Edmunds First-Drive - Hennessey Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT530

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, May 21, 2008.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Startling Sound, True Speed and Not Trail-Rated

    [​IMG]
    It looks like the box other Hennessey tuner vehicles come in, but the SRT530 will shoot itself to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds without the help of turbochargers or nitrous.

    By Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief
    Date posted: 05-19-2008

    530 horsepower - Zero to 60 in 4.6 seconds - 12.9-second quarter-mile

    The guy in the Prius is actually afraid. It's in his eyes. Fear. Pure fear. No, wait, that's not fear. It's disgust. Pure disgust.

    Perfect.

    We're driving Hennessey Performance Engineering's SRT530 version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. Compared to the company's ludicrous 1,000-horsepower, twin-turbocharged version of the Ford GT we drove in April, this 530-horsepower Jeep is like getting a back rub, but to the optimist in the glorified golf cart it's the end of the freakin' world.

    Must be the satanic rumble coming from our truck's two Howitzer-size exhaust pipes. This puppy isn't stock, and Al Gore in the next lane ain't happy about it. Apparently, an all-wheel-drive SUV with a 500-plus-horsepower 6.1-liter V8 and 20-inch wheels and tires doesn't fit into our friend's version of the world. It's too loud. Too fast. Too thirsty. Oh, and too much fun.

    Don't worry, buddy. The light will turn green any second now and it will all be over. We'll leave you and your NPR podcast in the dust.

    Classic Hot-Rodding

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    While Hennessey did much to increase the SRT530's straight-line acceleration, nothing was done to improve braking. And like an unmodified SRT8, the Hennessey dives like an attack sub under braking.

    This truck's creator, John Hennessey, has spent his career pissing off the Greenies. He swells Viper V10s so big they swallow up the atmosphere in country-size gulps. Then, when that isn't enough, he adds turbochargers, with turbines so enormous they ought to be hanging under the wings of 747s. He's king of the Silver State Classic and lord high chancellor of the Texas Mile. No matter how stupidly fast a car is from its original factory, Hennessey is sure he can make it faster. He even has an active tuning program for the Bugatti Veyron.

    With its 420-hp 6.1-liter Hemi engine, the Grand Cherokee SRT8 already qualifies as the most ridiculously overpowered production Jeep ever. It's also clearly the quickest, slashing to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds and thumping through the quarter-mile in 13.49 seconds at 102.24 mph. For a vehicle that weighs in at 4,788 pounds and has the aerodynamics of an adobe hacienda, that's blazing.

    Still, Hennessey knew the Jeep could go faster. Much faster.

    Get Wrenching

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    As capable as the SRT530 is at turning, understeer is still the truck's dominant handling characteristic.

    To find speed, Hennessey ports the cylinder heads and punches the Hemi's compression ratio up from 10.3:1 to 10.6:1. On the intake side a cold-air induction system keeps it fed with chilly oxygen. Meanwhile, exhaust is handled by stainless-steel long-tube headers, stainless-steel midpipes feeding high-flow catalytic converters and, finally, 3-inch stainless-steel pipes capped by 4-inch polished tips.

    More suck. More squish. More bang. And more blow. It's a formula that has made horsepower for more than 100 years. But today you've got to bust out the laptop to make it all work, so Hennessey also cracks open the Jeep's engine management computer and reprograms it.

    All those tweaks, twangs and tickles are enough, says Hennessey, to knock engine output at the crank up to 530 hp at 6,000 rpm and 530 pound-feet of peak torque at 4,200 rpm. That torque claim is particularly impressive, since the stock SRT8 produces its 420 lb-ft peak while the engine is spinning 600 rpm faster.

    Well Enough Alone

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    While the Corsa exhaust tips are beautifully finished, it's the sound they emit that matters with the SRT530.

    What Hennessey doesn't touch is the Jeep's five-speed automatic transmission or its all-wheel-drive differential. And the test vehicle wears the stock brakes and stock 20-inch wheels and P255/45ZR20 front and P285/40ZR20 rear Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires.

