Electrification is inevitable for many automakers as emissions laws become more strict, and it’s now starting to encroach on performance vehicles as well, with Jeep’s Grand Cherokee SRT and Trackhawk likely dropping the V8 from its lineup in favor of plug-in hybrid power. Jeep’s global product marketing chief, Jeff Ellsworth spoke to Australia’s CarsGuide about the future of the V8 a powerplant for SRT, and it doesn’t sound good.
“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.”
However, there seems to be some trepidation around confirming the discontinuation of the Hemi V8 engine at Jeep. Ellsworth explains that they want to keep the cast-iron powerhouse around for as long as they can.
“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.”
While Ellsworth won’t directly comment on the fate of the Hemi V8 engine in the brand’s lineup, The Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer family are effectively dropping it in favor of the new Hurricane engine. That’s sure to be just the start of it.
“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,” Ellsworth said.
The Hurricane straight-six features two turbochargers to bring the power to 420 horsepower and 468 lb-ft of torque for the standard version, and 510 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque for the high output model. According to engineers at Jeep, there’s room for those numbers to be bumped up as well, further dooming the Hemi V8.
So if Jeep is adamant about using the Hurricane engine as a Hemi replacement, then that likely means that the Grand Cherokee SRT will have to be propped up by some sort of electrified powertrain, but Ellsworth remained tight-lipped about that aspect as well.
“I’m not one to divulge that. But at the end of the day, electrification is the way forward,” he said. “But right now we have nothing to confirm.”