New, 600bhp electric Wagoneer S is the quickest Jeep ever | CAR Magazine

New, 600bhp electric Wagoneer S is the quickest Jeep ever

Published: 31 May 2024 Updated: 31 May 2024

► New Jeep Wagoneer S electric SUV revealed
► Launch Edition has 600bhp; 3.4sec 0-60mph sprint
► More than 300 miles of e-range, launches in Europe in 2025

How does such an old-school brand like Jeep convince more people to go electric? By building its quickest-accelerating car ever. This is the new Wagoneer S, a battery-electric SUV that comes with some eye-watering performance figures and, seemingly, one of the most protracted reveal processes we’ve seen in some time.

The Wagoneer S is a sort-of-Velar-sized electric SUV that is designed to impress those in North America as well as convince more Europeans to think Jeep, offering something that can provide a long range, loads of space and still fit on our cosier roads. ‘This will be the first Jeep Wagoneer in Europe, says brand CEO Antonio Filosa, ‘but we thought that, for the streets and configuration of the beautiful European cities, the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer we have in North America are too big. We’ve ended up with the perfect fit with the Wagoneer S.’

Jeep is aiming big, riding a nice wave of sales growth in Europe that’s mostly been down to the Avenger. Three of Jeep’s biggest markets are in Europe, so it’s hoping the Wagoneer S can crack that more premium end of the electric car market.

Let’s talk about the design, shall we?

Yes, let’s do that. Naturally, the most noticeable feature is a rather clever interpretation of Jeep’s ‘seven slot’ grille arrangement seen on every vehicle it’s ever made. Vince Gallante, Jeep’s VP for exterior design, says his team used architectural light to incorporate the motif onto the car’s design. But, save for that, would you know it was a Jeep without it?

The Wagoneer S has a very clean and relatively crease-free exterior design, with Gallante pointing out that it’s the most aerodynamic model Jeep has ever created. Part of the car’s silhouette is an enormous rear wing that truly sets the Wagoneer S apart from so many other cars of its size. ‘The first thing we thought to ourselves was that there’s no way the engineering team is going to let us get away with this – no way we’re going to be able to have a floating wing like this,’ says Gallante. ‘But we brought it into the tunnel and it worked so well [for aerodynamic efficiency] that they asked us to increase the size of it three times.’

Inside, there are a lot of design cues taken from the Grand Cherokee as well as the larger Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer models sold in North America. One single beltline spans across the dashboard with no fewer than FOUR possible screens incorporated into it: a driver’s instrument display, main infotainment screen, lower climate display and passenger panel. Gallante brags about the whole Jeep exterior and interior design team are ‘100 per cent Millennial or Gen Z,’ talks about how ‘the gamers in the team are the ones that designed all of the graphics you see on those screens’ and notes that special effort has been made to decontent the driver’s instrument cluster of information.

Some attention to detail has been applied inside, with Gallante pointing out that the steering wheel is coated in anti-microbial treatment to help keep your hands clean, and every interior material has a satin finish to help curb fingerprints and smudges. ‘All of the soft materials also have some sort of recycled component in them’ he adds.

Gallante also claims that those in the second row have more legroom than in the back of a Grand Cherokee, and the boot area is rated to 866 litres with the rear seats up.

So, how quick are we talking?

Well, before we even saw the car in its physical form at a preview event, Jeep’s team showed the media a video of the Wagoneer S rolling up to a starting line alongside a Tesla Model Y – the bestselling electric car in America, and one that’s known to not be slow – and beating it in a drag race. That on top of drag racing Jeep’s own, mighty and rather loud Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Why? Because the Wagoneer S launches with 600bhp, two electric motors and the possibility of a 3.4sec 0-60mph sprint – a figure that’s quicker than both of those cars.

The new Jeep is the second car (the first was the Charger EV) to launch using Stellantis’ STLA Large architecture, which is designed for premium and high-performance models. The ‘EV native’ platform can run on either 400 or 800-volt electrical architectures, be had with battery packs between 85 and 118kWh, and is capable of up to 500 miles on a charge.

Here, with the Wagoneer S Launch Edition, it’s a 400-volt car with a 100.5kWh pack that claims ‘over’ 300 miles on a single charge. As well as that lightning quick sprint time, the Wagoneer tops out at 124mph. Jeep also says it’s capable of a 20-80 per cent charge in 23 minutes via a DC fast charger.

And Filosa, hints that more specifications are on the way. ‘This is the Launch Edition, we will have more [versions] – and the attributes of each of these editions will be different in terms of energy density, range and power. We’ll see the next launches in the next six months or so,’ he tells us. ‘We’ve started with this one, then we’ll have a lower version, and then we’ll complete the line-up with other versions – some that may not be that expected, so stay tuned. First, though, we need to be successful with this one.’ So much so that the brand has already teased a more off-road focused Trailhawk model with a concept car.

When can I get one?

It launches in the States first towards the end of 2024 with a price of $71,995 for the Launch Edition. The model launches in Europe and the UK, as well as other markets around the world in 2025.

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, gamer, serial Lego-ist, lover of hot hatches