    Throw in such aggrandizing plucks as exterior badges and floor mats with the "SRT530" logo, a "limited edition" dash plaque, a "limited edition" engine plaque and a pair of "Powered by Hennessey" red valve covers, and that's what constitutes the SRT530.

    For all this, Hennessey charges $15,900, including installation and a road test of at least 100 miles. That's a lot for a 110-hp hype up in power, but modest by the standards of what Hennessey charges on other vehicles. Of course you have to supply your own Grand Cherokee SRT8.

    Classic Thrust

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    Hennessey's red valve covers and beautiful cold-air intake system give the SRT530 some distinction when the hood is up. But it's easier to drive with the hood down. A beautiful set of headers is hidden down there.

    Still, it looks like a stock Grand Cherokee SRT8. For many buyers that stealth factor is peachy keen. Ours would wear some aftermarket wheels for distinction and some grippier rubber.

    That said, this brick is a rocket. Getting from a dead stop to 60 mph takes only 4.6 seconds (4.3 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) and the quarter-mile vanishes in 12.9 seconds at 106.7 mph. Even though it weighs 4,722 pounds, it launches as if shot from a gun: a 16-inch gun on the deck of an Iowa-class battleship.

    It doesn't take much technique to get that performance, either. It's really a matter of turning off the traction control and then letting the all-wheel-drive system do the rest as the transmission upshifts with brutal efficiency. Is a 6/10ths improvement in 0-60 performance and almost 6/10ths off the quarter-mile time worth $15,900? That's a question that's strictly between you and your Visa card.

    The power itself is exceptionally friendly with the throttle still being sweetly progressive, and there's never a hiccup in how it's delivered. Aside from the thrust, the most evident change with the SRT530 is the incredible sound. This thing isn't slightly louder or has a slightly modified exhaust note: It sounds like what NASCAR stock cars want to sound like when they grow up. Before you buy, be sure your employer's benefits package includes hearing care.

    Classic SUV

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    The SRT530 is a big box with really big exhaust tips! That's just about perfect for some people.

    Otherwise Hennessey's SRT530 drives very much like a regular SRT8. Under braking it still nose-dives like Greg Louganis (60-0 in a so-so 124 feet); on the skid pad the tires yelp and wail like the audience at a Miley Cyrus concert, and the understeering adhesion is modest (0.84g); and the slalom run is good for its size and weight (63.6 mph). None of this should be surprising considering that Hennessey didn't touch the chassis, and there's nothing exotic about double wishbones up front and a solid axle on coil springs in back.

    Equally not surprising is this tank's fuel economy. In stock form, the Grand Cherokee SRT8 is rated by the EPA at a miserable 11 mpg in the city and totally cruddy 14 mpg on the highway. We wouldn't be shocked if normal commuting would have this monster delivering single-digit fuel economy.

    For those hard-core fanatics out there willing to pay any price for performance, Hennessey also offers a turbocharger system for the Grand Cherokee SRT8 that thumps out a claimed 620 hp and turns the vehicle into an SRT600.

    After all, if you're going to spit in the eye of society you may as well shoot a big honking loogie.

    Don't worry, Mr. Prius. Phlegm is biodegradable.

    [​IMG]

    What Works: Sounds like a NASCAR stock car. Looks like a sleeper. Goes like stink.

    What Needs Work: Louder than a NASCAR stock car. Looks too stock. Fuel economy stinks.

    Bottom Line: Bold, loud and proud to be everything a hybrid isn't.


    [​IMG]

    http://www.hennesseyperformance.com/
     
  2. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

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    FOURTEEN MPG HIGHWAY
    :bowrofl:
    FOURTEEN
     
  3. 396Hawk

    396Hawk Active Member

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    Say hello to 7mpg!
     
  4. NEp8ntballer

    NEp8ntballer New Member

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    ibpeopleneverseetheirSRT8severagain
     
  5. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

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    :rofl:
     
  6. twistid

    twistid Banged By Super Models Moderator

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    stock srt-8 jeeps get 11/14 mpg... or so the window sticker says.
     
  7. dr.zed

    dr.zed DR.ZED OT Supporter

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    Doesn't an SRT8 with torque converter and flash do a mid 12 1320?

