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Letter from Europe; Overpriced and Overpowered Jeep and Jaguar, Happy Rogue, Happy F-Pace


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Andrew Frankl
European Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel

As of this month subject to permits from local authorities motor racing is allowed on the roads of Great Britain. Some enthusiasts are jumping up and down at the thought of Grand Prix cars thundering down The Mall and on to Buckingham Palace before reaching Hyde Park corner and causing monumental traffic jams in the heart of London for a week. You have to build temporary grandstands, remove traffic lights and various other roads signs, put up barriers to prevent cars from flying into Her Majesty’s garden and so on. It would make a lot more sense to have the race in Birmingham, the industrial heart of Britain. Not too far from where my test car-Jaguar’s XE AW was built.


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Last month I loved the F-Pace. This month I would have liked to rave about the XE. Alas, I can’t. With 340 horsepower from a supercharged  V6 engine it is actually too much power for a small car. It is trying to take on BMW’s legendary benchmark the 3 series but I am afraid it is not succeeding.


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Firstly the cabin is cramped. Very cramped. Secondly the instrument panel  and all the various bits and bobs surrounding it need an engineer or at least a very talented technician to explain it. To anyone who grew up in the pre mobile  phone  age just to get FM from Sirius is a major task. On the plus side the rear camera is probably the finest I’ve ever come across.

On the road the handling is of course first class –a hallmark of Jaguar. The tire noise is another matter.

On anything other than billiard table smooth  roads (try and find one in California) the Pirelli P7s made listening to music an impossible task. As for the price, I am afraid it is a totally unacceptable 61 thousand dollars. Yes, certain things  could be what I call delete options such as 550 dollars for the pretty uninspiring “Bluefire” metallic paint or 990 dollars for a head-up display but even then you are looking at well over 55 thousand dollars.


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If I were to get an XE which I am obviously not going to do, a smaller engine would make a great deal of sense.

Diesel might be a dirty word these days but Jaguar’s diesel is truly excellent. Try one and make sure you specify proper tires such as Michelin's.

Incidentally the official fuel consumption is 23 mpg, by using my traditionally light touch on the loud pedal I’ve got 30 mpg on a long trip.

Strange as it may sound I infinitely preferred Nissan’s SV Hybrid AWD Rogue. Coming in at half (!) the price of the Jaguar XE it does most things I need and misses few. Clearly as an SUV it will not go round corners on rails and the ride will be somewhat bumpy but you will get 35 miles per gallon, sit in more comfort and enjoy all the goodies the Jag offer at 60 thou plus. So come on Jaguar. The British pound is at 1.25 to the dollar as opposed to 1.60 back in 2014 so you could afford some price adjustments. Downwards.  


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Nissan’s SV Hybrid AWD Rogue also has tons of room in the back whereas the Jag is more a 2+2 than a four seater unless your passengers have very short legs indeed.

Of course acceleration from a 4 cylinder 2 liter engine won’t  give you a 0-60 in 4 seconds or even 6 but it is quite irrelevant.

All in all a very good buy at around 30 thousand dollars.


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The craziest thing on 4 wheels came my way in the shape of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. Oh, my life! It looked mean, it sounded even meaner and the acceleration was the meanest! 6.4 liter HEMI V8 engine, it scared the birds off the trees. It was also the kitchen sink of Jeeps. What wasn’t there didn’t exist!

The 8 speed auto box was fine, the paddle shifts were a bit odd to start with.

If I want to be brutally honest and after all that is what Editor  Bob pays me for, the SRT is too much for me. Too rough-on yet another set of appalling Pirelli tires, too big, too everything.

Oh, and way too expensive. Jeeps mean a great to me, probably more than any other car brand in the World. Only those old enough to remember the American soldiers arriving to liberated European capitals in those rugged Jeeps distributing Hershey bars will really understand what I am talking about. Those chocolate bars saved an awful lot of young and not so young  lives..

Which is not to say that the SRT isn’t crazy expensive at nearly 80 thousand dollars!

I had a good look at all of the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee specifications. Most of them come with a perfectly fine 3.6 liter engine and depending on the interior goodies you can get one for not much more than 30 thousand dollars making it an excellent buy.

