Jeep isn’t on sale in India yet, but we’ve already gotten our hands on one of the nuttiest examples headed here, the mental SRT.
Published on Apr 19, 2016 11:50:00 AM
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SRT edition of handsome Grand Cherokee gets bespoke nostrils on top of bonnet, flashes of chrome and LED.
Let’s talk DNA; deoxyribonucleic acid. It tells us who we are, what we look like and even how well we are likely to perform. Similarly, understanding automotive DNA helps us understand what a car is all about. You can assume some historical strengths, predict a couple of weak areas and make a rough guesstimate as to what to expect.
The DNA of the beast standing before me, however, is anything but straightforward. Far from following a direct line down from its predecessors, this one seems seriously complicated. Streams of DNA flow into it from multiple sources and telling one from the other isn’t easy unless you sit down and carefully separate the strands. The potpourri of mechanical strains include Jeep, Chrysler, SRT, Mercedes and even Fiat.
But let’s start at the beginning. The mother brand, of course, is Jeep. Born of military hardware, the brand actually came to life on the battlegrounds of WWII, at El Alamein in Africa and on the beaches of Normandy in France, standing shoulder to shoulder with Sherman tanks in almost every theater of war. And Jeep pioneered off-road driving as we know it today. It was the first un-tracked off-road vehicle that could make headway through slush, it premiered the use of four-wheel drive in a car, kickstarted the low-range movement and even, arguably, pioneered the first SUV. The Grand Cherokee is Jeep’s most popular and important product. Both an extremely capable off-roader and a super comfortable SUV rolled into one, it, according to Jeep, is one of the most awarded and celebrated SUVs in the world.
The Grand Cherokee SRT, however, isn’t all Jeep. It shares its platform with none other than the Mercedes M-class (now the GLE). Part of a platform and cost sharing deal between Merc and Jeep when the companies were joint at the hip as Daimler-Chrysler back in the early 2000s, Jeep took the M-class shell and customised it for use as a hardcore off-roader. But there’s another Chrysler dimension at work here: SRT or Street and Racing Technology. Familiar to those of you who are into performance cars, these bad boys take Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles and put out heavily modded versions of the same. The division started out life as tuners for the Dodge Viper’s V10 and today, are the equivalent of M or AMG.
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