2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Drag Races Audi RS Q8, Gaps Galore


For a relatively brief moment, the Audi RS Q8 was the fastest SUV around the Nürburgring, but then the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT came along and left the Ingolstadt machine without any titles of its own. Well, apart maybe from the very unofficial one of “the most beautiful SUV” that I’ve just awarded it? To be fair, depending on how you feel about this SUV craze we thought was going to pass a long time ago, that’s dangerously close to being called “the most attractive pig,” but still, if you can’t change what you are, I guess it’s better to be good-looking than not. Besides, the RS Q8 manages to resemble a big wagon rather than a standard SUV, essentially making it some other more attractive animal disguised as a pig. I can’t speak for SUVs (or pigs, for that matter), but I think the RS Q8 would gladly renounce the vanity title for a much more palpable one – say something like the one owned by the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. The Hellcat-powered SUV is currently the world’s quickest such vehicle in production form over the standing quarter-mile, which also happens to be the very reason it was created in the first place. Yes, knowing all this should make the first part of this clip rather pointless, but don’t be so quick to dismiss it. If anything, it shows just how tiny the margins are in this business. If it weren’t for precision timing equipment, we might never know for sure which one was the quickest since even the shortest delay off the line will have a huge impact on the winner. Before we go any further, let’s delve a little into what makes these two vehicles the speed merchants that they are. Starting with the U.S. representative, it’s powered by the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 Hemi engine we all know and love developing 707 hp and 645 lb-ft (873 Nm) of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission (more on that later). The Audi falls short on almost every parameter, but not by much. It has a 4.0-liter twin-turbo engine good for 600 hp (probably the biggest and most important difference) and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm) of torque. Like the Jeep, it also has an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive, but it also weighs slightly less (around 220 lbs or 100 kg). As I’ve said, the standing quarter-mile races are just an example of how important it is to get a good start. With Juan, the frontman for carwow’s Spanish channel, sleeping at the wheel, the Audi makes it seem easy as it crosses the line first. Then, as Mat continues the constant bullying throughout the episode of his Spanish colleague, Juan steps up his game and delivers two very good reactions – the latter of the two offers that perfectly even start that leaves no doubt over which vehicle is the quickest. Up next is the rolling race – this is where the Jeep should, in theory, shine even brighter. It has more power and a supercharger, meaning there is no lag in the delivery – not even the tiny bit that’s still present in modern turbocharged engines. However, the first pass not only contradicts that idea but also puts it in a box, tapes it well shut, stamps it, and ships it to Papua New Guinea from a fake address, so there’s no chance of ever returning. Not only does the Jeep not win, but by the time the Audi crossed the line, Juan could barely see it from behind the Grand Cherokee’s wheel. And that’s not a way of saying Juan is very short. It turns out the Jeeps transmission likes to take things slowly when left in the comfort setting. Put it in manual, though, and the Trackhawk shows us we weren’t wrong to expect a clear win on its part. However, the SUV’s performance in the braking test is almost enough to make us forget about everything good it’s done there that day. Granted, it’s not a new vehicle, and it does sport Brembo brakes but tell that to the seven-car gap (my estimation, reality may vary) between the two when they go for an emergency brake from 100 mph (160 km/h).