THE Jeep Grand Cherokee with the Hellcat engine is go – and it’s coming to Australia.
The top-secret program will see the mighty 6.2-litre supercharged V8 shoehorned into the Grand Cherokee body, making it one of the fastest and most powerful SUVs on the planet.
Expect the monster SUV to rattle off the 100km/h sprint in under 4.0sec. That’s faster than a Mercedes-AMG GLE63.
The 527kW/881Nm SUV will likely adopt the Trackhawk badge that will also grace a planned revision to the 6.4-litre V8-powered Grand Cherokee SRT.
A senior Jeep source in the US told Wheels the Hellcat engine program – until now reserved for the US-only Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger – has been approved, with one insider saying the program is “well advanced”.
The source also confirmed Australia is one of the countries crucial to the project sign-off.
As for when it gets here, Fiat Chrysler Australia is tight-lipped on the subject – refusing to confirm that the Hellcat project has even been approved.
“Australia is obviously a performance-focused market, and there’s also a lot of V8 heritage here,” said an FCA spokeswoman.
“The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT … is a terrific car for us … there’s obviously an appetite for performance SUVs in Australia.
“A vehicle like that would be a sensational addition to the Jeep line-up in Australia, and we’re sure our customers would agree.”
Fires of hell
Chrysler’s 527kW/881Nm Hellcat V8 is America’s most powerful full-line production engine ever, available until now only in the Charger sedan and Challenger coupe.
The engine is a unique 6.2-litre supercharged V8, which is based on the 6.4-litre naturally aspirated engine in SRT models but with 90 percent new components, including the IHI supercharger.
Despite the big numbers, it’s old school within, including the cast iron block mated to aluminium heads.
It’s available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed auto, the latter the most likely for the Grand Cherokee version.
Read our full story on performance utes in the April 2016 issue of Wheels.