With the introduction of three premium SUVs – the Wrangler, the Grand Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee SRT – the Jeep brand has launched in India in some style. The Wrangler can literally go anywhere, no matter what sort of terrain is thrown at it – and it looks incredibly rugged. The Grand Cherokee is a luxury SUV that can run rings around its competition in the off-road stakes. The cream of the crop, though, is the Grand Cherokee SRT (Street & Racing Technology). Not only does it have the most powerful engine in its class, it’s as much at home on a racetrack as it is on the road or on a jungle trail – and this makes it a unique offering.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT goes up against some hefty German competition, namely the BMW X5M and the Mercedes-Benz GLE450 AMG Coupe. Externally, the SRT is totally hardcore in its looks, with its massive and distinctive grille, the cavernous air intakes on the front fender, a power bump on the bonnet and those enormous 20-inch polished aluminium alloy wheels (appropriately named ‘Goliath’), to name but a few.
In terms of its cabin, the SRT measures up well against the German competition. The flamboyance of its exterior is slightly tempered in the cabin, in order to give it the luxe feel that SUVs in this class must offer. The Laguna leather seats are beautifully crafted and offer excellent comfort and, more importantly, support – in an SUV this fast, that’s crucial. You also get a flat-bottomed steering wheel, an 8.4-inch infotainment screen, a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system and active noise cancellation.
Lurking under the SRT’s huge bonnet is a hunk of good old American muscle – a 6.4-litre Hemi V8 that spits out 470 bhp and 624 Nm of meaty torque, making it the biggest engine in its class in terms of displacement. Just to offer a comparison:
- The BMW X5M has a 4395cc engine with 575 bhp
- The Mercedes-Benz GLE450 AMG Coupe has a 2996cc engine with 367 bhp
As a driving experience, the SRT is what they call ‘fundamental’ – it stirs parts of your automotive receptors that others don’t. With its Launch Control function, all you need to do is press the button, step on the brake, straighten the steering wheel and floor the throttle. When you lift off the brake, the SRT accelerates furiously off the line, with maximum torque and minimum wheelspin.
HANDLING & PERFORMANCE
Dynamically, the Grand Cherokee SRT displays a startling ability around corners, for a vehicle of its size and weight. Around a racetrack, especially, it slices through apexes at the sort of velocity you would normally only attempt in a sports car.
The SRT also handles off-road conditions with consummate ease, despatching harsh terrain with the kind of ease that Jeeps are renowned for.
- Grand Cherokee SRT: All Wheel Drive with Limited Slip Differential
- BMW X5M: All Wheel Drive
- Mercedes-Benz GLE450 AMG Coupe: All Wheel Drive
In terms of safety, the Grand Cherokee SRT comes fully loaded, as a vehicle in this class should.
- Grand Cherokee SRT: 7 airbags, 3-point seatbelt in the middle rear row, Bi-Xenon headlamps
- BMW X5M: 6 airbags, 3-point seatbelt in the middle rear row, Xenon projector headlamps
- Mercedes-Benz GLE450 AMG Coupe: 8 airbags, LED headlamps
At Rs 1.12 crore (ex-Delhi), the Grand Cherokee SRT offers a compelling mix of brute power, aggressive styling, interior luxury, racetrack handling and off-road ability, which none of its competitors offers in one, complete package. You could play safe by going with the tried and tested, but if you really want to stand out and make a statement, the SRT currently has no peers in India – in its own class or, indeed, any other.