Following the debut of the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, it didn't take long before the questions and the rumors started flying: Will Jeep bring back the Cherokee SRT8? Chrysler's Street and Race Technology team remained quiet through all the speculation and waited until the 2011 New York auto show to deliver its answer in the form of its latest uber-Jeep, the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.
When we tested the first-gen Cherokee SRT8 around California's Willow Springs Raceway back in 2006, we quickly discovered that its 6.1-liter V8 Hemi -- rated at 420 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque - helped make it one of the fastest and most agile sport/utilities we had ever tested, outperforming the Porsche Cayenne Turbo in the skidpad, slalom, and 0-t- 60-mph time (4.8 to 5.1 seconds, respectively).
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.