Thursday, January 13, 2005

This baby's got 2 Hemis

By Brett Clanton / The Detroit News

Yeah, that thang's got a Hemi. In fact, it's got two.

In a surprise move Sunday, DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group unveiled the Jeep Hurricane concept, a brawny off-roader powered by two of the automaker's famous V-8 engines and an answer to critics who believe the famously rugged Jeep brand is going soft.

"We haven't forgotten, nor will we ever forget, what makes a Jeep a Jeep," said Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche, standing next to the open-top monster at the 2005 North American International Auto Show.

Chrysler will more than double the Jeep lineup by 2007, beginning this year with a luxury SUV and later with expected car-based models, but Hurricane makes clear that Jeep is not ready to abandon its off-road heritage.

The Hurricane's two engines -- one in front, one back -- combine to make 670 horsepower, and offer 740 foot-pounds of torque. It has 14 inches of ground clearance, and does 0 to 60 in less than 5 seconds. The signature feature is a steering system that allows it to turn in a complete circle in the same spot.

While Hurricane is a concept, Zetsche said patents developed could show up on future Jeeps.
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