First Look: 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee has been a long time coming for the Jeep brand, and by most accounts, the revamped Jeep flagship has proven to be a success. But the paint wasn't even dry on the new ute before enthusiasts started asking the follow up question: Where's the SRT8? Not surprisingly, the 2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8’s been in Chrysler’s Street and Race Technology team shop, getting its monster makeover done in advance of its 2011 New York auto show debut.

Not surprisingly, Chrysler's revamped 6.4-liter Hemi has been fitted under hood of the new super Jeep. Both the horsepower and torque figures bump up to 465, 45 more than before. Jeep is still rating the 0-60 time at 4.8 seconds, although there's a good chance that Chrysler may be sandbagging. We'll find out soon enough when we get our hands on one.

More power, however, doesn't equate to decreased fuel economy, thanks to Chrysler's Fuel Saver Technology and new-for-2012 active valve exhaust system, which deactivates four cylinders in most cruising situations. That should be good enough for a 13-percent improvement in highway fuel consumption, according to the automaker's estimations.

All talk of fuel efficiency goes out the door once the driver starts tinkering with Jeep's new Selec-Track system and selects Track mode -- that's where the real fun begins. Selec-Track transforms the Cherokee to a high-performance track machine by adjusting various parameters such as transmission shifts, the Electronic Limited Slip Differential, and the fully independent adaptive-damping suspension. The Sport setting is less aggressive than the full Track setting, while Auto mode is used for everyday driving. Selec-Track also offers two conservative settings that assist in taming the Hemi and ride control during snow or towing situations.

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