Superior handling is a priority for the Grand Cherokee SRT®.

The turn-in, steering feel and roadholding abilities of the new Grand Cherokee SRT<sup>®</sup> are even more superior than those of its legendary predecessor.
Posted on Jan 22, 2013

The turn-in, steering feel and roadholding abilities of the new Grand Cherokee SRT® are even more superior than those of its legendary predecessor. Chassis design improvements help the performance SUV achieve a 146-percent improvement in structural rigidity, but handling advancements extend much further than structural strength.

Grand Cherokee SRT vehicle dynamics engineer Marco Diniz takes us behind closed doors for a closer look at how this performance vehicle gained its outstanding agility. “We started with the tires and moved inward,” Diniz said. Departing from a staggered setup found on the previous generation, tires on the new model grow to a section width of 295 mm at all four corners. Optional tire choices include the all-season Pirelli Scorpion Verde or aggressive three-season Pirelli P Zero.

Numerous SRT-specific components give the Grand Cherokee SRT a distinct handling advantage over the base vehicle. Ride height is lowered 25 mm up front and 30 mm in the rear when compare to a base model. Spring rates are set at 548 pounds per inch in the front and 930 pounds per inch on the rear axle – approximately 80-percent stiffer than the standard model. Robust anti-roll bars measure 35 mm and 25 mm in diameter, front and rear respectively, while front and rear camber is dialed in at negative 1.6 and 1.3 degrees. These components and settings help the Grand Cherokee SRT achieve an impressive .90g lateral acceleration figure on the skidpad when equipped with the sticky P Zero tire option.

The Grand Cherokee SRT is equipped with Active Damping Suspension (ADS) from Bilstein, but the Grand Cherokee’s system is armed with five distinct calibration settings tailored to the vehicle. “It is quite complex,” Diniz said. “We had to develop a matrix to track the system’s behavior in each mode. Every time you select a new mode, several other systems are adjusted also.”

Track mode fully closes the suspension’s damper valves, offering the firmest ride and least body roll possible. Sport mode offers aggressive suspension tuning while maintaining civility on the street. Auto mode is tuned to create comfortable, yet exciting everyday driving behavior. Snow mode is the most conservative profile, keeping drivers and passengers safe during slippery situations. Tow mode reduces bounce and pitch to help maintain driving dynamics while pulling heavy loads. Each setting alters the torque split, which ranges from 65/35 in Track mode to 50/50 in Snow.

Each mode adjusts not only damper settings, but ESC, transmission and transfer case parameters as well. A console-mounted control knob makes toggling between profiles easy, with adjustments taking effect almost instantly.

All new SRT vehicles receive a new SRT-specific steering wheel. The steering system in the Grand Cherokee SRT receives unique valve tuning and a faster ratio, giving drivers a distinct feel for the road. Behind the thick, small diameter steering wheel, drivers can experience the Grand Cherokee’s masterful driving dynamics in any weather.

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