Jeep does currently offer a 5.7-liter V8 under the hood of the latest Grand Cherokee, but with 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque, it is bested on both counts by the 2-liter four-cylinder turbo-based 4xe plug-in hybrid version which makes 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. With numbers like that, it’s not hard to see why Jeep officials see the V8’s days as being numbered.
Sure, there are still force-fed V8s that make much more power than that, and Jeep makes some of the world’s most powerful, but even for performance applications, it seems many manufacturers are considering electrification. The next-generation Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG will reportedly be a plug-in hybrid with a 2-liter turbo that will be quicker and more capable than its predecessor thanks to electrification.
Jeep could do the same with its SRT models. This was almost confirmed by Jeff Elsworth, who spoke to Australia’s CarsGuide about electrification. He explained that
As much as we love (the V8). There is no replacement for displacement, but there is technology out there can deliver on it. We still love that engine, we’re going to hold onto it. It’s there and it will stay there for as long as it makes sense, both financially and compliance wise.
We’ve still kept the V8 around in certain markets around the world, and in the USA in particular, but the reality is that the plug-in hybrid has become the more premium powertrain. I’m not one to say yes or no, but there’s no doubt – and this isn’t just Jeep but in general – about what we’re able to do with twin-turbo and with electrification now.
When he was asked directly whether or not the upcoming Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, based on the all-new model, he did not directly confirm it, but strongly hinted that it would be the first SRT-badged model to feature electrification. The source quotes him as saying
I’m not one to divulge that. But at the end of the day, electrification is the way forward. But right now we have nothing to confirm.