More stories related to 2005 NAIAS DETROIT – Chrysler Group’s Jeep brand surprises journalists at the North American International Auto Show with the debut of its Hurricane concept.

Calling the Hurricane, “the most maneuverable, most capable and most powerful 4x4 ever built,” Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche says the concept features unique technologies that could make their way into future Jeep vehicles, including 4-wheel steering.

Hurricane features two modes of automated 4-wheel steering. One enables the rear tires to turn in the opposite direction of the front tires, while the other enables the vehicle to turn all four wheels in the same direction to the extent it can spin on its own axis.

Jeep Hurricane concept

“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,” says Trevor Creed, Chrysler senior vice president-design.

Powered by two 5.7L Hemi V-8s – one is located in the rear and another in the front – the powertrain produces a combined 670 hp and 370 lb.-ft. (502 Nm) of torque.

The twin Hemis feature Chrysler’s Multi-Displacement System, which can switch between 4-, 8- and 12-cyl. operation.

Ground clearance is a respectable 14-ins. (36 cm), while overall length measures 152 ins. (386 cm). The Hurricane’s carbon-fiber body helps to keep weight in check at 3,850-lbs. (1,746 kg).

Hurricane’s breakthrough technologies resulted in six patents for the drivetrain, suspension system and other components, Lou Rhodes, director of design engineering at Chrysler’s product design office, tells Ward’s.

Total production took nearly one year, with the vehicle completed last March.

Zetsche admits there are no plans to bring the Hurricane to production in its current form. He says some of the technologies may be of interest to the U.S. military.

kekelly@primediabusiness.com