An impressive 90 percent of the 465 lb-ft of torque is available between 2800 to 6000 rpm, making it an ideal freeway cruiser, with passing power always on tap. That endless power comes from an SRT-tuned 6.4L with Fuel Saver Technology, though you'll feel all those ponies in another area, primarily your wallet. Our week-long tester returned 11.2 mpg. Poor mileage doesn't bother you once all 470 hp transfer to the Pirelli run-flat–equipped 20-inch forged SRT-specific wheels. Via a torque vectoring, electronic limited-slip differential, it keeps the power planted in all conditions. From a dead stop, most "performance" cars and especially SUVs will only see the LED taillights, and at the drag strip, the Jeep hits the lights in 13.3 seconds at 103 mph. Velocity like that requires an equally impressive braking system, and with six-piston Brembo calipers clamping 15-inch rotors up front, and matching four-piston pods units out back, the SRT8 comes to a halt from 60 mph in a neck-snapping 106 feet.
Styling cues are aggressive, yet not over-the-top boy racer. LED daytime driving lights provide high-end European flair, which is only amplified by the HID lamps, dual-scoop heat extractor hood, and large dual exhaust. Safety was also a top priority with the SRT8, which includes blind spot monitoring, ready alert braking, and optional adaptive speed control.
Driving the SRT8 induces a virtual split personality as your normal, everyday-self takes a backseat to your fun side that your ex-girlfriend was always bringing up during fights. Speed unlike anything else made by an American SUV manufacturer, handling bewildering the mind, and grip that is addictive, the SRT8 was described in the logbook by one editor as, "A wolf in wolf's clothing." The SRT8 takes Hemi power, mixes in smart AWD, and forces its competitors to keep up. Eating dust isn't fun, just ask all the other sports car drivers we left in our wake.
"Behind the wheel of the SRT8, visions of a high-end sports car come to mind, not a 5,223-pound SUV.
" –Editor Dan Ward
2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8
Year Make Model: 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
Base Price: $60,960
As-Tested Price: $63,975
Type: 6.4L OHV V-8
Compression Ratio: 10.9:1
Horsepower: 470 @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 465 @ 4300 rpm
Recommended Fuel: Premium Unleaded
Layout: Front engine, AWD
Transmission: Five-speed Auto W5A580
Brakes: 15-inch front/ 13.8 rear disc
Wheels: 20x10-inch forged
Tires: 295/45R20 Pirelli run-flat
Tow Capacity: 5,000 lbs
0-60: 4.6 seconds
¼-mile: 13.2 @ 103 mph
60-0: 106 feet
Observed Gas Mileage: 11.2