While out in the Mojave testing the new Subaru STI, our buddy Rich Truesdell not only came upon a fleet of 2009 Acura TLs, but caravan of Mopars. There were “several Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8s, a Dodge Challenger, with a camouflaged Jeep Grand Cherokee towing a trailer in tandem with a Mercedes ML towing a similar trailer.” The ML was a tipoff that this could be a Grand Cherokee with the Mercedes-shared turbodiesel engine. But when the vehicles passed by, they knew they were listening to a Hemi under that hood. So maybe it is just an upgraded Hemi that was being load-tested against a similarly powerful ML550. Informed speculation says that a new fascia lies behind the camo and it was undergoing cooling testing. Rich also mentions tire upgrades and even a horsepower bump as possible reasons for the desert excursion. One intriguing theory is the adaptation of Chrysler’s gas-saving multi displacement system to the hi-po Hemi, something Chrysler has said wouldn’t work on this engine. We’ll probably have to just wait and see, but for now, check out our mini gallery supplied by Truesdell and Automotive Traveler for the rest of the tale of the encounter in the desert.
Gallery: Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8 spy shots