standard Fuel Saver Technology to engage over a wider rpm range for an estimated 13% improvement in highway fuel efficiency and a 450-mile range. Mmm, big tank...
But it's those standard steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters that Jeep claims will allow for "spirited shifting on the road and track." Yes, sure, but couldn't we just have a manual?
And as always, owners of any Chrysler Group SRT vehicle receive one day of professional driving instruction from the Richard Petty Racing School as part of the SRT Track Experience, designed to maximize their driving knowledge and skills on the street or track. Sessions are held throughout the year at selected tracks
The new SRT8-ified Jeep Grand Cherokee is available in Jeep showrooms in the third quarter of this year.
Oh, and it can tow 5,000 pounds. So, yeah.