Ok so make it $40k, maybe even $50k with all the bells and whistles but $78,000 plus?. I am sorry guys. In Texas-maybe, even on Sunset  Saturday evening with the stereo on full blast to impress all the punters in a line to get into one of the comedy clubs. But in mellow, mature Marin-unlikely. As or the fuel consumption, well , do you really want to know?! 


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I really am very good at getting good mileage from anything I drive be it a Fiat or a Ferrari but this time I failed miserably. The official overall miles is 15 mpg which is exactly what I’ve got cruising at 50 miles per hour without a traffic light in sight. I think 19 has to be a pipe dream. So all in all an amazingly well-equipped Jeep with heated and ventilated front seats but for 99% of Jeep owners I would suggest sticking to a lower spec which-incidentally anything but low.

Jeep an iconic American brand-long may it continue! 

707-horsepower 2018 Jeep® Grand Cherokee Trackhawk: The Most Powerful and Quickest SUV Ever

707-horsepower 2018 Jeep® Grand Cherokee Trackhawk: The Most Powerful and Quickest SUV Ever 
 
  • Most powerful SUV ever: Supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine delivers 707 horsepower and 645 lb.-ft. of torque 
  • Quickest SUV ever: 0-60 miles per hour (mph) in 3.5 seconds, quarter mile in 11.6 seconds and top speed of 180 mph
  • Upgraded TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission and driveline components engineered to handle additional torque output
  • 60-0 mph braking performance of 114 feet
    • New Brembo braking system includes largest-ever front brakes on a Jeep® vehicle
  • World-class on-road driving dynamics: Upgraded TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission and driveline components, five drive-mode Selec-Track system and Bilstein adaptive damping suspension
  • Aggressive, functional exterior appointments include unique quad-tip exhaust and redesigned fascia that optimizes airflow and cooling
  • New standard 20 x 10-inch Titanium-finish wheels expose distinctive yellow Brembo brake calipers
  • Driver-focused interior: 7-inch instrument cluster with centered tachometer and 200-mph speedometer; 8.4-inch touchscreen with Trackhawk Performance Pages
  • More than 70 safety and security features
  • Loaded with advanced technology: New Uconnect 8.4-standard touchscreen includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
April 12, 2017 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Injected with an unmatched 707 horsepower courtesy of an awe-inspiring supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine, the most awarded SUV ever and the most capable full-size SUV on the planet has been transformed into the most powerful and quickest SUV ever.
 
Introducing the new 2018 Jeep® Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

The new benchmark 707-horsepower supercharged engine combines with an upgraded high-torque capacity TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, world-class on-road driving dynamics and new Brembo brakes to deliver a new level of performance: 0-60 miles per hour (mph) in 3.5 seconds, quarter mile in 11.6 seconds at 116 mph, top speed of 180 mph, 60-0 mph braking distance in 114 feet and .88 g capability on the skid pad.

“Long recognized as the full-size SUV capability leader, Jeep Grand Cherokee is now the most powerful and quickest SUV as well, with the introduction of our new 707-horsepower Trackhawk,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “The new Grand Cherokee Trackhawk delivers astounding performance numbers, backed by renowned SRT engineering that combines world-class on-road driving dynamics with luxury, refinement and an array of innovative advanced technology.”  

Built in Detroit at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant, the 2018 Grand Cherokee Trackhawk will arrive in Jeep showrooms in the fourth quarter of 2017.
 
Awe-inspiring 707 horsepower courtesy of supercharged 6.2-liter V-8
Powering the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine delivering 707 horsepower and 645 lb.-ft. of torque.

The breakthrough supercharged engine is designed and manufactured using only the strongest and most durable materials. Its cast iron block features water jackets between the cylinders for optimal cooling. A forged-steel crankshaft with induction-hardened bearing surfaces is so strong it can withstand firing pressures of nearly 1,600 psi (110 bar) – the equivalent of five family sedans standing on each piston, every two revolutions. The unique, specially tuned crankshaft damper has been burst tested to 13,000 rpm.

