SRT8 - we drive the baddest Jeep ever

By Staff Reporter Time of article published May 22, 2012

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Meet the baddest Jeep ever made. Hurtled along by 6.4-litres of Hemi V8, this sinister SUV brags about output numbers like 344kW and 624Nm and the ability to outrun many sports cars with zero to 100km/h dispatched in just five seconds (at the coast) and a top speed of 255km/h.

But bruise a tyre on your off-road excursion - of which the Jeep is most certainly capable - and things could end very badly.

However, it's not the only crazy SUV on the block and the Jeep at least offers substantial thump for your buck when compared to those of the BMW M and Mercedes AMG stable, the Grand Cherokee SRT8 retailing at R799 990.

To keep things as tidy as possible in the corners, the Jeep has an SRT-tuned adaptive damping suspension system with an electronic limited slip diff and stability control. Drivers can choose between five modes, including function for slippery conditions and for racetrack driving.

After throwing it around the bends of Kyalami racetrack, our launch correspondent Denis Droppa remarked that the big Jeep “proved surprisingly competent when bombarded through the bends.

“As long as you respect its sheer bulk this super-SUV is controllable and well-mannered, and has far less body roll than it has any right to.

“The brakes - usually the first to call time-out on a racetrack - also handle a lot of punishment, and the ABS-assisted high-performance Brembos are well up to the task.”

Of course, it growls too.

“Its growl alone would have been enough to scare the enemy off a WWII battlefield or, more pertinent to our times, it's sufficiently angry-sounding to make a minibus taxi driver think twice before cutting in front of you,” as Denis puts it.

Obviously you're not expecting much in the way of fuel economy when you take home a beast like this, but Jeep has at least tried to mitigate the fuel-guzzling drawback with a system that allows the engine to run on just four cylinders under calmer driving conditions.

Inside you'll find a racy cockpit complete with suede-leather bucket seats, various carbonfibre decorations and luxuries like adaptive cruise control, satnav, park assist, electrically-adjustable seats and an 825-watt Harman Kardon sound system.

The performance division has also unleashed its bad temper on the external styling, the SRT8 treated to a bold pair of bumpers and 20-inch alloys.

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