    Maybe Hennessey's parts don't work as well together as they ought?
     
  8. Smelly-Kitten

    Smelly-Kitten Dept. of Redundancy Department *Side Pipes

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    12.9? Didn't a guy w/ intake and full exhaust run a 12.9 with the regular SRT8 Jeep?
     
  9. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

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    i know that's stock
     
  10. twistid

    twistid Banged By Super Models Moderator

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    just making sure.:o
     
  11. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Yes
     
  12. Mangina

    Mangina New Member

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    I've seen some stock SRT-8s do better than 4.6 0-60. What the shit.
     
  13. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Edmunds can't drive or Hennessey is ripping people off.

    Probably both. :bowdown:
     
  14. DustinWS6

    DustinWS6 New Member

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    I wouldn't be surprised
     
  15. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Man, oh man.
     
  16. Mjolnir

    Mjolnir WHM6D > *

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    Jeep SRT-8's are going to be worth money some day the same way early 70's SD455's are.

    The party's over, but some manufacturer gets the message too late.
     
  17. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

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    elaborate
     
  18. you know me

    you know me OT where the douchbags play

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    so....chances that i'll go to pick it up and it won't have a hood or wheels?
     
  19. Toxicity

    Toxicity New Member

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    16 grand for questionable improvements? Hennessey's rep to go with that? Horrible gas milage, and not-so-great quality?

    There is no market for this car, unfortunately.. Base retail on msn is listed at $41,145, plus 16 grand (!) is roughly 60 grand.. There are a lot of trucks out there for 60 grand that offer better value for the money
     
  20. Mjolnir

    Mjolnir WHM6D > *

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    The early 70's Pontiac Firebirds with the Super Duty 455 weren't well received when they came out. They were throwbacks to the good old days of 1969/1970- huge motor, ridiculous styling, single digit economy, straight up balls out muscle car.

    Much like this the SRT-8, it was a big vehicle with a big motor at a time when fuel costs looked unreal. The guy buying a SD 455 in '73/74 and then watching gas prices rocket in 74 is conceptually similar to the guy buying an SRT-8 in 2007 and watching gas prices double in the next 12 months.

    4-speed carbed muscle cars as daily drivers died in the mid 70's, and they'll never be resurrected. It took the domestics close to a decade to start building fast shit again, and we're in the same sort of paradigm right now. Big cube SUV's are dying, and they won't be resurrected. People will always want to move 5 people and their luggage at high rates of speed, but it probably won't be done with Grand Cherokee's in 30 years.

    We still have muscle, but the Firebirds were the last of the large cube V8's that simply dumped gas through a hole in the intake and set it on fire. After they died the next time we saw serious performance it wasfuel injected 5.0's and TPI 350's with catalytic convertors and over drive trannies. Now we're looking at direct injection V6s and turbo fours that make as much gross power as the SD 455 did.

    I don't know what will be considered muscle in 2038, but I'm pretty sure the market for multi-point injected 6-plus liter V8 AWD 2.5 ton SUV's with a 5-speed automatic will be pretty slim.

    30 years down the road SD 455's are arguably the last of an era, and collectors prize them for that. Pontiac killed the 455 after '76, and after '74 it wasn't near as potent, so the '73-'74 SD's are pretty special. They came out at a time when everybody else was trying to downsize and build more efficient cars. People look at them and go WTF was Pontiac thinking?

    In 30 years, people are going to look at these Jeeps the same way and pay similar prices for them.
     
  21. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

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    That, my friend, was a post in novel-esque form.
     
  22. Mjolnir

    Mjolnir WHM6D > *

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    It's who I am.

    Conciseness is not my defining characteristic.
     
  23. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    There was a twinge of irony in saying that so concisely. ;)

    I know what you mean, though. I like writing books.
     
  24. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

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    it was a complement, I assure you.
     
  25. Lucifer

    Lucifer New Member

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    $16,000 for some $1,200 Kook headers, $700 Corsa cat back, $200 CAI, and maybe $400 in head work?

    Hennessey never fails to amaze me. Wonder how many Jeep owners are missing hoods.
     

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