New York Auto Show

New Metal | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

In all the excitement surrounding the SRT Demon, we almost overlooked the fact that Jeep slipped out the most-powerful production SUV at the same time. It involves the Hemi Hellcat engine, so we should probably take a closer look.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

It must only be a matter of time before every product sold by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in the USA comes fitted with the 707hp 6.2-litre supercharged engine. This is now the third model to be endowed with the monster Hemi, following the Challenger and Charger Hellcat models. We would include the SRT Demon too, but Dodge wants us to regard that particular ludicrous motor as unique. It has a Demon face cast into the block – so ok, we will.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk was hardly Detroit’s best kept secret, but that doesn’t stop it still being a little exciting. With 707hp, and 645lb-ft of torque, this is the most powerful production SUV to exist. This easily surpasses the already quite mental Dodge Durango SRT released earlier this year. Forget the Lamborghini LM002, the Bentley Bentayga W12, or even the BMW X5 Le Mans – the Trackhawk beats them all. The only way to get more power in an SUV would be to turn to aftermarket tuners.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Instead this craziness comes direct from the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, and is responsible for the Trackhawk hitting 180mph, and doing 0-60mph in just 3.5 seconds. We repeat, 3.5 seconds. That’s quicker than a Ferrari F40, quicker than a Lexus LFA, and even quicker than the Challenger Hellcat! Yes, the Jeep actually springs to 60mph in less time than the Dodge, thanks to the advantage of a 4WD system. With launch control, and a standard Torque Reserve feature, the Trackhawk is capable of hurling itself forward with reassuring violence. Thankfully the eight-speed gearbox and drivetrain have been enhanced to cope with the gigantic forces at work to make this all possible.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Bilstein adaptive suspension is standard, and can be adjusted by choosing several drive modes on offer. Naturally there’s a sport mode, but there can’t be many SUVs that have the option of a ‘tow’ mode, along with a ‘track’ setting. The latter decreases gearshift times, stiffens the suspension, and sends 70% of the torque to the rear axle. Just in case you’re wondering, yes the Trackhawk can actually tow – up to almost 3,500kg. There is a ‘snow’ mode included as well, which is said to reduce horsepower to maximise traction on icy roads. There’s no word on whether the Trackhawk will off-road, but someone will undoubtedly test that at some point… (more…)

Engage Drag Mode | 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon | More details

It turns out we didn’t dream it, and Dodge really did release the most-powerful muscle car ever early this morning. Now that it’s actually sunk in, what does the SRT Demon actually deliver?

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Forgive us if our post this morning was a little short on detail. In our defence, it was almost 2am, and we had endured Dodge’s live streaming buildup to the big reveal of the SRT Demon. Dodge had a lot to deliver on here, having released teaser videos and trailers for weeks, culminating in the final unveiling last night. Vin Diesel was there. So was Wiz Khalifa. We’re not sure anybody really cared about them, other than Dodge promoting how big their muscle car brand is.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

No, the star attraction was the official announcement of a car that has seemingly already racked up a quite insane number of superlatives. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Most-powerful production muscle car
  • Highest horsepower production V8 ever – 840hp
  • World’s fastest 0-60mph time – 2.3 seconds
  • Highest g-force acceleration of a production car – 1.8g
  • First-ever car to lift the front wheels during an acceleration run – 2.92-feet (certified by Guinness World Records, seriously)
  • First production car to feature a front passenger seat delete – they’re not kidding
  • World’s fastest production car to run a standing quarter-mile – 9.65 seconds / 140mph

