The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is showing its HEMI powered face this April at the 2017 New York International Auto Show. 2017 is a big year for Jeep. CEO Mike Manley discussed in depth with TFL earlier this year about the debut of the anticipated 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Speculated to contain the Hellcat 6.2L Supercharged V8 under its bulging hood, the new fire breathing Jeep will be unveiled alongside the Dodge Challenger Demon. But if you think a high performance Grand Cherokee is a new concept for the brand, think again.
The Track Hawk lineage dates back before even the Hemi Powered 2006 Grand Cherokee SRT8. In fact, a fast version of the luxury Jeep was introduced in 1998 with the Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9L Limited.
Introduced in 1992, the Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ was the first generation of the now ubiquitous luxury SUV. Initially offered with Jeep’s bulletproof inline 4.0 liter six cylinder, the Grand Cherokee might have been modern and comfortable but it was by now means fast. For 1993 a 5.2 liter V8 was offered, but the performance didn’t arrive until the very last year of production for the first generation ZJ.
Equipped with a 5.9L magnum V8, the 1998 Grand Cherokee Limited 5.9 was a first of its kind for the SUV market. Well before the introduction of the BMW X5M, the Porsche Cayenne or the Mercedes ML55 AMG, Jeep built an SUV with a performance mindset.
Performance figures seem mild by today’s standards. Producing 245 HP and a healthy 345 lb-ft of torque, the 5.9L powered Jeep represent the start of what has evolved into a performance SUV battle of epics proportions.
Vehicles like the Bentley Bentayga sprint to 60 MPH in under 4 seconds and the upcoming Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk may be even faster. The 5.9L Grand Cherokee’s had a claimed 0-60 time of 7.3 seconds,with independent testers hitting as low as 6.8. While the vast fender flares of the X6M are visibly missing, there are ways to differentiate the performance Jeep from its very common brothers.
U.S. versions were available in just three colors: stone white, deep slate and bright platinum. Functional hood vents and unique wheels are among many subtle differences that differentiate the top of the 5.9 from a run of the mill limited.
Just under 15,000 of the quarter million Grand Cherokees produced in 1998 contain the top dog engine, but used prices are still VERY reasonable if you can find a good one.
A solid second owner example is for sale right now in Colorado for just $3500.
Keep an eye out for these sleepers on your daily school run. You never know, the next one you see may be winning a stoplight grand prix between elementary schools!
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