The 1998 Limited 5.9 Was the First Badass Jeep Grand Cherokee

Huge Engine, Outdated Grand Cherokee

To understand how goofball the “5.9” was, you should first backtrack and revisit the unique “ZJ” Grand Cherokee. In 1998, the Jeep was nearing the top of its first-generation, having been launched for 1993. Regardless of its semi-modern window dressing, tidy dimensions, and comfy inside, the Grand Cherokee was nonetheless an SUV within the conventional sense. Its slender, boxy physique teetered excessive atop a pair of strong axles, and four-wheel-drive fashions carried beefy low-range switch circumstances engaged by a muscular lever between the entrance seats. The fashionable, independently sprung, wide-tired, lowered Grand Cherokee SRT this was not.

Presaging modern-day Chrysler’s go-to transfer—shoving supercharged Hellcat V-Eight engines into practically each automobile it makes as a method of preserving these rides contemporary—somebody at Jeep regarded on the soon-to-be-replaced Grand Cherokee and figured it was due for an pointless injection of horsepower. Beforehand the Jeep had been out there with 190-hp 4.0-liter inline-six that may very well be traced again to Jeep’s AMC possession and, later, a 225-hp 5.2-liter “Magnum” V-8. However for 1998, the final mannequin 12 months earlier than the second-generation Grand Cherokee arrived for 1999, Jeep added a 5.9-liter V-Eight possibility that punched out 245 hp and 345 lb-ft of torque, enhancements of 20 hp and 45 lb-ft over the Magnum V-8.

It Was the Quickest SUV We would Ever Examined

In 1997, we tested the Grand Cherokee Limited 5.9. It reached 60 mph in 6.Eight seconds and smoked the quarter-mile in 15.2 seconds at 88.7 mph. That made it properly over a second faster to the identical mark than the next-quickest, 5.2-liter Grand Cherokee, and the quickest SUV we might ever examined at the moment.

Maybe the best facet of this hot-rod Jeep was how delicate it was. Not like at present’s Grand Cherokee SRT, which squats low on stiffened suspension items and rolls on fats efficiency tires and snarls by way of large entrance intakes and a hood scoop, the ’98 Restricted 5.9 regarded just about like another Grand Cherokee. Jeep added some nifty louvered hood vents, together with particular five-spoke wheels and a bigger exhaust outlet. “Restricted 5.9” badges rounded out the visible modifications. In any other case, it was as plush and filled with leather-based, wooden, and fancy options because the non-5.9-powered Restricted trim degree.

… and It Would Show an Inspiration

In some ways, the Grand Cherokee Restricted 5.9, an old-school, solid-axle 4×4 with a saucy engine, presaged not solely at present’s SRT fashions but additionally the high-po Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUVs that may develop into more and more in style among the many wealthy right here in America. Just like the Jeep, the G-Wagen may very well be had with V-Eight engines of more and more unhinged outputs, sending energy to a pair of stick axles. Tippy and with gradual steering and a design courting again to the late 1970s, the G-Class was, if something, even much less suited to hot-rodding than the comparatively fashionable Grand Cherokee. And but, Mercedes started introducing stuff just like the G55 AMG and, later, the G63 and even the twelve-cylinder G65.

Jeep would take a beat to revisit the fast-Cherokee format, letting a complete era of Grand Cherokee fashions cross earlier than introducing the first-ever Grand Cherokee SRT8 for 2006. Its 420-hp 6.1-liter V-Eight and wild appears outshone the Porsche Cayenne Turbo of the interval. Later, the fourth-generation Grand Cherokee continued the SRT pattern, utilizing a 475-hp 6.4-liter V-Eight earlier than including the 707-hp supercharged 6.2-liter “Hellcat” V-Eight engine to the lineup’s Trackhawk mannequin. For a time, that Trackhawk was once again the quickest SUV we’d ever tested.

Now, with a brand new Grand Cherokee on the horizon, we have now little doubt it’s going to as soon as once more be out there with large energy, and it could hint that legacy again to the ol’ 5.9.

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