EngageSportMode can sometimes seem a bit paradoxical when it comes to feelings about performance SUVs. On one hand, we’re not a fan of coupe-crossover creations, but on the other we’re strangely drawn to go-fast versions of traditional off-roaders. A new quick Jeep only furthers our contrary nature.
It’s safe to say this new Jeep falls very much into the latter “old-school” SUV camp, compared to things like the BMW X6 M or Mercedes-Benz GLE 63 AMG. However, don’t be fooled by the upright stylings of the SRT Grand Cherokee, as it packs a serious punch under that deeply vented bonnet.
In true SRT fashion, there’s a huge 6.4 litre V8 engine lurking underneath, producing a substantial 461 bhp, and about the same again for torque in lb-ft. Fitted to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with paddle shift, the big SRT will hit 0-62 mph in less than 5 seconds and run all the way to 160 mph. A handy number to best those German machines limited to only 155 mph. Substantial Brembo brakes and adaptive suspension dampening try to keep 2.3 tonnes of Jeep under control.
There’s a fairly obvious bodykit on the outside as part of the ‘Red Vapor’ package, which also includes those 20″ ‘Goliath’ alloy wheels in black chrome. Gloss black detailing makes an appearance on the grille inserts, exterior badging and rear diffuser to add some contrast to the outside. However, don’t be fooled by the name into thinking you can only have red for the paintwork; Brilliant Black and Brilliant White are also available in addition to the Redline colour scheme. Although that kind of defeats the point a little.
Inside there are leather sports seats with red suede inserts, chrome pedals and grey chrome trim. Star of the show is the 825-watt Harmon-Kardon sound system, packing 19 speakers and 3 (yes, three) subwoofers, linked to the 8.4″ UConnect touchscreen media system.
At £64,995 the SRT Red Vapor might seem pricey for a Jeep, but it substantially undercuts rivals like the BMW X5 M and Mercedes ML 63 AMG. If you’re really keen for a rather hefty slab of American pie, sales start this week. We’re not afraid to say it’s made its way onto the ESM ‘guilty pleasures’ list already.