Jeep's first entry into the SRT8 club has a lot in common with fellow members--the orange and black paint covering a 6.1-liter Hemi V-8, the SRT racing bucket seats, and the massive exhaust tips poking out in back, for example--but the Grand Cherokee is a stand-out in many ways, despite a ten horsepower handicap (Dodge and Chrysler SRT8 products are rated at 425 hp, while the Jeep pushes out 415 ponies).
The quickest, most powerful Jeep ever made is the first SRT model to feature full-time all-wheel drive. And SRT engineers did not simply carry over the system directly from a stock Grand Cherokee. Instead, a great amount of effort went into creating a lighter, stronger system. A unique transfer case trims off 60 lbs., and a European Grand Cherokee Diesel driveshaft is employed to handle the increased torque. All that power is put to the ground through massive 20-inch rubber wrapped around aluminum wheels, with monstrous 285-series tires in the rear to keep this sled pointed down the road, rather than perpendicular to it. Also unique to Jeep is the 3500-lb towing capacity, allowing owners to not only beat most passenger vehicles in a stoplight duel, but tow a boat while doing it.
Pricing has not yet been announced, but look for the Porsche Cayenne beating Jeep to show up at dealers in Bright Silver, Brilliant Black, and Inferno Red at the end of this year tagged $6000 or so more than the $36,000 HEMI model.