Chrysler Group’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) high performance division has fitted an enlarged version of the company’s legendary HEMI engine into the Grand Cherokee, creating the quickest, most powerful Jeep ever made.

Powered by a 6.1-litre HEMI V-8 producing 420 bhp and 420 lb ft of torque, the Grand Cherokee SRT-8 is 25 per cent more powerful than the standard Grand Cherokee and uses a unique four-wheel drive system to help it accelerate to 62 mph in just 5.0 seconds, achieving a top speed of 152 mph.

"When Jeep set out to create its quickest-ever model, it was with the race track rather than mud track in mind," said Peter Lambert, Managing Director of Chrysler Group UK. "The SRT-8 is not intended to be off-road capable. Instead, with this injection of SRT DNA, the new Grand Cherokee SRT-8 establishes a fresh benchmark for high-performance SUVs. It has the raw power to out-perform a Porsche Cayenne Turbo at a fraction of the price."

Although the heart of the Grand Cherokee SRT-8 is the enlarged 6.1-litre HEMI V-8 engine, the aim of the four-wheel drive system is to maximise the on-road traction available to the driver, while being robust and reliable enough to handle the upgraded HEMI engine’s massive amounts of power and torque.

The all-new unique transfer case is set up to deliver from five to 10 percent of torque to the front wheels, under normal driving conditions, with the remaining 90-to-95 percent being sent to the rear axle. When driving on slippery surfaces, the four-wheel drive system can automatically transfer up to 100 percent of torque to the front wheels when additional traction and stability is required.

As well as the high-performance engine and four-wheel drive system, all SRT vehicles feature a race-inspired interior and performance-oriented exterior features. These features include an all-new front fascia, to reduce lift and drag and providing sufficient airflow to meet the increased cooling demands of the larger HEMI engine, unique air intake ducts that help cool the front brakes, specially designed side sill extensions that help to increase down force, a new rear fascia incorporating two large diameter exhaust tail pipes and five-spoke 20-inch forged aluminium wheels.

To match the car’s performance characteristics, the Grand Cherokee SRT-8 offers enhanced ride and handling, and first-class braking with an ultra-high performance Brembo racing-style braking system. The SRT-8’s unique chassis set-up includes tuned Bilstein dampers, specially tailored spring rates and suspension bushings and larger-diameter anti-roll bars, together with 25 mm lower ride height and a re-tuned ESP system.

Peter Lambert added: "This sensational addition to the Jeep model range is priced at £40,585 on-the-road and is on sale to UK customers in right-hand drive from July 2006. If driving enthusiasts want to get their hands on the fastest Jeep ever they will have to be as quick as the car itself! Only a handful will be brought into the UK this year."