Jeep Versus Mercedes
In years past it would have seemed silly to compare vehicles from these two very different brands, but now the U.S. auto market bears both: a Jeep more suited for the track than the mud, and a Mercedes-Benz wagon that practically guarantees ice cream won’t melt before shoppers get home from the store. So how do these high-powered family vehicles compare? Let’s take a look.
In terms of raw power, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk reigns supreme. The Trackhawk boasts a monstrous engine: under the hood lurks a 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8 producing 707 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque. The Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Wagon gets a mere 603 horsepower from its hand-built 4.0-liter biturbo V8 engine with a more-than-adequate 627 lb-ft of torque.
The Mercedes-AMG E 63 S can sprint to 60 mph in a quick 3.4 seconds, while the same feat takes the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk a tick longer at 3.5 seconds. In our own testing we were able move the Jeep to 60 in 3.4 seconds, but based on factory numbers the E 63 bests the Trackhawk.
The ability to travel at more than 70 or 80 mph on public roads is something frowned upon by many professionals (police officers, doctors, EMTs, lawmakers, bankers — especially your banker — to name a few). However, for vehicles such as the Trackhawk or E 63 S, a ridiculous top speed is part of the car’s DNA. Knowing the capability is there, even though most owners will never come close to approaching the limits unless they are on a racetrack, is important. For these two vehicles, that topped-out number is 180 mph for both. So in terms of raw speed it’s a tie. (note: photo taken on closed course racetrack)
This criterion is somewhat subjective. The Jeep clearly stands out from run-of-the-mill Grand Cherokees with functional hood vents, “supercharged” labels on the front doors, bi-Xenon HID headlights with LED running lights, and at the back are quad tailpipes as well as a liftgate spoiler. Massive brakes and yellow calipers peek from behind 20-inch forged aluminum wheels. The Mercedes-AMG styling is a bit subtler, with a sculpted hood, big wheel arches for a low, wide stance, big air intakes and a large front splitter. Equally massive brakes, 20-inch alloy wheels, the “V8 biturbo” badge on the fenders and integrated quad exhaust show that this big wagon is something special. Subtle is most satisfactory, so the round goes to the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S.
Both the Jeep and Mercedes carry up to five occupants with plenty of space for cargo in back. But the Jeep ekes out a win in this portion of the comparison with 36.3 cubic feet of space behind the back seat. The Mercedes doesn’t lose by much though, offering 35 cubic feet of room for cargo. Nod to Jeep.
Both the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and Mercedes-AMG E 63 S offer high-end interiors, but it’s hard for a brand like Jeep to compete with Mercedes when it comes to luxury. The Jeep has leather trim and big, comfortable seats, but not what we’d call luxurious. On the other hand , the E 63 S comes with Nappa leather trim, AMG sport seats, an AMG Performance steering wheel and dual 12.3-inch display screens that stretch across the dashboard as one customizable digital display. The Mercedes wins this one with ease.
One wouldn’t expect a vehicle to post great fuel economy stats when running with more than 600 horsepower, but the sleeker and lighter Mercedes wins this battle with EPA figures of 16 mpg city / 22 mpg hwy / 18 mpg combined. The Jeep weighs about 700 pounds more than the Benz, so it drinks the fuel at a quicker rate, achieving much lower figures of 11 mpg city / 17 hwy / 13 combined. Another win for the Mercedes.
One of the best qualities of the Trackhawk is seemingly obvious — it is still a Jeep. That means it has more than 8 inches of ground clearance and can tow more than 7,000 pounds. This win goes to the Jeep.
Both of these vehicles can instantly bring a smile. Full throttle in the Jeep delivers a HEMI V8 roar combined with a supercharger whine, although there’s not much that can match the rumble of an AMG powerplant. However, the Mercedes does have one trick up its fenders — Drift Mode. It’s possible to send all 603 horses to the rear wheels, turn off the stability control and melt the rear tires while drifting sideways in a cloud of smoke. If that’s what you’re into, then the Mercedes just barely edges out the Jeep.
The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk has a base price of $85,900 and can easily be optioned to break $100,000 — a rather large sum for a Jeep. However, the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S starts at $106,950 and the last one that we tested was priced north of $130,000. So from a pure performance for the dollar standpoint, the Jeep is clearly the better value.
Talk about a tough choice — both the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Wagon and Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk bring performance and versatility for everyday use, which is a rare but sought-after combination. Ultimately, we would want the Trackhawk in our garage. The lower price, bold styling, the supercharger whine and impressive everyday capability makes it slightly more desirable. But if we had the means, the E 63 S would be parked right beside it.