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This website last updated: Aug 04, 2011

History of the Grand Cherokee SRT8

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"When we set out to create the first Jeep-branded SRT vehicle, the 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee presented us with an incredibly capable starting point,” said Dan Knott, Director – Street and Racing Technology, Chrysler Group. “With an infusion of SRT DNA, the 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is the new benchmark performance SUV. It has the raw power to outperform the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, while providing exceptional ride and handling, world-class braking, race-inspired interior appointments and functional, performance-oriented exterior enhancements."

June 2004 - The first pilot models

Eyes on Design car show, Grosse Pointe Michigan, June 26, 2004
Eyes on Design car show, Grosse Pointe Michigan, June 26, 2004
Eyes on Design car show, Grosse Pointe Michigan, June 26, 2004
Eyes on Design car show, Grosse Pointe Michigan, June 26, 2004

The first spy photos to reach the public were taken of a red 2006 SRT8 pilot model undergoing testing in Grosse Point, Michigan in June of 2004. This new Jeep was sporting dual center exhaust pipes and a partially masked front end that was concealing the custom fascia. The large brembo brake rotors can also be seen in the photos. More than fifteen cosmetic changes were made by the time the SRT8 was launched for retail production in November 2005. The roof rack was eliminated, the black body side moldings were changed to chrome, the rear bumper was upgraded to the export version with built-in non-functional rear fog lights, and the front lower fascia was changed.

The first retail-ready pilot model was built on March 11th, 2005, just ahead of its appearance on TV and at the NY auto show. A total of 41 pre-production pilot models were built from March through September.

Around the time that the spy photos first appeared, a Jeep executive commented on what it would take to build a a SRT version of the Grand Cherokee. He said that "a Jeep aimed at performance enthusiasts would have to be re-engineered. The center of gravity would have to be lowered, which would affect the vehicle's off-road capability. They could not lower the suspension of the vehicle enough to get high speed, highly capable handling and then have the articulation needed to go off road, it wouldn't work. He said that Jeep does not think people would expect a racing inspired, street-legal, high-performance Jeep to be, at the same time, off-road capable. That's the tradeoff".

The 2006 Grand Cherokee SRT8 is a derivative of the all-new WK generation which debuted for the 2005 model year. At the time of the original development of the WK series the SRT8 was not in the plans. The SRT division was already starting to grow but they were working on Dodge Vipers, Rams and Neons. In fact, it took quite a bit of convincing by SRT staff to the top brass at DaimlerChrysler to approve the idea for a Jeep version. Better minds prevailed and as they say, the rest is history.

March 2005 - First public unveiling (TV)

SRT8 world debut
SRT8 world debut
SRT8 world debut
World premiere on the Regis and Kelly show, March 18th 2005

The world premiere of the 2006 Grand Cherokee SRT8 occured on Friday March 18th 2005, live on the Regis and Kelly show in New York. The segment featured the Grand Cherokee SRT8 for about 30 seconds and continued with several other reveals including the Mercedes-Benz ML500, Subaru Tribeca B9 and the Honda Ridgeline.

March 2005 - NY Auto Show introduction

The SRT8 Grand Cherokee was officially introduced to the press and public on Thursday March 24th at the NY Auto Show.

2006 Grand Cherokee SRT8 NY Auto Show introduction

November 2005 - Production launch

Retail production of the 2006 Grand Cherokee SRT8 began on November 5, 2005, with production slowly ramping up in the months following. A few dealers received them in late December, with the first retail model being put into service on December 20, 2005. The base MSRP was $39,995 including destination.

A total of 3,172 Grand Cherokee SRT8's were built for the 2006 model year. This includes 115 pilot/company lease vehicles. The total for the U.S. was 2,800 and for Canada just 164 while Mexico came in at 208. For the exterior colors, approximately 50% were Black while Red and Silver were even with around 25% each.

New features and changes by model year

2007 models

Introductory Base MSRP including $695 destination: $40,675.00

2007 models of the SRT8 started production in early August 2006. Due to a factory shutdown for inventory adjustment, all Grand Cherokee production was stopped from September 15 until mid October. New features and changes included:

  • Active turn signals (3-blink lane change)
  • Fuel tank, 21.1 gallon (increased from 20.5)
  • Taillamps, restyled, dual chamber
  • Tip start (prevents double starts and preserves battery and ignition gear life)
  • Mold-in-color cup holder
  • Side air bags made standard
  • Available "Parkview" rear back-up camera
  • Available Remote Start
  • New color: Red Rock Crystal Pearl replaces Inferno Red

2008 models

Introductory Base MSRP including $695 destination: $41,220.00

2008 models of the SRT8 started production on July 16, 2007. The Jeep SRT8 recieved a refresh for the 2008 model year with an extensive list of new features and changes:

  • Refreshed front fascia and grille
  • Refreshed instrument panel and interior with new Dark Slate Gray color
  • Accent stitching added to front and rear seats and center console
  • Armrests on front door panels enlarged and padded
  • Cruise control stalk added to steering column
  • EVIC buttons relocated from center stack to steering wheel
  • Headrests integrated into rear seat
  • Infrared electronic ignition key
  • Interior bezels changed from silver finish to carbon fiber finish
  • Leather-wrapped parking brake handle with chrome rings
  • Rear DVD screen size increased from 7" to 8"
  • Shift knob changed from having engraved Jeep logo to plain chrome top
  • Steering wheel logo revised
  • Available 115V Power outlet
  • Available Heated rear seats
  • Available MyGIG™ Multimedia Infotainment System with touch-screen navigation
  • Available MyGIG™ Multimedia Infotainment System without navigation
  • Available Auto-leveling High-intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps
  • Available SIRIUS BackSeat TV™
  • Available 568-watt SRT Kicker audio system (available starting March 2008)
  • New color: Steel Blue Metallic Clear Coat
  • New color: Modern Blue Clear Coat (replaces Steel Blue, March 2008)
  • New color: Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat (replaces Black, January 2008)

2009 models

Introductory Base MSRP including $730 destination: $42,730.00

2009 models of the SRT8 started production on August 11, 2008. New features and changes included:

  • New Instrument cluster w/performance display screen
  • Surround sound confirmation in EVIC (w/Kicker audio system)
  • New Leather interior upgrades (upper door bolsters front and rear, I/P cluster brow)
  • 9" DVD screen replaces 8" screen
  • RKE (Remote Keyless Entry) front window express opening
  • Alcoa forged aluminum wheels treated with Dura-Bright® technology
  • Red brake calipers replace black calipers
  • New color: Inferno Red Crystal replaces Red Rock Crystal (February 2009)

2010 models

Introductory Base MSRP including $780 destination: $44,105.00

2010 models of the SRT8 started production on August 17, 2009. New features and changes included:

  • Rear DVD system dropped

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