Ok - I want one
(just with the ZF 8 speed!
) But really, I shouldn't have gone to see it in person, that just confirmed my expectations.
A bunch of pictures are here
. I apologize for any non-pro shots, I am most certainly not a photographer and this was with a point n shoot. Let me know if the link to the website doesn't work out and I can host them elsewhere...
There wasn't as many people as I expected out there. I did expect that most people were going to be looking at the Charger/Challenger/300 - I was right about that. The comments about the Jeep were fun to hear though:
"Holy $h!t that looks mean!"
"I've heard those things are 80 grand!"
"Does that have the same motor as the other 3, it sounds different..."
Danny was cool and quick to come over and start answering questions after giving me and one other guy ~5 minutes to get around the Jeep. He was very enthusiastic and said that he gets the GC pretty much full time. I thought it was awesome how enthusiastic he still was when talking about the vehicle after being on the tour for months. One would assume it would get old, but he seemed like he still loved jumping in the driver's seat.
Each of the vehicles are right at 14k miles. There was no disclosure of any issues they've had (I asked) - they've just changed the oil and tires. We were allowed to drive 2 laps around the little course they had - maybe a 0-40-0 section and then a quick 3 cone slalom. The traction control had to stay on and they asked me to leave the suspension set at "Sport."
Traction control is hilarious in the 300/Charger/Challenger. All 3 of those lit the rear tires up every time someone left the line - so much for traction control. They weren't fishtailing, but I have yet to experience a car with the nanny system on that would let you do that...not sure if they have a special tweak to the tune or ???
Back to the GC. A few things that are solely my opinion:
- I like the panoramic roof. I had not seen it and was curious how it opened/was designed. (The moonroof in my truck opens up and out, it's loud, annoying, I hate it; other vehicles that we've had that open "in", I love the moonroofs). When opened all the way the front glass drops down and slides under the rear glass. There is also a net that pops up in the front that Danny said did a great job at stopping any wind noise/buffeting. Of course I didn't have the thing on the highway, but I don't have much doubt that it serves a purpose. There is a picture in there of it open fully with the net exposed.
- The brake pedal was soft to me. The response was linear and the darn thing stops like crazy, but I would prefer to have a few more lbs of pressure required to push the pedal.
- The seats are very nice. Great support (for me) with the side bolsters. I normally have to cinch the seatbelt in my car to stay in place during autox/HPDE/acting like an a## on the street - but in the GC I just got in, sat down, drove the slalom and didn't budge.
- Steering wheel is very comfortable, nice thick grip. Response was good for an SUV on the 3-cone slalom.
- Acceleration "test" they had set up was too short
Couldn't get to 2nd gear in it before you had to stop. Of course I can't fault the GC for that, just the space allotted and insurance.
- I never want a black vehicle for a DD again, but the black there might make me rethink that. The metallic sparkle it has looks fantastic.
- I've seen questions on the color of the running LEDs - they are white. Definitely not yellow as I've heard some people worry about. The fog lamps on the other hand are yellowish (and will need to be replaced).
- Jeep has added little things that make a difference that somewhat explain the cost (to me at least). Of course I would rather it be 50k than 60k, but I don't think you'd get the fit/finish. The aluminum and carbon fiber are obvious. Not so obvious is the 'felt lined' fender wheels to keep down cabin noise. The same lining is on the firewall along with a radiant shield. The panels are great - consistent gaps across the entire vehicle. Leather dash. Suede inserts on the seats. This is not even in the same ballpark as the previous generation in that sense...
All in all, I'm glad I made the trip out there. My wife, maybe not so much as she knows what's coming now. I will more than likely wait to see what 2013 brings (maybe at least the 6 speed that the non-SRT GC is getting? maybe the new nav all the other SRT's are getting)? If I happen to stumble upon one on a local lot that isn't selling at the start of the year though...we'll see.
I'm certainly jealous of those who are about to get theirs!