High-strength, forged-alloy pistons – developed using advanced telemetry measurement – are coupled to powder-forged connecting rods with high-load-capacity bushings and diamond-like, carbon-coated piston pins.

Premium grade, heat-treated aluminum-alloy cylinder heads are optimized for superior thermal conductivity. Sodium-cooled exhaust valves feature hollow-stem construction and special steel-alloy heads that stand up to temperatures as high as 1,652 degrees Fahrenheit (900 degrees Celsius).

The 2,380cc per revolution supercharger includes integral charge-air coolers and an integrated electronic bypass valve to regulate boost pressure to a maximum of 11.6 psi (80 kPa). The twin-screw rotors are specially coated with:
  •   a proprietary formula of polyimide and other resins
  •   nanometer-sized, wear-resistant particles
  •   solid lubricants, such as PTFE (Teflon)

The coating enables tighter clearance between the rotors. This reduces internal air leakage, delivering improved compressor performance and higher efficiencies. The coating can withstand the temperatures generated by compression, and provides superior corrosion resistance.
 
The supercharger is sealed for life with premium synthetic oil, uses a drive ratio of 2.36:1 and has a maximum speed of 14,600 rpm. The supercharger drive system’s one-way clutch de-coupler improves refinement, while allowing for precisely the kind of powerful sound certain to captivate Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk drivers.
 
Air sources for the supercharger include a cold-air scoop in the lower front fascia, which replaces the driver’s-side fog lamp and helps to feed the 92mm throttle body.
 
The large-nosed crankshaft drives a high-flow gerotor oil pump, which feeds a lubrication circuit that includes eight high-flow piston-cooling jets. A high-capacity oil/air heat exchanger, mounted in the front of the Trackhawk, mitigates oil temperatures when driving conditions are harshest, such as on the track.
 
A new low-temperature cooling system, consisting of a pump, reservoir, heat exchanger and lines, help keep the charge air cool during performance driving. This system is designed to keep intake air temperatures below 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius), under extreme ambient conditions, while enabling air flow of up to 30,000 liters per minute.

A new fuel delivery system, featuring two high-flow, multi-mode pumps, matches the high-performance demands of the engine.
 
Upgraded driveline components, durability and refinement result in benchmark off-road performance
The performance of the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is bolstered by various upgraded driveline components engineered to handle the additional torque output from the supercharged engine.

The standard TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission delivers improved shift response, quality and consistent performance and drivability. The transmission software takes into account variables such as engine torque gradients, kick-down events, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, grade changes, friction detection and downshift detection to determine the appropriate shift map. 

Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is equipped with the Jeep Quadra-Trac on-demand four-wheel-drive system, which includes an electronic limited-slip rear differential and a single-speed active transfer case. The new, full-time active transfer case uses forged steel chain sprockets and a wider chain for added strength and durability.

A strengthened rear drive shaft connects to a new, stronger rear axle. The differential features a revised housing design, revised ring-and-pinion tooth geometry and new four-point axle mounting scheme for better load distribution, additional torque capacity and overall durability. Torque is delivered to the rear wheels via new ultra-high-strength 300M low-alloy vacuum melted steel half-shafts with upgraded eight-ball outboard constant velocity joints.

Standard Launch Control optimizes the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk’s performance by coordinating the engine, transmission, driveline and suspension for a textbook launch and consistent straight-line acceleration.

A new standard Torque Reserve system provides improved engine torque response and quicker vehicle acceleration in Launch Control by pre-positioning the supercharger bypass valve to generate boost and minimize manifold filling time, while cutting fueling to individual cylinders and managing spark timing. This generates a reserve of torque that can be instantaneously delivered upon acceleration from a standing stop.

The Selec-Track system on the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk uses performance-tuned software to pre-configure and distinguish the five dynamic modes, including:  Auto, Sport, Track, Snow and Tow, enabling drivers to choose a vehicle setting that ideally meets their requirements and ambient conditions. The drive modes separately control the four-wheel-drive system, transmission, paddle shifters, suspension and the electric power steering.

