As the Fiat and Chrysler Group continue to integrate their operations, plenty of attention has been focused on the return of vehicles from the former to the U.S. The FIAT 500 is already on sale now, the Fiat Doblo (a small commercial van) will soon show up under the Ram brand and gearheads have high hopes that at least something from Alfa Romeo will arrive on our shores in relatively short order. Just as important for the health of the Fiat/Chrysler conglomeration are ongoing efforts to boost international sales of Chrysler products—including Jeep’s significant presence at the Frankfurt Motor Show, one of the largest, most significant auto events in the world.
There, in an 8,180-square-foot exhibit space designed to showcase how Jeep vehicles can tackle a wide variety of terrains, from city streets to sand dunes to snow drifts, upgraded versions of two Jeep icons were unveiled to the European public for the very first time.
2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8
Naturally, the brand’s flagship, the all-new 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, was squarely in the spotlight to show off its unique combination of power, performance, and interior excellence. It all starts with the motivating force beneath the vehicle’s sinister-looking hood: The Chrysler Group’s brand-new 6.4-liter HEMI V-8. Thanks to advanced vehicle technologies, the big engine boasts 470 hp and 465 lb.-ft. of torque yet actually has increased highway fuel efficiency by 13 percent as compared to the previous model.
In addition to being the best-performing Jeep ever with the ability to run from 0-60 in 4.8 seconds, the new Grand Cherokee SRT8 also is the best-handling product the brand has ever sold. Riding on an innovative active-damping suspension managed a fresh iteration of Jeep’s Selec-Track system, the vehicle can pull up to .90g on the skid pad.
All that capability is then wrapped around an elegant and sophisticated interior that includes a hi-po sound system from Harman Kardon. The 825-watt setup, with 19 speakers spread through the Grand Cherokee SRT8’s well-appointed cabin, relies on the audio company’s breakthrough GreenEdge technology, which puts less of a load on the vehicle’s engine at any given level of performance, actually helping to save fuel.
The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 will be available in European dealerships early next year.
Notably, Jeep also provided a sneak peek at a possible future direction for the Grand Cherokee’s interior with an eye-catching design study that also was revealed in Frankfurt. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Interior Concept reinvented the vehicle’s cabin with a new look inspired by top entries in the premium-sedan segment.
2012 Jeep Wrangler
Joining the Grand Cherokee SRT8 in Frankfurt was the 2012 Jeep Wrangler configured with the Chrysler Group’s impressive Pentastar V-6 engine, slated to go on sale in Europe in November. As is the case with the U.S. Wrangler, the 3.6-liter engine takes the vehicle’s legendary off-road performance to a truly new level, offering 285 hp (up 40 percent over the Wrangler’s previous engine) and 260 lb.-ft. of torque (a 10 percent increase). Jeep engineers worked carefully to ensure that this power upgrade also came with a bump in fuel efficiency, and the Wrangler sees a 10.5 percent boost in highway mileage. The 2012 Jeep Wrangler also will be available with a robust and efficient 2.8-liter turbodiesel powertrain in Europe.
Another particularly cool highlight of Jeep’s Frankfurt exhibit was the premiere of the Jeep Wrangler Arctic special edition. A counterpart to the Wrangler Sahara, this new iteration of the classic Jeep gets exclusive styling cues inside and out—including some paying homage to the legend of the Yeti—and a wide range of Mopar accessories that recognize how “The grueling and demanding environments of the arctic offer the type of terrain the legendary Jeep Wrangler was engineered to conquer.”
Finally, as part of efforts to expand Mopar’s presence in global markets, the Chrysler Group’s accessories and customer-care division also teamed up with Jeep to give the full makeover treatment to another Wrangler—the first “Moparized” vehicle to hit the Frankfurt stage.
The long list of goodies on this Wrangler included:
- Front off-road bumper
- Rear off-road bumper
- Warn 9.5ti XP Winch
- Synthetic winch line
- Rock rails
- Tube doors, front
- Snorkel, Ram air inlet
- Cat-back exhaust
- 2-inch lift kit
- Tonneau cover for rear cargo area and second-row seats
- Tail lamp guards
- Black door-sill guards
- Slush mats
- Fuel-filler door
- Grab-handles with coat hook