AS YOU read this week’s Champion two classic festive hits are thundering their way up the charts. With a bit of momentum behind them either Wham!’s lovable Yuletide ballad, Last Christmas, or Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You could finally snatch a UK number one – but I’d understand if Ariana Grande holds the top spot for yet another week.
Sorry for going all Top of the Pops on you, but at least you’ll understand if something released two or three decades ago doesn’t quite match the performance of something that’s brand new. It’s just a shame that Jeep, if its latest publicity stunt is anything to go by, clearly doesn’t.
It lined its Grand Cherokee Trackhawk – an off-roader packing a 710bhp, 6.2-litre V8 – up against a TVR Griffith and an Audi quattro in a quarter-mile drag and then stood back, trying not to look surprised, when the monster-engined SUV won. That’s right – a sports car introduced in the early Nineties and a coupe so old that Gene Hunt used one in Ashes to Ashes went up against a brand-new car with an enormous supercharged engine, and lost.
All of which is about as useful as sticking The Shard next to Liverpool Cathedral and declaring the showroom-fresh skyscraper as the tallest or pointing out that a shiny new iPhone can run rings around a Nokia 3210. Jeep freely admits it’s all a bit of Top Trumps-inspired fun, of course, but I suspect the real reason why it wasn’t put next to something a bit newer is because it would’ve been humiliated.
Had Jeep been able to haul out a can of whup-ass on something from the class of 2018 – an Audi RS6 Avant Performance, for instance – then I suspect the petrolheads in every pub from Crossens to Crosby would’ve sat up and taken notice. That was what made the original Range Rover Overfinch such a big hit – not only could it outrun a contemporary Golf GTI up the straights, but Mr Hot Hatch wouldn’t have been able to shake him off in the corners, either. There is something very lovable about big, chunky off-roaders being made to do daft things – and no, the new Cupra Ateca and Skoda Kodiaq vRS don’t count.
I like the vaguely bonkers premise of the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk – if not the £89,995 price tag – but what this test doesn’t tell you is what it’ll be like on a greasy British B-road. Which is where a proper performance car, like the quattro and Griffith are, really comes to life.
I can’t tell you who’ll bag this year’s Christmas number one but I can reveal, in news that’ll shock precisely no one, is that a 710bhp Jeep costing nearly ninety grand will outdrag a 30-year-old Audi away from the lights. Who knew?