Dynamic drive mode configurations include:
  • Auto — Automatically adapts to any condition; uses a 40-percent front/60-percent rear torque split
  • Sport — Transmission shift times are reduced by 50 percent versus Auto Mode; stability control, four-wheel-drive and steering systems are set for typical enthusiast driving style; paddle shifters are enabled and suspension is tightened up without increasing impact harshness to deliver increased vehicle performance capability over Auto Mode; uses 35/65 torque split
  • Track — Transmission shift times are reduced 68 percent versus Auto Mode to 160 milliseconds; stability control, four-wheel-drive and steering systems are set for ultimate track performance; paddle shifters are enabled and suspension is set to full firm to deliver maximum vehicle performance capability on smooth, dry surfaces; uses 30/70 torque split
  • Tow — Alters torque delivery off the line for greater smoothness and adjusts suspension to combat pitch and yaw to deliver maximum towing performance: uses 60/40 torque split
  • Snow — Maximizes traction to deliver optimized performance on snow and ice with reduced engine horsepower; uses 50/50 torque split

Trackhawk also features a Custom Mode that allows the driver to personalize the vehicle’s performance with a selectable driving experience offering a multitude of vehicle system combinations. 

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk rides on a short- and long-arm (SLA) independent front suspension with coil springs, Bilstein adaptive damping suspension (ADS), upper- and aluminum lower-control arms (“A” arms), aluminum knuckle, aluminum clevis and hollow stabilizer bar. The rear suspension is a multi-link design with coil spring, Bilstein ADS, aluminum lower control arm, independent upper links (tension and camber), plus a separate toe link, and a hollow stabilizer bar.
 
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is capable of towing 7,200 pounds.
 
New benchmark SUV stopping performance
New high-performance Brembo brakes include the largest standard front brakes ever offered on a Jeep vehicle. Up front are 15.75-inch (400 mm) two-piece vented rotors with six-piston calipers painted with a new distinctive yellow finish, and 13.78-inch (350 mm) vented rotors with four-piston yellow calipers in the rear for outstanding stopping performance, heat management and durability. 

The new Brembo brakes bring the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk to a stop from 60 mph in 114 feet. For added safety, the anti-lock braking, electronic stability control and traction systems are uniquely tuned.

Aggressive and functional exterior
The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk rides one inch lower than non-SRT Grand Cherokee models and is further set apart with body-colored wheel flares, side sill cladding and a sculpted hood with dual heat extractors.

The signature seven-slot upper front grille is flanked by adaptive, bi-xenon headlamps and surrounded by an LED character lamp treatment. The headlamps on the Trackhawk model feature a unique Gloss Black background to accent their jewel-like appearance.

The fog lights are absent from the Trackhawk’s front fascia to optimize airflow to cooling modules and air induction without compromising the vehicle’s balance.

From behind, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk features a unique Gloss Black rear valence that showcases four-inch Black Chrome quad exhaust tips. The new quad exhaust system design provides an exhilarating and unmistakable note during maximum acceleration. 

A “Supercharged” badge on both front doors and a Trackhawk badge on the liftgate features a Liquid Titanium Chrome outline and Matte Black background.

New standard 20 x 10-inch Titanium-finish wheels with a Satin Chrome center cap showcase the distinctive yellow calipers underneath. Available lightweight 20 x 10-inch forged aluminum Low Gloss Black wheels save a total of 12 pounds versus the standard Trackhawk wheel. Grand Cherokee Trackhawk also features all-new Pirelli 295/45ZR20 Scorpion Verde All-Season and new Pirelli P Zero three-season tires with an increased speed rating.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is available in nine exterior colors: Billet Silver, Granite Crystal, Diamond Black, Ivory Tri-coat, Bright White, Velvet Red, Rhino (exclusive), Redline 2 (exclusive) and True Blue.
 
High-performance, racing-inspired interior
The driver-focused interior features premium soft-touch materials, unique Light Black Chrome finishes and carbon fiber spears, and a 7-inch driver information display (DID) instrument cluster, which features the tachometer in the middle. The 200-mph speedometer is on the left side of the cluster.

