Jeep's marketing has always centered around off-road abilities. Higher performance for a Jeep has always meant ability to climb a steeper grade or tackle a rougher trail. Now these prototypes, caught during summer testing, indicate a new type of high-performance - performance on the road rather than on the trail.
Jeep engineers were spied recently with two similarly equipped high-performance Grand Cherokees. Some disguise covers the front end, but one can still clearly see the huge lower bumper air intake scoop that is much larger than the standard intake. This indicates the need for additional engine cooling as used on high-performance engines, typically those that are turbo or supercharged. Considering that the standard Grand Cherokee already can be equipped with a HEMI V-8 engine, this even more powerful model must indeed pack in the horsepower.
The prototype vehicles are equipped with large diameter six-spoke alloy wheels shod with very low-profile high-performance tires - tires meant for use on the street and not off-road. It is also interesting to note that the big dual exhaust pipes are located in the center of the rear bumper - taking up the slot normally used for a trailer hitch. No trailer towing for these street racers!
But what will Jeep call this high-performance, street model? They have no history of such Jeeps. Perhaps they will borrow a designation from Dodge and call it the R/T, or maybe one from Chrysler and call it the SRT. Whatever it is called, you can be sure it will be one fast Jeep.