That last one is the kicker. The SRT Demon is, for all intents and purposes, a road-legal dragster. It can be driven to the strip, optimised with the included ‘Demon Crate’ of goodies, used to set crazy times, and then driven home. This goes far beyond even the Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcat models, in essentially creating what is a race car for the road. Dodge is also keen to point out that this isn’t just a modified version of the Hellcat, and that the Demon had undergone extensive modifications.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Although it may use the 6.2-litre supercharged V8 as found in the Hellcat models, the additional 133hp and 120lb-ft of torque (taking the total to 770lb-ft) come via a number of upgrades. The supercharger is bigger and runs more boost, whilst the V8 revs higher to a 6,500rpm limit. It also features two fuel pumps, and air intakes galore – with one in the bonnet, one in the wheel arch, and one in the headlight. The Hemi engine is setup to run on 101-octane fuel, which will in part be responsible for that headline 840hp figure. Perhaps our favourite feature is the ‘Power-Chiller’ system, which circulates refrigerant from the interior air-conditioning to cool the supercharger. It also continues to run once the car has been turned off to minimise heat soak from the colossal motor. This clearly is more than just a Hellcat with the wick turned up.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

An eight-speed paddle-shift automatic gearbox is standard, having already seen service in the Hellcat twins. However it gains a TransBrake feature, which holds the car in place for fast launches. According to Dodge, this delivers 15% more torque from a standing start. The Demon also features launch assist, which detects wheel hop and reduces torque accordingly, allowing the driver to keep the throttle pedal wide open. Oh, and there’s Torque Reserve – building boost from the supercharger to ensure maximum acceleration off the line. All of this is said to improve quarter-mile times by a tenth of a second – a small amount of time which matters in drag racing.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

So much torque, it’ll do wheelies coming off the line

Although where you might actually race your SRT Demon is another matter. The National Hot Rod Association certified the 9.65 second quarter-mile time, and then promptly banned the Demon from competition use for being too fast. It may sound like a Donald Trump-esque boast, but the SRT Demon is technically prevented from competing because it is too good. The NHRA requires any street-legal car built after 2008, and capable of doing a standing quarter in 10.00 seconds or less, to have a certified roll full cage. Something the Demon does not have, and would probably damage it’s street car usability by having.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

The Demon also doesn’t have any passengers seats as standard from the factory, with only the driver’s chair provided. Front and rear passengers seats can be added for just $1, depending on how serious you are about terrifying friends and family. Their removal is part of the 90kg diet that the Demon has been placed on with sound deadening, stereo speakers, and parking sensors ditched in the pursuit of lightness.

Even the anti-roll bars have been swapped to lighter hollow designs, as part of suspension changes designed – unsurprisingly – to help out at the drag strip. Suspensions settings are actually softer than the Hellcat, intended to maximise weight being shifted to the rear on acceleration. Our favourite part is the inclusion of a Drag Mode which sets the adaptive dampers, and other systems, for straight line runs. Once the run is over, the car returns to regular damper mode, whilst the traction control kicks back in having been disabled to allow giant burnouts.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

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New York Auto Show – Revised 2017 Nissan GT-R now available in orange

The Nissan GT-R has been around for almost nine years now, with several minor facelifts along the way. Other than a new ESM-pleasing colour, how many changes can you spot on the 2017 Model Year GT-R?

2017 Nissan GT-R

Existing as a rival for the Porsche 911 Turbo, there’s a chance Nissan’s engineers have adopted the German marque’s love of incremental styling changes. But, in GT-R terms at least, the new 2017MY car actually features some relatively dramatic alterations. The splitter certainly juts out more from the revised front bumper, the leading edge of the front wings appear more pronounced, a new bonnet has appeared, and there’s new corporate grille surrounding the GT-R badge. At the sides there are more prominent sills to cut through the air easier, feeding into a revised rear end that features new vents aside the quad exhaust tailpipes.

No, it’s hardly revolutionary, but as a pure facelift it was never going to make huge changes. Nissan claims the alterations have decreased aerodynamic drag, whilst maintaining downforce at the same level of the previous version GT-R, proving this isn’t purely just a styling exercise. The addition of the distinctive ‘Katsura Orange’ paint option is all about aesthetics, however, and is meant to reflect the new car’s sophisticated character. Possibly the only time we’ve seen tango paintwork and sophisticated in the same sentence. The US-market gets the slightly less subtle name of “Blaze Orange” for the satsuma hue.

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