Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 ••• AUDI A6
By Kelly Foss, MyCarData.com
JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE SRT8
You gotta hand it to Jeep for being willing to try something different. The Grand Cherokee is a largish “midsize” SUV with all the expected Jeep off-road acumen. The current model is a well designed and supremely capable vehicle. Every family has a rebel and the SRT8 the bad boy in the Grand Cherokee lineup.
The current Grand Cherokee was conceived back when Chrysler and Mercedes were joined. The Grand Cherokee benefits from those combined vehicle development programs so if there seems to be similarities between it and the Mercedes ML, there are.
The SRT8 (Street and Racing Technology 8 cylinder engine) version takes the Grand Cherokee and morphs it into a high performance SUV. The SRT8 is not optimized for off-roading like its siblings. Rather, it’s an on-road rapid transit system in an SUV package.
The SRT8 is built around a performance version of Chrysler’s Hemi V8 engine. It gets the 6.4 liter version which pumps out a thrilling 470 horsepower and 465 foot pounds of torque. That’s a lot. It’s only offered with a rugged 5 speed automatic transmission and either in rear of all wheel drive. This Jeep will dart to 60 miles an hour in a mere 4.8 seconds which is Mustang GT fast in a two ton SUV.
The handling is also unexpectedly good for a vehicle of this size and heft. Large Pirelli P Zero tires keep it planted on the road and for a vehicle that handles as well as this one the ride is really quite pleasant.
The styling projects a menacing Darth Vader persona — especially with black paint — and this Jeep is totally able to intimidate almost any other vehicle on the road by its mere appearance and sound.
Now on a more practical note, yes it has a roomy interior and the cargo space is more than adequate. The cabin is nicely appointed and styled and the seats hold you well in place. The controls and knob are attractive and informative. So yes, there is a practical side to the SRT8. It’s just quietly hiding inside the dominant fun-and-games part of the truck.
The exhaust note constantly reminds you that you’ve got something special under the hood. Hemi engines come with a built-in cylinder deactivation technology. Even in the SRT8 when the engine is just loafing along, it shuts down half its cylinders and runs on only 4. That helps lower the gas consumption and is better for the environment but still, don’t expect very good fuel economy.
In all the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is a unique and fun vehicle. It’s stylish, practical, useful and very fast. It’s pricey to buy and to drive but for those seeking this level of automotive enjoyment, it’s money well spent.
The Audi A6 has long been a highly regarded German midsize luxury sedan. It competes directly with other German brands, namely Mercedes and BMW. The new 2012 A6 is an intriguing advancement in the marque.
More engaging and precise may best describe the current iteration of the A6. The car has always been well styled and executed but this latest model bares its soul more to the driver and passengers.
Seeing the new A6 is like meeting a friend that you haven’t seen awhile. He’s been slimming down and going to the gym. It’s still the same person but now he’s a sleeker, more sculpted version of himself. That’s the new A6.
The car has more advanced metallurgy and is therefore longer, stronger and lighter than before thanks to the use of more aluminum and high strength steel. The former model was somewhat non-descript and roundish. The new version is a touch more angular and chiseled. It’s a better look for the car.
As usual Audi gets an “A+” rating for their interiors. The fit, finish and quality are hard to match anywhere. The passenger cabin is roomy, elegant and imaginative in its function. It just looks and feels good.
As part of the new engagement approach, the car now has more road feel and crisper steering. My test car was the 3.0 Quattro sedan with a sport package. The ride was controlled and its surprising how this elegant upscale vehicle can be pushed so hard on a winding road.
The A6 comes in two basic forms. The 3.0 model has a supercharged 3.0 liter V6, an 8-speed automatic transmission and quattro all wheel drive. The starting price is about $50,000. The 2.0 model has a 2.0 liter turbocharged 4 cylinder with a CVT transmission and front wheel drive. Turbo four’s are becoming very common now with both BMW and Mercedes offering them on their sedans this year.
The 3.0 is faster but the 2.0 has adequate power, better fuel economy and is $8,000 less expensive. The 2.0 is also $5,000 less than the competing 4 cylinder 5 Series BMW and almost $10,000 less than the Mercedes. My 3.0 test vehicle was well equipped and came stickered at $61,530 meaning that it had about $20,000 worth of options on a base $41,000 car.
The A6 received an electronics upgrade also. The navigation system offers Google Maps that provide the in-car functionality of an online Google search right on the navigation screen. The car can become a wi-fi hotspot allowing separate internet connections for all the passengers in the car. The Bose audio system is superb and offers the full range of sound unlike some of the ill-conceived bass-less audio systems found in competing vehicles.
All told I really liked the new A6. The look and feel of this sedan is very satisfying. It’s a car you will end up liking for a long time.
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