Show-stopping concepts and extreme expressions of the Chrysler Group brands aren’t new: Dodge had its Tomahawk and Chrysler, the ME Four-Twelve. But when the Jeep Hurricane blew onto the 2005 North American International Auto Show stage, it raised the bar for the Jeep brand.
”Jeep Hurricane is simply the most maneuverable, most capable and most powerful 4×4 ever built,” said Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President of Chrysler Group Design. ”It pays homage to the extreme enthusiasts’ Jeep vehicles in form and off-road capability, but is a unique interpretation of Jeep design. Simply stated, it is the extreme example for the Jeep brand.”
Hurricane represents the continued success of bold concept vehicles for the brands as a means of demonstrating Chrysler Group’s creative and mechanical expertise. For example, powerful powertrain performance is an understatement considering the Hurricane is not just Hemi-equipped, but Hemi doubled. There are two 5.7-liter Hemi engines in the vehicle: one in the front and one in the back. Both engines deliver 335 horsepower and 370 lb-ft of torque – a total of 670 hp and 740 lb-ft of torque.
Can you have responsible excess? To test the theory, we equipped both Hemi engines in the Jeep Hurricane with the Chrysler Group Multi-Displacement System (MDS). Depending on the driver’s needs, the Hurricane can be powered by 4-, 8-, 12- or 16-cylinders. All of that translates into buckets of torque for climbing obstacles other 4×4 vehicles can’t even comprehend. In addition, it has the power and traction to move from 0-60 in less than five seconds.
The power is delivered through a central transfer case and split axles with a mechanically controlled four-wheel torque distribution system. The front and rear suspension is short/long arm independent with 20 inches of suspension travel, controlled by coilover shocks with remote reservoirs.
The vehicle has 14.3 inches of ground clearance, and incredible approach/departure angles of 64.0 /86.7 degrees. These are nearly vertical angles – combined with 37-inch tall tires, so the Hurricane won’t meet much that it can’t climb. The Jeep Hurricane is the only vehicle on the auto-show circuit that provides its own turnable feature. The vehicle features a turn radius of absolutely zero, thanks to skid steer capability and toe steer: the ability to turn both front and rear tires inward. In addition, the vehicle features two modes of automated four-wheel steering. The first is traditional with the rear tires turning in the opposite direction of the front to reduce the turning circle. The second mode is an innovation targeted to off-road drivers: the vehicle can turn all four wheels in the same direction for nimble crab steering. This allows the vehicle to move sideways without changing the direction the vehicle is pointing.
”Out in the wilderness, changing direction in minimal space can mean the difference between an afternoon of adventure and a distress call back to the trailhead,”Creed said. ”The multi-mode four-wheel steering system on Jeep Hurricane is designed to offer enthusiasts the next level of performance and unexpected maneuverability.”
The one-piece body is shaped of structural carbon fiber, and forms the chassis that would be offered through a traditional frame. The suspension and powertrain are mounted directly to the body. An aluminum spine runs under the body to both connect the underside and to function as a complete skid plate system.
The design is lightweight with high strength, and it boasts functional appearance. Jeep Hurricane is an honest, minimalist approach to its design augmented with the Jeep signature seven-slot grille, two seats and no doors. On the inside, occupants will be surrounded by exposed carbon fiber and polished aluminum with Black Thunder and Tiluminum accents.