My 2012 Deep Cherry Red arrived on Boxing Day as a late Christmas present. We are now a two Jeep SRT8 family...my son drives the 2006 Inferno Red. Like everyone else, when my firm order was placed on 6/15/11, I had no idea of price. Later when official prices were announced, my dealer categorically stated all SRT8’s were excluded from Affiliate Pricing, and that there was no Price Protection because no official prices existed prior to 8/10/11. Fortunately, thanks to members of this forum, and especially Scottina and Milous, I was able to gather sufficient information to prove them wrong, and ended up with Affiliate Pricing (1% below invoice) and Price Protection on the Lux II and Premium Sound options. I also have the Pano Sun Roof. After four days and 250 miles, here are my early impressions:
Exterior: In real life, the WK2 looks even meaner than in photos. I like the look, but my wife thinks it looks a bit "plumper" than the "lean" 2006. I had read negative comments on the Deep Cherry Red color, but it really suits the WK2 shape. It's certainly just as pleasing as the Inferno Red on the 2006. The wheels are spectacular---the complex pattern offsets the curvy body style. The details of the hood vents and rear window spoiler look good, and the black flared exhaust tips are unusual, but not as impressive as the old center mounted tips...they just sort of blend into the black rear grill so you hardly notice them.
Interior: I really like the overall look of the stitched leather and carbon fiber trim. The flat bottom steering wheel is especially nice. I prefer a hand brake to the foot activated one, but can see that the new layout of the center consul doesn't allow space for a hand brake. I haven’t had time to try all the technology or learn all the features, but the instruments are well laid out. Thankfully, Chrysler hasn’t resorted to the dreaded iDrive type silver knob found in other upscale SUV’s. The increase in rear seating leg room is a huge improvement over previous Grand Cherokees.
Ride, Handling and Braking: The ride is completely different than the bone jarring ride of the 2006. Very comfortable....firm but smooth. On normal roads, the Auto and Sport settings feel quite similar, but I haven’t done any hard driving yet. The brakes, as expected, are fantastic. But be warned....you will generate as much brake dust as the old WK SRT8....after two days and a few hundred miles, the front wheels were black. The steering has a nice feel, not too much power assist....and it didn’t pull to the left or right.
Like most of us, I was really upset by the sticker shock, but considering the new suspension, upgraded technology, and general superb fit and finish, I must admit this machine is well worth the extra bucks. I’m surprised Chrysler and Mercedes could design such a good vehicle while going through their divorce.
I have a question on the Harman/Kardon Premium Sound System. How do I know if I really have it? I paid for it and it’s on the invoice, but there are no HK logos on the speakers, and most of the speakers seem to be undersized compared to the specs. For example, the so-called 90 mm speakers in each front door are only 60 mm, and the so-called 90 mm speakers in each rear “D” pillar are only 75 mm. I first noticed all this when I measured the alleged 10” sub-woofer in the trunk side panel and found it to be only 7 1/2 “. Do I have the real thing, or was there a mixup in the factory? I’ll appreciate your comments.
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Thanks for your nice comments. Possibly someone who paid for the Premium Audio system could measure the subwoofer and see if it's 10" as advertised or 7 1/2".
Some more early impressions: The paddle shifters are a lot of fun to use. I might eat my words sometime, but for those of you waiting for the 8 speed transmission, 5 gears are plenty to fool around with, whether on the paddles or the autostick. The design of the hood air intakes along with the stock air filter box looks well thought out, so I don't think I'll be looking at a CAI for now. My only disappointment is the quiet and subdued stock exhaust system. I don't detect any pleasing growl or rumble, even with the windows and sunroof open. My 2006 SRT8 has Zoomers cat-backs....very loud. It draws a lot of attention and compliments...not likely to happen with the stock WK2 system. But I'm not going to do anything for now. The aftermarket industry will just have to wait.
I've posted a few pics of the new beast. Hope they turn out ok.
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