The instrument panel center stack with new 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen features Trackhawk-exclusive Performance Pages that showcase an array of performance timers and gauge readouts, including a new engine dynamometer screen that measures instantaneous horsepower, torque and current transmission gear. The dynamometer screen also includes a new snapshot function for owners to save their readouts on a USB.  

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk’s three-spoke steering wheel with a flat bottom features a bevy of comfort, convenience and connectivity controls and ergonomically efficient paddle shifters.

The Trackhawk features standard Nappa leather and suede seats with an embroidered “Trackhawk” logo. A fully wrapped Signature Leather Interior Package with “Trackhawk” embossed on the seats, optional in black and Trackhawk-exclusive black and Dark Ruby Red is available. Seats are also heated (front and rear) and ventilated (front). Dark Ruby Red seatbelts and a dual-pane panoramic sunroof are also available options.

A new Premium Metal Package is standard and enhances the Trackhawk’s interior with various upscale real metal accents.   

Additional premium interior features include: standard Active Noise Cancellation; premium headliner; leather stitched instrument panel, doors, center console and armrest; Berber floormats with Trackhawk badge and available dual-screen rear-seat entertainment center with Blu-ray.

There is a choice of two audio systems, including an 825-watt Harman Kardon high-performance audio system with 19-speakers and two subwoofers.
 
Safety and Security
The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk includes more than 70 safety and security features, including Trailer Hitch Camera View at Speed, which allows owners to view trailered items through the rear-mounted camera while moving, and a Valet mode that enables the following vehicle configurations:
  • Engine is remapped to significantly reduce horsepower and torque; limited to 4,000 rpm
  • Transmission locks out access to first gear and upshifts earlier than normal
  • Transmission will treat the manual shifter position the same as the drive position
  • Traction, steering and suspension are set to their Street settings
  • Steering-wheel paddle shifters are disabled
  • Drive Mode functions are disabled
  • Electronic stability control (ESC) is enabled to Full-on
  • Launch Control is disabled

Drivers can activate and deactivate Valet mode with a personalized four-digit PIN code.
 
Other prominent, standard Grand Cherokee Trackhawk safety and security features include Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop; Advanced Brake Assist; Blind-spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Path Detection; Full-speed Forward Collision Warning with Crash Mitigation; Front and Rear Park Assist; Lane Departure Warning-Plus; Ready Alert Braking and SiriusXM Guardian and Roadside Assistance buttons.
 
Advanced technology delivered with all-new infotainment system
New for 2018, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is equipped with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through the latest version of Uconnect’s 8.4-inch touchscreen radio system. 
 
Apple CarPlay
Seamlessly integrates an iPhone with the vehicle’s built-in display and controls in addition to featuring Siri Voice control. iPhone-equipped drivers can make phone calls, access music, send and receive messages, and receive voice-guided navigation optimized for traffic conditions and more, while staying focused on the road.

Android Auto
System shares useful information when driving and makes it easy to access the best of Google technology. Featuring Google Maps with free voice-guided navigation, live traffic information, and lane guidance; on-demand access to 30 million songs with Google Play Music; plus the ability to place phone calls or send and receive messages while keeping hands on the wheel; and ask Google search any question. Android Auto also makes it easy to access popular apps and content from the Uconnect system’s touchscreen.

The latest Uconnect operating system includes easy-to-use features, pinch-to-zoom display, enhanced processing power, faster startup times and touchscreens that display high-resolution graphics. Drivers and passengers also have an abundance of infotainment features at their fingertips with SiriusXM Radio, Travel Link, Traffic and Guardian Connected Services that provide real-time information.
 
Jeep Brand
Built on more than 75 years of legendary heritage, Jeep is the authentic SUV with class-leading capability, craftsmanship and versatility for people who seek extraordinary journeys. The Jeep brand delivers an open invitation to live life to the fullest by offering a full line of vehicles that continue to provide owners with a sense of security to handle any journey with confidence.
 
The Jeep vehicle lineup consists of the Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Renegade and Wrangler. To meet consumer demand around the world, all Jeep models sold outside North America are available in both left and right-hand drive configurations and with gasoline and diesel powertrain options.